Doha: Roger Federer mentioned retirement was by no means an possibility throughout his battle with harm, insisting Sunday the restoration from knee surgical procedure was “utterly below management” forward of his return to aggressive tennis at this week’s Qatar Open, adopted by the Dubai Responsibility Free Tennis Championships.
The 39-year-old hasn’t performed a match since a semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic on the Australian Open in January 2020 and acknowledged it was uncommon for a participant of his age to return after harm.
“I do know it’s on the uncommon facet for a 40-year-old to come back again after a yr out,” he mentioned at a media briefing within the Qatari capital Doha.
“I really feel there’s nonetheless one thing — retirement was by no means actually on the playing cards.”
Federer, who underwent two knee surgical procedures in 2020, added: “The necessary factor is I’m ache free and harm free.
“I’m very completely satisfied to be again taking part in a event — I by no means thought it was going to take this lengthy.”
Whereas he was out of motion, he noticed Rafael Nadal equal his report of 20 Grand Slam titles with a thirteenth Roland Garros triumph.
Djokovic, in the meantime, captured a ninth Australian Open final month, to take his profession Slam tally to 18.
On his rivalry with Nadal and Djokovic, who on Monday will overtake his report of 310 weeks as world primary, Federer mentioned “it’s a terrific debate to have”.
“I believe what Novak and Rafa have performed of late is extraordinary — they’re not 25 both,” he mentioned with a smile.
“Novak did it in Australia, Rafa did it on the French — they appear at their peak which is nice for tennis and for the talk.
“My concern is my very own well being, my very own recreation (extra) than the report.
“The blokes are unreal, I hope they carry on going and might do every little thing they presumably need — you wish to depart the sport with no regrets, and in that respect all of us sleep very nicely at evening.”
‘100% for Wimbledon’
Federer mentioned that whereas “expectations are actually low” for his marketing campaign in Qatar, he hoped to shock himself.
“Clearly I’m assured in any other case I wouldn’t put myself on this scenario,” he mentioned forward of his first match which might be on both Tuesday or Wednesday.
His opponent might be both Britain’s Dan Evans, who has educated with Federer at his Swiss base, or French veteran Jeremy Chardy.
“In a imaginative and prescient I see myself with the trophy,” he mentioned.
Federer, who has 103 profession titles to be simply six again from Jimmy Connors’ report, mentioned that the problems that adopted his two knee surgical procedures motivated him to get again in type.
“What I knew is no matter whether or not I got here again or not, for my life I needed to do that rehab anyhow,” he mentioned.
“I really feel there’s nonetheless one thing — retirement was by no means actually on the playing cards. I don’t thoughts doing rehab.”
Federer will flip 40 in August and mentioned that he hoped to be again to “one hundred pc” for Wimbledon in June however had not taken choices on tournaments earlier than then or the Tokyo Olympics.
Federer is an eight-time Wimbledon winner however has but to win a singles gold on the Olympics.
“It’s nonetheless constructing as much as being fitter, higher, quicker,” he mentioned.
“I’ll see about Dubai (the week after Doha)… then we’ll see concerning the clay courtroom season.”
Federer mentioned that whereas he was dissatisfied to not be returning to a full home due to Qatar’s strict coronavirus containment measures, he was completely satisfied to have some followers.
“I’m simply completely satisfied I’m taking part in once more and excited to expertise the way it will really feel,” he mentioned.
“No one desires it to be this fashion (however) something aside from zero is sweet… you’ve some passionate folks on the market.”
Federer’s rivals within the sport have backed him to nonetheless be a pressure.
“I’m certain he has been coaching exhausting and is happy to get again on the market and compete,” mentioned fellow former world primary Andy Murray who has been preventing his personal prolonged battle with hip and pelvic accidents.
“I’m certain in time, offering that his physique is sweet, that he’ll play top-level tennis once more as a result of he’s that good. Even when there’s a slight drop-off bodily for him, I might again his talent towards most gamers.
“I’m certain he might be nice.”