Superstar Roger Federer shared an update on his level of match fitness after making a quarter-final exit at the ongoing Qatar Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion went down in three sets to power-hitting Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili to bow out of the tournament on Thursday.
Roger Federer says he was happy to have come out unscathed from back-to-back three-setters in Doha
Federer did count some positives from an unsuccessful comeback campaign while adding that there was still some ground to cover to reach the desired level of fitness and form ahead of the grass-court season.
In an interaction with reporters after Thursday’s loss, the former World Number 1 said that there were moments in the two rounds he played in Qatar where he realized that he was “not at 100 percent yet”.
However, he added that he was happy to have come out unscathed from two back-to-back comeback matches, and he will now take the gains to build himself to the level he aspires to as Wimbledon draws near.
“I come from so far away that I’m actually happy that I was able to play back-to-back, three-set matches against top players,” Federer said, calling it an “important step forward” for himself.
Federer calls the Qatar Open campaign an important “stepping stone”
Saying that he was operating short of 100 percent at the Doha event, the Swiss play added for good measure that he could “feel it” in his play.
The current World Number 6 announced his pullout from the Dubai event, saying he needed more training to sharpen and fine tune some elements in his game before making his Grand Slam return at Wimbledon.
Underlining his priorities going forward, the Swiss champion said, “(It’s) important to be at 100 percent by the grass-court season. I know that I am still building up, so this (Doha) is a stepping stone.”
Hinting that he didn’t recover well enough between the two matches, Federer said that he was in a better physical shape against Englishman Dan Evans, his opponent in his tournament opener.
Read More: “I Want Him to Return”: Roger Federer Sends Special Message for Juan Martin Del Potro
Also, the fact that Basilashvili plays a “totally different” brand of tennis than Evans made it difficult for Federer to adjust to the varying styles of play of his two opponents. Only time will tell how the rest of Federer’s season will pan out.