'I thought Roger Federer could have beaten Basilashvili', says tournament director



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'I thought Roger Federer could have beaten Basilashvili', says tournament director

Roger Federer waited for over a year before returning to the field in Qatar. But now we will have to wait at least another month to see Roger Federer in action. As reported in the last few hours by Luca Fiorino on Twitter (but not yet made official by the same tournament), both Federer and Denis Shapovalov will not be present in the Principality of Monaco for the 2021 edition of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters (10-18 April).

Both are not on the entry list. The tournament, last won by Fabio Fognini at Easter 2019, will be played behind closed doors according to anti-Covid protocol. The choice of King Roger is not surprising: he had already declared in the press conference after the defeat in Doha that he needed several weeks of training to strengthen the physique, not to play other tournaments.

Delicate weeks, in which he will have to monitor the situation of the operated knee, about which several doubts still hang. The Federer seen in Doha was in fact poorly prepared on a physical level: it was a test with expectations to a minimum, he declared himself.

In addition: "If it will be necessary to put matches in the legs in view of the season on grass, I will also play on clay" he added. In short, the red clay is only a viaticum for the tournaments he wants to win, those on grass.

His participation in Madrid, Rome or one of the smaller pre-Roland Garros tournaments cannot therefore be ruled out. Regarding the Parisian Grand Slam, it is still too early to be able to express himself. Roger might consider a clay slam too expensive and moreover he would have little time to go from red to grass (1-2 weeks).

Never say never though. Jean-Francois Caujolle, tournament director of the ATP Tour 250 event in Marseille, was recently asked whether Roger Federer still has another Wimbledon title in him. The Frenchman replied in the positive, insisting that the Swiss has the same drive for the sport as he did when he was merely 17 years old.

Caujolle on Roger Federer's chance on grass

"Why not? Roger Federer is just amazing," Jean-Francois Caujolle said. "He is as excited as when he was 17 years old so he can win on grass if he is totally fit."

Roger Federer made his much-awaited comeback at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, but came up short in his quarterfinal match against Nikoloz Basilashvili. Federer's exit at that stage came as a surprise to the Marseille tournament director, who remarked that the 39-year-old could've gone all the way at the 250-level tournament.

"I also thought he could have beaten Nikoloz Basilashvili in Doha and gone far. He is so good for tennis," Jean-Francois Caujolle went on.