A few weeks ago in Doha, Roger Federer played his first official match after more than a year of hiatus. The former world number 1 beat Dan Evans to a comeback in the second round, before surrendering in the quarterfinals to future winner Nikoloz Basilashvili and also wasted a match point in the deciding set.
Fans all over the world were delighted to see the 20-time Grand Slam champion in action again, even though it seemed clear that there will still be a long way to go to be able to post another Grand Slam title. The 39-year-old from Basel preferred to play a further training block by giving up in Dubai and Miami, as well as letting go of the promise of playing some tournaments on clay.
His main focus will naturally be Wimbledon in the summer, not forgetting the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open. Just like King Roger, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also made his return to the circuit recently by winning his first match since November 2019 in Marseille.
The 35-year-old Frenchman beat veteran Feliciano Lopez, but had no chance against Ugo Humbert in the round following.
Tsonga on Roger Federer’s return
“Beyond the performance, it gives hope to a lot of people,” Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said.
“Because I’m sure there are a lot of people watching us, who may be tennis players or not, who may have other injuries, or many other things that are difficult. And it’s good to give people hope,” the Frenchman added.
“I think that through Roger Federer’s performance (and mine), we give people hope and that’s great.” Tsonga also empathized with Federer, given that he has himself undergone surgeries on both his knees in the past.
“Unbelievable. It’s beautiful,” Tsonga said. “I know what it’s like to have the knees operated on, because I have had both (knees operated). Anyway, I know what it is (laughs). When you’re out for a while (to comeback and win) it’s wonderful,” he added.
“It’s Roger Federer too. He plays good tennis. I think it is great.” Roger Federer is still passionate about lifting the Wimbledon for a record-extending 9th time. For that, he is investing more time in training than tournaments to be ready in time.
Considering his two matches in Doha, nobody could believe that Federer had not played tennis in 13 months. However, there are numerous improvements to be made, majorly on match fatigue, before the grass season begins.