After more than a year of absence from the tennis courts, Roger Federer returned last week to play a tennis tournament and did so in the ATP tournament in Doha. There was a lot of curiosity to understand the physical condition of the twenty-time champion of the Grand Slam titles, a tennis player who had never stood still in his career all this time and had just returned from two knee surgeries.
Clearly among the fans as among the insiders there was the understanding that Federer could not immediately return to what he was before but many were satisfied with his performance. In the first match played Roger Federer faced a tough battle, from which he came out the winner, against the British tennis player Daniel Evans.
Removed some predictable moments of difficulty Roger immediately showed part of the tennis that has distinguished him in recent years and went out in the quarter-finals against Nikoloz Basilashvili, then winner of the Saudi tournament.
After more than a year of absence among the fans there was a lot of curiosity to understand if there had been any changes in the way of playing of the Swiss. Through social videos it was shown that Roger Federer, compared to what we saw over a year ago, has made changes to the service.
The more attentive will notice that when the Swiss is in service, when the racket makes contact with the ball he pushes his back forward to drag his body weight on the ball; in Doha everyone noticed that Roger Federer was much less forward when he was serving and this served to minimize back strain.
These slight changes mean that Roger Federer has lost a few kilometers of speed on the serve, especially on his second and after all this is also why the Swiss had poor percentages in the two matches played with the second.
Despite these data Roger Federer was one step away from the semifinal with Basilashvili who canceled a match point and went on to win the tournament. Former Swiss player Marc Rosset recently spoke about his countryman Roger Federer's comeback this year.
Rosset claimed that Federer might not be ready to play at a high level yet, but insisted that 39-year-old should play a few matches on clay to get some match practice ahead of Wimbledon.
Rosset reflects on Roger Federer
"(Playing on clay) will allow Roger Federer to do a little land work, to get a bit of a physical shape," Marc Rosset said.
"Especially since Wimbledon is hardly won by serving-and-volleying, it is won from the baseline." While Roger Federer has been able to deliver on grass even after his peak, he has struggled on the slower surfaces of late.
The 39-year-old hasn't played much on clay over the past few years, but he might be forced to change his strategy in his latest comeback. Marc Rosset also recalled the 2018 season, pointing out that skipping clay could mean Roger Federer is not sharp enough for the grass season.
"The year he did not play on clay in 2018, he had made two grasscourt tournaments where he had not played a top 10 and then he lost against Kevin Anderson," Rosset remarked.