Roger Federer's return to the field can undoubtedly be counted among the most anticipated moments in this start of the season. Many wished to see him in action again at the Australian Open a month ago, but the not perfect condition of his knee and the strict government protocols led him to take a few more weeks.
The Swiss phenomenon will debut in Doha against Daniel Evans, 14 months after his last official appearance on the circuit. Almost 40 years old, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has decided to get back in the game, with the aim of putting the last icing on a truly stratospheric career.
The former world number 1 has repeatedly repeated that Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics will be his main goals, without forgetting the US Open scheduled for late summer. During her press conference in Dubai on Tuesday, Belinda Bencic expressed her impatience for the return of her illustrious compatriot.
The 23-year-old Swiss, who played in the Hopman Cup with Federer, wished the Maestro good luck.
Bencic comments on Roger Federer's return
"When I see the wall of champions, it's great moments. Especially when I see that Roger Federer won that year as well," Belinda Bencic said.
Bencic added that the whole tennis world had been counting down the days to Federer's return, given that he last played a competitive match at the 2020 Australian Open. "I mean it's exciting for everyone," Bencic said.
"We were all counting the days (to his return). I thought he was playing today and then I was like, 'Oh no!' One more day we have to wait. He is coming back on my birthday (Wednesday)." The 23-year-old also claimed she has been in contact with the Swiss maestro from time to time, and that he often gives her tips on her game.
"I wish him the best of luck," Bencic said. "We are in contact sometimes and he is helping me a lot with some tips, things I need, and wishing me luck. I do the same." Federer actually holds a great record in Doha, Qatar.
He is a three-time champion there, and the warmer conditions in the outdoor courts play well for his comeback. “I have played well here in the past, enjoyed coming here. It’s outdoors. The weather’s on the warmer side.
Australia was too soon, so it just ended up being the perfect place for a comeback,” Federer said in an interview with beIN Sports. As the 2020 season was drawing close, everyone expected Federer’s return to happen at the Australian Open 2021. But even though the Grand Slam got delayed, Federer chose not to travel to Australia.