Monday Mar 08, 2021
Tennis star Roger Federer on Sunday said that he never considered retirement despite his 14-month battle with injury.
Talking to media ahead of his return to competitive tennis at Qatar Open in Doha, the 39-year-old said the pain was “completely under control.”
“I’m very happy to be back playing a tournament — I never thought it was going to take this long,” he said. “The important thing is I’m pain free and injury free.”
Federer, who was last seen in action against Novak Dokovic at the Australian Open semi-final in January, acknowledged that it is rare for a player of his age to return after injury.
“I know it’s on the rare side for a 40-year-old to come back after a year out,” he said at a media briefing.
On his rivalry with Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, who this week overtakes his record of 310 weeks as world number one in men’s tennis, Federer said “it’s a great debate to have”.
“I think what Novak and Rafa have done of late is extraordinary - theyre not 25 either,” he said with a smile.
“Novak did it in Australia, Rafa did it at The French — they seem at their peak which is great for tennis and for the debate.
“My concern is my own health, my own game (more) than the record.
“The guys are unreal, I hope they keep on going and can do everything they possibly want — you want to leave the game with no regrets, and in that respect we all sleep very well at night.”
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam title winner, said that while “expectations are really low” for his campaign in Qatar, he hoped to surprise himself.
“Obviously I’m confident otherwise I wouldn’t put myself in this situation,” he said ahead of his first fixture which will be on either Tuesday or Wednesday. “In a vision I see myself with the trophy,” he added laughing.