Roger Federer lost in three sets to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 tournament in Doha, but still played a great match and proved to everyone that he could continue to compete against the best tennis players in the world. The Swiss champion wasted a match point in the tenth game of the third set, but the Georgian did not tremble and practically did not give Federer the chance to close the practice at 6-4. “I was out for so long that I am delighted to have had the opportunity to play three sets against two of the best players on the circuit,” explained the 20-time Grand Slam winner at a press conference. “This is an important step for me. As I said: I’m not 100% yet. I feel it, I feel it and I see it. The important thing for me is to be 100% ahead of the season on the grass. I am still working and building my path; this is just a stepping stone. I’m happy with the way I played and the way I felt on the pitch today. I definitely felt better against Evans physically, but Basilashvili plays a completely different tennis than him. This defeat is easy to digest. Of course I would have liked to play tomorrow too, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time I’m happy to be able to rest and my performance. I’m happy to be back playing on the circuit. I am glad I came here to Doha. So it’s really a positive return for me. I’m really happy. “Federer then spoke bluntly about his real goal.” When I had my second surgery, I immediately thought about the Australian Open. When I realized that progress was minimal and that I needed to be more careful, however, I knew I had to change my schedule. Over the next four months, my team and I will need to be good at evaluating the calendar and figuring out how much work my body can handle. This is the best way to prepare for my real start to the season, which is the one on grass. I think playing matches is important to me, and the season on clay comes before the season on grass. From this point of view, I have no choice but to play on clay. I don’t know if it will be bad for me; I’ll only know in training”. Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas couldn’t be happier to see 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer back in action. The current World Number 5 has made no secret of his admiration for the Swiss champion and believes that watching Federer play again will help him assess his own game better.
Tsitsipas praises Roger Federer
“Eventually I feel Roger Federer’s going to get back on his feet and find his way, follow through – it just takes a few matches more,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said. However, the Greek star said it’s a “joy” not just for himself but the “tennis community” and the “Tour” to see the 39-year-old return to the competitive arena. Calling the Swiss a “source of inspiration”, Tsitsipas said that watching the veteran in action will help him get a sense of where his game is at currently and where it needs to go.