Roger Federer has stated that he never considered retirement during his recent hiatus from the sport as he bids to return to full fitness in time for his favourite Grand Slam.
The former world No.1 has been absent from the sport for 13 months due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures last year. It is the longest in his career that the Swiss Maestro has been away from the sport since he made his Tour debut in 1998. His last competitive match was against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the 2020 Australian Open.
It could be forgiven to think that due to his injury setback the 20-time Grand Slam champion might be tempted to pull the plug on his record-breaking career. Federer has won 103 ATP titles so far in his career, which is the second highest in history after Jimmy Connors, and has held the world No.1 spot for 310 weeks. A milestone which nemesis Djokovic will surpass on Monday.
“Retirement was never really on the cards. I think it’s more of a conversation if the knee keeps bothering me for months and months – then let’s look at it. This is not the time to think about that, let’s say in the fall of this year,” Federer said during a press conference on Sunday.
“I just feel like the story is not over. It’s not like there’s one particular reason that I wanted to keep playing tennis other than I enjoyed playing tennis, I enjoy being on the road.
“I’m still a work in progress, but probably one of the other reasons for coming back is I want to get that high again of playing against the biggest players and in the biggest tournaments and hopefully winning them again. Hopefully I can play in front of crowds again.”
The venue of Federer’s comeback is Doha where the Qatar Open will be held. A tournament the world No.6 has won on a record three previous occasions but he hasn’t played in since 2012. Whilst he is not expecting an immediate return to top form, Federer has already outlined a deadline as to when he hopes to be able to peak by.
“I‘m very happy to be back playing a tournament again. It’s been a long time, I never thought it would take this long,” Federer said.
“I know I need to go back to training after here again. From this standpoint it’s just about building up (fitness),” he added.
“I hope then by Wimbledon I’m going to be 100 percent and that’s where the season starts for me.”
It was at Wimbledon in 2019 where Federer narrowly missed out on the title. During what was a marathon final showdown with Djokovic he failed to convert two match points before losing. He has already won the grass-court major eight times which is more than any other male player in history.
Despite his prominence in the sport for more than a decade, even Federer can’t escape father time with him being the oldest player in the top 100. The older you get, it will undoubtedly have an impact on the length of time to recover from matches, as well as other factors. Although Federer is happy to prove that age is nothing but a number to him.
“I know it’s on the rare side for a 40-year-old to come back after a year out,” he admits.
“The important thing is I’m pain free and injury free.”
Schedule-wise nothing has been set in stone over the coming weeks with an appearance at the Dubai Tennis Championships later this month yet to be decided. After that Federer’s focus will switch to the European clay in what will be a stern test of his knee.
“It’s still building up to being fitter, better, faster,” he commented on his plans.
“I’ll see about Dubai… then we’ll see about the clay court season.”
Granted a bye in the first round of Doha, he will play his first match against either Jeremy Chardy or Dan Evans. Two players he has defeated multiple times on the Tour with four wins over Chardy and three over Evans.
“I might surprise myself. I actually already have done in practice the past three weeks. I was surprised with how well it actually did go. But we know matches are a different animal, so right now I just take it day by day. I am happy I am back on the Tour again.” Federer concluded.
Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’
The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.
The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.
Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.
“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”
It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.
“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”
Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.
“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.
Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.
Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti
30-year-old Evans says he is not happy with recent comments the Italian has said about him.
British No.1 Dan Evans has branded fellow player Lorenzo Musetti ‘disrespectful’ after recording the most high-profile win of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
The world No.33 stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, in what is his first ever win over a member of the prestigious Big Three. A trio that consists of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What is even more remarkable is that Evan’s victory took place on the clay. A surface which he hadn’t won a Tour match on since 2017 prior to this week.
Speaking to reporters following his win over the world No.1, Evans was questioned about what was the difference between his match against Musetti last week and his performance in Monte Carlo. Prompting the Brit to hit out at the Italian who is dubbed as one of the rising stars of the Tour.
“How he spoke last week was embarrassing,” Evans said. “Let’s not talk about Musetti in my press conference.
“Last week he said some things in the Italian press about me that was disrespectful.
Musetti, if he apologises, I will answer. He’s a good tennis player, but he’s got no manners.”
The fallout between the two started last week after Musetti won their match at the Sardegna Open. Saving four match points in the final tiebreaker en route to the victory. Afterwards, the 19-year-old accused his rival of disrespecting him on the court.
“There are respectful experienced players on the court,” he said. “Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to (win) matches.
“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man.”
Whilst the two tennis players are unlikely to be friends anytime soon, Evans did praise the recent performance of his rival. Musetti is the youngest player in the top 100 on the men’s Tour and is one of only two players aged 19. The other is compatriot Jannik Sinner.
“He played very well last week. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t take the match points. It’s just tennis. Yeah, he could do with learning some manners.” He concluded.
Evans is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. Awaiting him in the next round is 11th seed David Goffin who defeated Alexander Zverev in his third round match.
New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade
The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”
Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.
The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.
“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”
Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.
The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.
“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”
So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.
Italy leads 2-0 against Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Play-off
Monte-Carlo Masters Saturday Preview: Who Will Play for their First Masters 1000 Title on Sunday?
Rafael Nadal Criticises Serve After Crashing Out In Monte-Carlo Quarters
Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after three-set win over Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo
Canada up 2-0 over Serbia after day one at Billie Jean King Cup
Model Claims She Was Offered 60,000 Euros To Set Up Novak Djokovic
Naomi Osaka And The (Other) Surfaces
Updated Entry Lists For Marbella, Cagliari
Furious Vasek Pospisil Blames Miami Open Meltdown On Heated Meeting With ATP
Novak Djokovic Only Loses Matches When He Allows His Opponents To Beat Him, Claims Father
Steve Flink: “Jannik Sinner Will Be a Top 10 Player by the US Open”
(VIDEO) Miami Open Final Preview: Jannik Sinner Is The Favourite But Don’t Underestimate Hurkacz
Steve Flink: “Naomi Osaka Will Win At Least A Dozen Slams”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic and Nadal will end up with more Slams than Federer”
Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?”
ATP16 hours ago
Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti
Latest news2 days ago
Grand Slam Winner Francesca Schiavone Returns To Tennis As Coach For Top 25 Star
ATP3 days ago
Steve John Slams ATP, French Open In Social Media Rant
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Appreciates But Not Always Agree With Bold Statements From Father
ATP3 days ago
Djokovic Showdown A ‘Good Test’ For Jannik Sinner In Monte Carlo
Latest news2 days ago
Victoria Azarenka Pulls Out Of Stuttgart
ATP1 day ago
New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade
Hot Topics16 hours ago
No Questions For Hurkacz: Who Is To blame? Fans Blast Reporters, But Is It Really Them?