The double surgery on his right knee kept Roger Federer out for most of last season. The former world number 1 did not want to force recovery times, also induced by the outbreak of the global pandemic and the strict measures imposed by the various tournaments.
The Swiss phenomenon also missed the Australian Open 2021, thus giving up the trip Down Under for the first time in the last 23 editions. The 20-time Grand Slam champion admitted early on that Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics will be his main goals this year, hoping to set one last gem in his glorious career.
The long absence from the circuit also allowed King Roger to spend much more time than usual with his family. In an interview granted after his arrival in Doha, the 39-year-old from Basel stressed how much his life has changed in the past 12 months.
A professional since 1998, Federer had never had the opportunity to spend so much time at home (except for the second half of 2016).
Roger Federer on travelling non-stop since 1998
“It was definitely nice to be home (in 2020),” Roger Federer said “I came through in the tour sometime in 97-98.
98 in a way was my last junior year, first professional year. I had finished 300 in the world then - like 22-23 years ago now. And (since) then I’ve always been on the road from January to November, basically, I’m on world tour the entire time”.
Roger Federer also called himself and his peers ‘road warriors’, given all the time spend traveling. "So when we get a bit off time, regardless of if we want it or not, it's always nice to be home," Federer added.
"We’re road warriors if you want, all of us." Federer stressed that he loves traveling, but added that it often leaves him mentally exhausted. "I think it's (tennis) one of the toughest sports out there in terms of travel schedules," Federer continued.
"Because we come to see the people, the people don’t really come see us essentially because we travel to their country and their city. We love to do that but sometimes it gets taxing on the mind. So it's good to some time have a bit of a break, that’s why you have to be a bit wise with your schedule I believe."
Roger Federer is the tennis maestro but also a legend in ball control. While it is a valuable skill for a professional tennis player, he is still the best even after two decades. Even though the Basel-born has low expectations from the tournament, he would hope to win the opening match. Moreover, he plans to prepare for the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.