Roger Federer takes the field again 14 months after his last appearance. The Swiss returns to the track at the ATP in Doha, after the semi-final at the 2020 Australian Open, and does so with the underdogs. The champion, who will turn 40 on 8 August, is the favorite at 4.50 for success, according to Sisal Matchpoint specialists.
The Basel tennis player will have to beware of the Austrian Dominc Thiem, current world number 4, and the Russian Andrey Rublev, eighth in the world rankings, both accredited with the same share of 'King Roger' Federer will make his debut on Wednesday against the winner of the match between France's Chardy and England's Evans.
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 on Federer's 2017 comeback
In a column for Sky Sports, Patrik Kuhnen opined that Roger Federer's comeback will be welcomed by the fans as well as the players, given the Swiss' standing in the community.
"His return is a blessing for the tour," Kuhnen wrote. "No other player has this radiance for tennis, no other player enjoys this 'almost divine' status. All players and especially the young players like Jannik Sinner will be eager to be able to play against the maestro again."
Kuhnen also compared Federer's current comeback with his 2017 one, and surmised that the Swiss will be in good physical shape and highly motivated - just like he was four years ago. "Four years later, Roger Federer is about to make a comeback again," Kuhnen continued.
"This time he is 39 years old, he will be 40 this summer and this time he had to have two operations on his right knee. It is clear to me: when Federer comes back, he will be in top shape, pain-free and highly motivated to play for the title again.
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," 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.
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.