If there were any doubts about the resilience of Roger Federer, 39 years old who hadn't played two matches in sequence for over 13 months, here they emerged yesterday in the quarter-finals of the return tournament, the ATP 250 in Doha, which he won three times in career.
The former world No. 1 lost to Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets (3-6 6-1 7-5). Federer said he had come to Qatar to play a few games and he did, as his physical condition could not yet be optimal. In the first set the backhand was decisive, several times to target in different technical facets.
The service performance was also good, which helped the Swiss player in difficult moments (two break points canceled). Seized the advantage in the fourth game Federer kept it until the end of the fraction, closed 6-3. The second set took a different route, with the eastern player leading 3-0 before easily closing the set 6-1.
In the third fraction all regular up to 3-3. The seventh game saw the pride of the champion rise in the chair, capable of canceling three break points in Basilashvili. A Federer in obvious physical reserve. Even sweaty, which is unusual for him.
He also managed to reach matchpoint, on Basilashvili's 5-4 serve, but did not transform him. In the following game break in favor of the Georgian who then went to serve, ending hostilities in the 12th game. For him a day to remember, for Federer a step on the road to the true return.
Roger Federer's comeback came to an unexpected halt on Thursday, as he lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Doha quarterfinals. And the Swiss spoke to BeIN Sports in the aftermath of his defeat, shedding some light on his future plans in tennis.
Roger Federer on the support he received from Mirka
Roger Federer also reflected on representing his country at the Olympics, where he has won a gold medal (in men's doubles) and a silver medal (in men's singles).
Federer had met his wife Mirka (née Vavrinec) at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, so it came as no surprise that he spoke in glowing terms about the event's influence on his life. "Olympics have always been a special place for me," Federer said.
"I was flagbearer twice, in 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing. I won the gold medal with Stan Wawrinka, I won the silver in 2012 London. I met my wife in 2000 at the Olympics! It would be amazing to be part of Tokyo. I try to see how much more is left in the tank for me," Federer said.
"So far my wife has been my biggest supporter to allow me and push me towards the tour. My kids have been wonderful as well, understanding, even though they were sad when I left and I came to Doha without them."