After almost fourteen months of absence, Roger Federer was finally back on the pitch. The Swiss champion, twenty times winner of the Grand Slam, showed against the British Daniel Evans that he is in good physical and mental condition as evidenced by the victory after about two and a half hours of match. Evans was a Top 30 and certainly not an easy player to deal with, especially for an athlete who hasn’t been for so long. Federer appeared optimistic after this first match and made interesting statements at the press conference: “Already the day before the game I had excellent sensations, then I started to feel a bit of pressure, nothing to worry about but I felt excited. In training I understood that I was fine, but I knew that the race was something else. During the competition I felt quite my nerves, I wanted to let go of my hand and try new things, but the match does not always allow you. I’m happy with how I played though, Dan was a tough enough opponent for a first round, but we’ve been training together for the past few weeks and I knew what to expect. The result was indifferent to me, now I am very satisfied and I feel great, I am curious to see how I will feel in tomorrow’s match (editor’s note, we play today). Roger Federer also talked at length about his performance against Dan Evans. Despite being visibly rusty with his shot-making, Federer looked at ease with his footwork during the match.
Roger Federer on his performance against Dan Evans
In his post-match interview, Roger Federer acknowledged that he needs to put in the hard yards with his feet if he wishes to do well on his comeback. “No one is going to do the running for you, you have to do it yourself,” Federer said. “You can’t be substituted. If I don’t run, I’m not going to win any more points, it’s that simple.” The 39-year-old – who then lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday – also revealed that he doesn’t like taking ice baths. An ice bath is a popular modern method that aids the muscle-recovery process after an intense training session or match. “You’re talking to an old school guy here,” Federer said. “I’ve done one ice bath and I didn’t like it. I’m not going to do that again.” This was Federer’s first game in 14 months, and it was good that he faced a persistent Dan Evans in the first round at Doha. “Feels good to be back. I’m happy to be standing here regardless of whether I won or lost. Nice to finish with a backhand down the line, always on a match point,” Federer expressed after grabbing the win. “Important is how I feel tomorrow & next day & so forth for the next 6 months basically. Been a long tough road for me but I enjoyed it though….to come back at my age is not something that is very simple but I’ve had a wonderful team around me,” the 39-year-old added.