Dominic Thiem says he 'still really loves' to watch Roger Federer play tennis, although on the court they remain rivals.
Thiem is the top seed at Doha this week and could meet Federer in the final of the event.
The Qatar Open will be Federer's first competitive tennis in over a year after requiring double knee surgery following the 2020 Australian Open.
And, Thiem, like everyone else, is looking forward to the Swiss star's return - with an understandable caveat.
"We are rivals, and of course we want to beat each other in the tournament, [but] I still really love to watch him play tennis,” Thiem told the press in Qatar.
“[He] looks so nice, the way he plays, the way he approaches the game of tennis.
“On the one hand, I’m also a big fan of his still, and that’s why I really love that he’s back and that I can watch him again.
"That’s what pretty much everybody is thinking, and I hope that he’s coming back strong, as well.”
Thiem will open his Doha campaign against Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, while Roger Federer will face either Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy.
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?