Roger Federer never contemplated retirement as he spent 13 months on the sidelines due to double knee surgery last year and the 39-year-old says he is now pain-free and ready to play again with a feeling that his story is not over yet.
Federer, tied with Rafa Nadal on a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, has not played a competitive match since losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semi-finals in 2020.
The Swiss maestro will make his highly-anticipated return at this week’s Qatar Open, where he is seeded behind U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem.
“Finally, I’m back on the tennis court again; working out, playing sets, playing points. It’s a true pleasure, a privilege actually, after all this time,” Federer said on the sidelines of Qatar on Sunday (March 7).
“I don’t know what to expect. I know that the expectations from my side are extremely low, and I’m just very happy that I’m playing a tournament again, regardless of the outcome of this event.”
The Swiss has a bye in the first round in Doha, where he is a three-time winner, and his return match will either be on Tuesday (March 9) or Wednesday (March 10) against Briton Dan Evans or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Federer said he is taking his return “day by day” and is more interested to see how his knee reacts to the rigours of competitive tennis.
(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)