- 07 Mar 2021
For his comeback to the circuit, in Doha next week, after more than a year of absence, Roger Federer held a press conference on Sunday. Despite his right knee injury which kept him away from the courts for 403 days, the Swiss is sure of himself: “Retirement was never really considered”.
Exempted from the first round as seed number 2 (behind Dominic Thiem), Federer will play in Doha the winner of the meeting between the French Jérémy Chardy and the Briton Daniel Evans. We took 6 key statements from his press conference that show what mindset the 39-year-old is in as he returns to the court (see the full table here ).
1 – “The story is not over yet”
Even after two rounds of surgery on his right knee, a global pandemic and more than 400 days away from the courts, Roger Federer keeps the same passion, the same will, even at 39 years old.
“I feel there is still something to be done,” said the world number 6. I just feel like the story is not over yet.”
Federer admits, however, that the question of a retirement was legitimate:
“It’s normal to talk about it, since you realise that you can no longer play at the highest level because of your knee. But it’s not yet time to think about it. “
Last December, during the presentation of the prize for the best Swiss sportsman since 1950 at the Swiss Sports Awards, Federer had discussed his future while maintaining the vagueness:
“If my career had to stop there, well, it would be incredible to the finish with this prize. “
His last match dates back to January 30, 2020. Roger Federer played his last meeting on the circuit in the semi-final of the Australian Open, against Novak Djokovic (7-6, 6-4, 6-3).
2 – “The pain is now completely under control”
“I don’t feel like a broken man,” explained the Swiss legend on Sunday. “I even think the situation is good, compared to that of four or five months ago.”
Last June, Federer announced that he had undergone a second operation on his knee in less than four months, after the one in February.
“From now on, it is the knee that will decide what to do next,” he continues. “I know how to play tennis. If I’m worried about anything today, it’s my knee. “
Federer explained that he would do “a daily inventory” with his team on his sensations and knee pain. “All the lights are green,” admitted the Swiss.
3 – “Expectations for Doha are very low”
More than a year after his last game, Federer is hoping for a smooth recovery in Doha. With few expectations for the ATP 250 tournament.
“The expectations for Doha are very low, but I can still surprise myself and the other players,” he explained at a press conference. I feel confident. Otherwise, I would not have come back to Doha.”
The Swiss have won this tournament three times in their career.
4 – “I hope to be 100% for Wimbledon. “
In the year of his 40th birthday, Federer has not hidden anything: the first Grand Slam he is aiming for is that of Wimbledon (June 28-July 11).
“I hope to be 100% for Wimbledon,” he said. The season will really start for me. All there is before is just to find out how I’m doing.”
He has already announced that he will ignore the Masters 1000 in Miami . Only the Dubai ATP 500, the week of March 15, is on his program.
5 – “All lights are green”
Asked about his presence in Rome and more widely the season on clay, Roger Federer maintained the vagueness for the rest of his program before Wimbledon and stressed that he is focused on the upcoming tournament in Doha.
“First, I have to see how things are going in Doha,” he said. Then I can think about the Dubai tournament (March 15-21). I will then come back to training, and I will advise for the clay season.”
6 – “I enjoyed the time spent at home”
20 Grand Slam titles and a career spanning two decades, Federer was not confused by the 403 days spent away from the courts. This Sunday, the Swiss even explained that he “enjoyed the time spent at home.”
“For someone like me who has played more than 1300 games, you know, breaks are always welcome,” he whispered. “I took it happily. And, you know, I always have lots to do. So life’s busy in a good way, you know, time for a lot of other things. So I’m just enjoying myself and like I explained before, to sell.”
However, He admitted to be “happy to find his second family, that of tennis.”