Roger Federer, the countdown has long started and tomorrow the eyes of millions of fans and fans will be turned towards Qatar. The Swiss champion will in fact return to play in an ATP tournament after more than a year of absence.
His last appearance was in the 2020 Australian Open semi-final, lost to Novak Djokovic on January 30th. The following week, precisely on February 7, the “King” played an exhibition match in Cape Town, against another top rival, Rafa Nadal, which was witnessed live by 51,954 spectators, a record for tennis.
After him, Covid arrived and above all two knee surgeries, which forced him to stay still in the pits. There was the illusion of seeing him again in Melbourne a month ago, but Federer carefully assessed his situation and decided to restart from the Doha concrete.
A 250 tournament, with less pressure, which has already seen him triumph three times (2005, 2006, 2011). Former German pro Patrik Kuhnen recently lavished rich praise on Roger Federer, claiming that no other player can match the 39-year-old's 'divine' status.
Kuhnen's comments come on the eve of Federer's return to the tour at this week's ATP 500 event in Doha.
Kuhnen on Federer's comeback
"Roger Federer fascinated me not only with his fitness after a half year break (in 2017), but above all with his changed, much more offensive game," Patrik Kuhnen said.
"Standing at and on the baseline, he took the balls much earlier, sometimes as half volley, played even more aggressively - especially with the backhand - and thus reduced the time window for his opponents and their preparation for their shots."
Kuhnen revealed he was fascinated with how Federer reinvented his game in 2017, claiming it was something that had not been accomplished before by a player in their mid-30s. "Nobody had seen such a comeback coming at the age of 35 after a knee injury with a changed, perfectly polished tactic," the German added.
Federer’s last appearance in Doha came in 2012. And now he will further experience the ‘bubble life’ that others have faced in the past year for the first time. “And I would have loved my family to be here but with bubble life, unfortunately, that is not possible so we go through it together as a team which is, which is a good thing" - he said. Federer begins his Qatar Open 2021 journey against either Jeremy Chardy or Dan Evans in the second round.