When Roger Federer returned to the pitch in Doha after almost 14 months of absence, it was an exciting time for any sports fan. The fans have once again welcomed him as king, despite the fact that the Swiss phenomenon has only played two games and lost to future tournament winner Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals.
The former number 1 in the world then renounced the appointment in Dubai and the Masters 1000 in Miami, where he was supposed to defend the title he had won two years ago at Hard Rock Stadium. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will not even take part in the first Masters 1000 on clay, which is due to take place in the Principality of Monte Carlo in mid-April.
His name appears instead on the list of participants in the Mutua Madrid Open, even if that doesn't necessarily guarantee his presence in the Spanish capital. King Roger has always loved the terms of the Caja Magica, which is on the heights, and has earned him three titles.
Racket technology has evolved and improved considerably over the years. And that has often prompted fans to ponder whether Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would have still ruled the sport if they had to play with the wooden rackets used by players prior to the 80s.
Roger Federer reflects on Rafael Nadal's talent
Roger Federer cited the example of Rod Laver, asserting that the Australian - who predominantly struck the ball flat - would have incorporated topsin seamlessly had he been part of the present era.
"Many think that Rafael Nadal could not have played with wooden rackets, I do not agree," Roger Federer said. "His forehand could have been less impressive. But he would have adapted his lasso movement and found a way to exploit his talent by hitting more flat.
It's the same for Rod Laver," Federer added. "He was playing flat because that was the style at the time. But he would have hit topspin easily with today's rackets. The best hands and the best eyes adapt to everything; they learn, they evolve."
The Swiss Maestro was scheduled to play at the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships in the following week but pulled out as he felt the need to concentrate on the practice sessions. He skipped the Miami Open and indicated to resume his season on the clay-court events.
Although, he is not featuring at the season’s first ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event in Monte Carlo. There is speculation that he may play at the ATP Madrid Masters, beginning in May. In the current season, he wishes to play at the French Open.