Although for only two games, fans had the chance to admire Roger Federer again on a tennis court. After more than a year of absence, the Swiss phenomenon returned to Doha last week, where he was unable to overcome the obstacle Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals (also wasting a match point in the third set). Despite having felt good sensations on the pitch, it seemed clear to everyone that the Swiss still needs to improve a lot physically to get back to top levels. For this reason, King Roger has chosen to skip the Dubai tournament and will not fly to Miami for the first Masters 1000 of the season. In the absence of further hitches, we will therefore have to wait for the clay to see the 20-time Grand Slam champion again. During a recent interview with ‘Gazeta Sporturilor’, former ATP number 26 Victor Hanescu – who faced the Maestro six times on the major circuit – recalled their first direct clash staged in 2004, on the occasion of the Davis Cup series between Romania and Switzerland. Federer had just posted his second Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open and had become number 1 in the world for the first time in his career.
Hanescu on his first match with Roger Federer
“I wanted to see what it was like to play with Roger Federer, he had already started to become a phenomenon,” Victor Hanescu said. The Romanian, who lost to Federer in his only Grand Slam singles quarterfinal appearance at the 2005 French Open, revealed that he found nothing extraordinary about the Swiss during the first few minutes of their warm-up. However, a bullet-like Federer forehand towards the end of their hit left a big impression on Hanescu’s mind. The then World No. 1 went on to win the encounter 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1. “When I warmed up I started slowly, it was easy to play and I thought, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t seem so bad!’,” Hanescu said. “But towards the end of the warm-up, Roger Federer hit a shot with his forehand that I still have in mind. I was impressed by the speed, it was a sign that showed me that this was waiting for me.” Roger Federer recently made his comeback at the Qatar Open 2021 after almost 13 months. The Swiss Maestro managed to reach the quarters of the tournament but lost a close contest against Nikoloz Basilashvili. Even though Federer couldn’t win the tournament, it was surely an amazing moment for fans to witness their superstar on the court once again. Although Roger Federer made a comeback at the Qatar Open 2021, he is not fully fit at the moment. Thus, he has decided to withdraw from the ongoing Dubai Tennis Championships 2021.