You are probably asking yourselves the reason for an article about Roger Federer’s return, eight days after it happened. It’s just that I did not feel like it was right to talk about Doha, that was getting enough attention as it was, while the Marseille tournament was happening.
Anyways, all eyes were set on the Qatari capital when at 4:20 pm, Roger Federer had his first competitive ball toss since his semi-final defeat at the 2020 Australian Open versus Novak Djokovic. The gold old days when you go to restaurants with friends, masks were strictly used in all sorts of costumed parties, and the word remote was mainly used to designate the tool that allows one to control his TV without having to move his « tuchess » from his or her couch.
In fact, we have a tendency to forget, but Roger Federer was already absent when the world was hit by this forking pandemic. Therefore to see him back, when everyone (except Novak Djokovic) is getting vaccinated has something very reassuring with regards to this never ending crisis.
The Swiss, that was dealing with a knee injury, took advantage of the Covid break to literally reconstruct. He underwent a first surgery and then a second due to a unsatisfactory first result.
Curiosity was therefore the name of the game. Everyone and his grandmother wanted to know in what shape was the player that many consider as the greatest of all time. All wanted the 2017 Australian Open magic to happen again. But mostly, people just wanted to see him play for the pleasure of the eyes.
The first image that swiftly went around the world was Roger Federer adapting to the new post Covid tour rules :
The return was successful, even though Federer was challenged by Evans.
A lethal forehand
But due to aging bones (for years older than his last comeback), it was more complicated this time. Remember that in 2017 after only 3 matches, Rodge dismissed Tomas Berdych 2, 4 and 4. The Czech was then ranked number 10 in the world.
This time around, Roger pleased all his fans with beautifully struck backhands, a very efficient 1st serve and as usual a lethal forehand. His winners, as his euros were often accompanied by a grin which said a lot about his mental state. Check it out in the highlights and especially at the 2:02 minute .
The next day versus the « oh so friendly » Nikoloz Basilashvili, Federer almost clocked in another win, but despite having a match point in the third set, the veteran wasn’t able to close.
If this is a farewell tour, Paris is a must
In any case the Swiss was roasted physically. In fact he pulled out of the Dubai event, and as many others will not play in Miami. He should be back on clay, somewhere between Monte-Carlo, Rome and Madrid. But I really hope to see him at Roland-Garros, because if this is a farewell tour, Paris is a must.
To finish, check out the the post match interview after his win over Dan Evans.
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