Roger Federer returned to the field after more than a year, reaching the quarterfinals in Doha. The Swiss phenomenon got rid of Daniel Evans in the second round, but then had to cash in on Nikoloz Basilashvili's comeback despite a match point in favor in the third set.
The former world number 1 has sent comforting signals, but at the same time he will have to work hard physically if he is to have a chance at Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. Also for this reason, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has chosen to give up the tournament in Dubai next week, opting for an additional training block in view of the season on clay.
It is not yet clear which appointments will see King Roger as protagonist, given that Federer himself did not want to overbalance his statements too much. Interviewed by the newspaper 'La Nacion' in recent days, the winner of the US Open 2009 Juan Martin del Potro commented on the return of the Maestro after 14 months.
The tennis world is also eagerly awaiting the return of the Argentine, battered by injuries throughout his career.
Del Potro pays tribute to Roger Federer
"Roger Federer is an example for everyone," Juan Martin Del Potro said.
"To watch him playing again is a pleasure for the entire world of tennis." In response, the Swiss expressed his happiness at the possible comeback of Del Potro, with whom he shares a good equation off the court.
But Federer also let out a word of caution, suggesting that the Argentine should take his time given the seriousness of his injury. "Look, I'm happy he said that," Federer said. "I haven't heard about it.
I wish that Juan Martin can come back onto the tour like I did now. I know he has to take the time because everything he went through is even bigger than what I went through." According to the Argentine, the youngsters will be able to bridge the gap between themselves and the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal only when the latter three get even older.
"The new players are coming up," Juan Martin del Potro said. "But, aside from the US Open where Novak Djokovic made a mistake, the Grand Slams are still won by the same players. The generational change will happen when the best players in the world will be unable to face the younger guys." For now, we can all rejoice at the sight of Roger Federer back on a tennis court.