The last time Roger Federer smacked a tennis ball feels like a distant memory. But the wait is now over (or it will be). Federer teased his legion of fans and tennis fraternity with sneak picture of himself on a practice court a couple of weeks ago. He is set to mark his return to competitive tennis at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha next week.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) February 26, 2021
Roger Federer returns to tennis for the first time in a year
The Swiss legend last featured at the 2020 Australian Open, where he reached the semifinals, losing to the eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Since then, Federer had undergone multiple knee surgeries and missed the remainder of last season. He had initially planned to return at the 2021 Australian Open, but delayed his comeback. Even with a rescheduled date for the first Grand Slam of the year, Federer did not participate at this year’s Australian Open. Rumors circulated on social media that the COVID-19 protocols instilled by the Victoria government were the major factor. Federer would not have been able to travel with his entire entourage to Melbourne in that case.
In his latest post on his social media pages, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was excited and hopeful as he gears up to fly to the Middle East where he will play in Doha and Dubai respectively.
“I am about to take off to Doha. Its been a year since my last travel to any event,” Federer said in short video on Twitter.
“I am very excited and I want to thank all the people who made this possible,” he added. “It’s been a long and hard road. I have been practicing very well and I am really pumped up.”
Last practice before ✈️
Feeling 💪🏼 and ready to go! pic.twitter.com/kkvQTFvWE4
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 5, 2021
The ATP 250 tournament in Doha will take place between from March 8th-13th. The draw for the 28-player singles was released on Saturday, 6th March at around 3pm local time. Qualifying matches will be played across the weekend. Federer has a first-round bye and will face either Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy in the second round.
Roger Federer is the most decorated player in the 28-year history of the Qatar Open, having won the event three times (2005, 2006, and 2011). He also has a 26-3 record at the tournament (best of any player). Federer will be joined World No.4 Dominic Thiem, defending champion Andrey Rublev, and 2019 winner Roberto Bautista Agut in a star-studded lineup.
Main Photo from Getty.