On March 10, Roger Federer finally returned to entertain all tennis fans. The Swiss champion was forced to miss most of 2020 and the start of the new season due to two knee operations. Federer participated in the ATP 250 tournament in Doha and played two excellent matches.
In the opening match, the 20-time winner of a Grand Slam tournament defeated Daniel Evans in three sets; while in the quarter-finals he surrendered to a surprising Nikoloz Basilashvili, later winner of the tournament. Immediately after the Qatari event, Federer announced that he would not take part in the Dubai tournament and that his real goal remains to return to 100% ahead of the season on grass.
In a long interview with the French magazine "Numero Homme", the Swiss talked about the long post-injury rehabilitation and the way he spent his days during the lockdown. "Netflix? No, to tell the truth, I've never fallen into a TV series addiction," Federer explained.
"Above all, I spent time playing with my children and my wife. After all, it is always talking to them that I make the most important decisions, even those concerning tennis. And I was happy that I was able to dedicate myself to looking after our house, children and garden.
It was a year of slowdown, always spent with my family, but at the same time complicated, due to the two knee operations and the pandemic. Whole weeks have gone by without any particular events, and we have respected the rules of social distancing.
But it was nice to find my country, Switzerland, where I usually don't spend more than three months a year. The only time something like this happened to me was in 2016, when I always stopped due to knee problems."
Roger Federer says he still keeps in touch with his “super foster family”
Roger Federer left his Basel home at the age of 14 and went to live with a foster family in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, which offered more in the way of avenues, mostly coaching and training-wise, to chart a successful career in the sport.
Recalling his early days in the midst of complete strangers, the 39-year-old Federer said it was tough as he often felt a longing for home. “Very hard, especially because of the language. I was incredibly homesick,” said the Swiss, who was born to a father of Swiss-German origin and a mother who was South African.
He said opened up about the factors that made those days especially challenging, the “constant back and forth with the train”. After all this, he admitted that he still remained in contact with them. “They had a son my age who now has children. He’s a bit of a brother to me,” the 6-time Australian Open champion said.