The first time in 13 and a half months, the first time during a pandemic. Roger Federer, finally on the field and winning in Doha against Daniel Evans, found himself catapulted into a tennis completely changed by the pandemic. In the field with a mask, distancing in interviews, virtual press conferences. As if he had arrived from a long time in another dimension: “I made a lot of messes! First I forgot to take the towel myself, then I forgot to take it away … For many years I have been used to it differently and it will take me a while – explained Roger -. I feel like I’ve been gone longer than a year. And also the time between points, for too long I played without, and then the warm-up! I had removed that it only lasted four minutes. I thought too much, I constantly thought about what blow to do to what blow my opponent would do. My brain was overloaded…” Roger Federer emerged triumphant in his comeback match, ousting a spirited Dan Evans in three hard-fought sets. Federer was far from fluent in the match, shanking several shots midway through to give Evans a clar shot at the win.
Roger Federer on his return
Speaking after his win, Roger Federer sounded extremely happy at being back on the tour, especially since he managed to mark the occasion with a win. The Swiss also expressed hope that his win would have brought some much-needed joy to a world grappling with a serious crisis. “I hope tonight was a bit of an uplift to everything going on in the world,” Federer said. “I enjoyed it. It feels good to be back. I’m happy to be standing here regardless if I won or lost but obviously winning feels better. I was tired so I was more focused [during match point] on being tired than trying to win the point,” Federer said. “I just said ‘You know what, if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out swinging’.” The 39-year-old also claimed that clinching victory with his classic down-the-line backhand was ‘nice’. “Dan had more energy left at the end but I was serving well and I’m incredibly happy,” Federer continued. “It was a pleasure to share the court with Dan and it was nice to finish off with a backhand down the line, always on a match point.” The Swiss player said that he wants to be in prime shape by the time Wimbledon comes around, as that would put the conversation and “questions” around his knee to bed. Partnering three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, Federer won the doubles gold in the 2008 Beijing Games. He followed up with a silver in singles in the 2012 London Games.