Roger Federer made a welcome return to tennis in Doha on Wednesday, and joked about forgetting some of the rules after 14 months away from the game.
Federer had to take a long break from the sport after a recurring knee injury required two surgeries and many feared it might end his career.
But, aged 39, the Swiss maestro made his comeback against British Dan Evans, who is also his practice partner, and came through in three sets winning 7-6, 3-6, 7-5.
There were glimpses of the old Federer smoothness during the match, the shot variation and the movement he is well known for, and he won with the match with a signature back-hand down the line.
But it was the start of the match which caused surprise with Federer seemingly out of practice with on-court protocols, some of which he has never had to face due to not playing through coronavirus.
Afterwards, Federer joked to reporters that he had forgotten some of the new rules and had to be reminded.
“It happened a ton of times, not just once. I forgot to take the towel, I forgot to bring the towel,” said Federer.
“Then the time, the shot clock is still not something that’s embedded in my system. I have played too long without the shot clock.
“Then I also forgot that the warm-up I guess was four minutes, because I was hitting with Dan and the next thing I know after 30 seconds he was already at the net volleying. I was like, why is he hurrying up so much?”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 10, 2021
The 20 time Grand Slam champion admitted to feeling tired in the third set of the match, but said he won’t be doing anything drastic to get himself ready for his quarter-final match against Nikoloz Basilashvili.
“You’re talking to an old-school guy. So I have done one ice-bath and I didn’t like it. So I’m not going to do that again,” joked Federer.
“I don’t just take painkillers for fun. I only take them when I really have to. Don’t feel like that’s the case tonight.
“I’m going to stretch, take a massage and sleep in and then warm up properly tomorrow, very simple.”
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