Federer meets Chardy or Evans Return in Doha


By Richard Pagliaro

Roger Federer will play a familiar face on his return to Doha next week.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion meets both Jeremy Chardywho reached the Rotterdam quarter-finals, or Briton Dan Evans in Doha. Evans defeated Borna Coric, Chardy and Felix Auger-Aliassme in succession to win his first career ATP title at the Murray River Open in Melbourne that year.

More: Djokovic aims for Miami return

It's Federer's first game in 13 months since losing to Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open semi-finals.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar has trained with both men and knows their games well. Federer has won four out of five games against the 34-year-old Chardy and is 3-0 against Evans, who won all nine sets in the Grand Slam game.

Yes, this is a draw that includes Roger Federer. Don't customize your Twitter app 😋 pic.twitter.com/g2MyntLmtG

– TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) March 6, 2021

If the seeds hold up on form, it will be a challenging return for Federer, who could face Rotterdam semi-finalist Borna Coric in the semifinals. Coric surprised Federer on grass, won the indoor title in 2018 and finished the last Swiss run in first place.

Federer will have his first appearance in Doha since 2012. 103 career championship winner Federer holds a 26-3 record in Doha, including title races in 2005, 2006 and 2011.

🚨 Roger Federer will meet either Jeremy Chardy or Dan Evans in his first match on the @ATPTour since January 2020! pic.twitter.com/7JLOv54ofB

– Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 6, 2021

Full potential path for Federer:

1R: Bye
2R: Chardy / Evans
QF: Coric
SF: Shapovalov / Goffin
F: Thiem / Rublev

– Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 6, 2021

Before leaving for Doha, Federer recorded this video message in which he shared his state of mind before his return.

"It's been a year since I last traveled to an event," said a masked Federer. "And I can tell you that I am very excited. And it may be a moment when I might be able to thank those involved who made this possible.

"It's been a long and hard road. I know I'm not there yet, but it's good."

"I'm very excited … it's been a long and hard road" @rogerfederer is ready for action 🙌pic.twitter.com/l7jyjY7G1v

– Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 5, 2021

Last exercise before ✈️
Feel 💪🏼 and ready to go! pic.twitter.com/kkvQTFvWE4

– Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 5, 2021

"I feel in a good place," said Federer. "I've practiced very well and just really pumped up. I hope you will tune in and hopefully see you soon. Take care of everyone."

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPkyjZ6FDSE (/ embed)

The father of two pairs of twins underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last year. Federer's trainer Pierre Paganini told Swiss journalist Rene Stouffer that Federer had been training at almost full strength in recent weeks.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson / Corleve


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