Roger Federer made his countless fans happy by returning to the pitch in Doha a few weeks ago. Not much could have been expected from the Swiss phenomenon after more than a year of stoppage, largely caused by the double surgery on his right knee which he underwent in 2020.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion did not go beyond the quarter-finals in Qatar, putting several shortcomings in terms of athletic performance are highlighted. The former world number 1 has opted for an additional training block, useful to get close to 100% of form when there is still some time left for Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.
The 39-year-old from Basel is expected to participate in a few red tournaments before the grass season, but the Swiss schedule remains shrouded in an aura of mystery. His name does not appear in the entry list of the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, which will open the campaign on clay in April.
Interviewed by the official website of the ATP a few days before her debut in Miami, the young promise Shintaro Mochizuki shared her feelings after having allied herself with King Roger several times. The 17-year-old Japanese, number 654 in the ATP rankings, surrendered in the first round against Thanasi Kokkinakis in Florida.
Mochizuki pays tribute to Roger Federer
"Roger Federer’s my hero," Shintaro Mochizuki said of Roger Federer. "At the ATP Finals, I was there as a hitting partner and I got to hit with him. It was a dream.
He hits so easy, just relaxed." Mochizuki went on to claim that it was through watching Roger Federer that he could muster enough confidence to play the main events. "He taught me that if you have any chances to play bigger events, just go for it," the Japanese added.
"Many people are just playing with the power and emotions, but he's just hitting balls so easy," Mochizuki remarked. And even though he lost to the higher-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round, Mochizuki has many positives to take from his time at the Masters 1000 event.
"Even this tournament, I had a wild card (to enter the qualifiers)," Mochizuki said. "I'm still like No. 600, I’m not even close to getting into qualies and I had a chance to play, so I just came to play.
Actually, [it helped] a lot because that was my first ATP tournament of my life and I was so nervous and I couldn't even play my tennis, especially in the first set," he added. "But this is my second tournament, and I'm getting used to it. I'm enjoying playing on the tour."