Roger Federer confirms his 2021 season will begin at Doha in MarchFeb 02, 2021
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Roger Federer confirms his 2021 season will begin at Doha in March
The 20-time major champion shared the news in an interview with SRF, stating, “I want to celebrate great victories again. And for that I am ready to go the long, hard road.”
Published Feb 02, 2021
Traditionally, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha is one of the events that opens the ATP calendar each season. This year, organizers opted to move back their ATP 250 tournament to a March 8 start date when Tennis Australia needed to delay its swing of events to accommodate local COVID-19 measures.
By shifting two months, Doha has received an unexpected benefit. The long-standing tournament will now serve as the starting point for Roger Federer's return from a pair of right knee surgeries. The 20-time major champion confirmed the news in an interview with SRF Sport.
“I want to celebrate great victories again. And for that I am ready to go the long, hard road,” a translation read. “I wanted to make my comeback at a smaller tournament so that I wasn't fully in focus and where the stress is also a little less.”
Federer has not played since falling to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Australian Open semifinals. The 39-year-old admitted he’s kept up to date with the game more than anticipated during his time away from the tour.
“I actually thought that I would not follow the sport very much and would be more busy with my children and my rehab,” he said. “I was surprised that I kept checking results and watching matches. And normally I don't do that at all if I don't take part in a tournament.”
The Swiss is a three-time former champion in Doha, triumphing in 2005, 2006 and 2011. His last appearance came nine years ago, when he withdrew ahead of his semifinal with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga due to a back injury.