Roger Federer Announces He Will Return to Training, Skip Dubai ATP Tournament

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Roger Federer in action during the exhibition tennis match against Rafael Nadal held at the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Halden Krog/Associated Press

Roger Federer returned to competition this week after his long layoff injury, eventually losing in the Qatar Open quarterfinals to Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-3, 1-6, 5-7 on Thursday.

Following the loss, Federer tweeted that he would be skipping next week's tournament in Dubai and returning to training:

Roger Federer @rogerfederer

It’s been great to be back on the @atptour , loved every minute playing in Doha once again. 🙌🏼 A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. 🙏🏼 I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week. 🏋🏽 https://t.co/zp65Jt832n

The 39-year-old Federer beat Dan Evans on Wednesday, his first match in nearly 14 months after having two knee surgeries in 2020.

"I'm happy I am back on the tour," he said after Thursday's loss. "I'm pleased I came here to Doha. So it's really, really a positive return for me. I'm really happy. 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. That's an important step forward to me."

Tennis TV @TennisTV

A dropshot so unexpected, it fooled the cameraman 😎 @rogerfederer https://t.co/ycIRZDjrBk

Federer added Thursday that his goal is to be ready and in top form at Wimbledon in June.

"I might be better earlier, that would be a bonus and that means I'm at 100 percent before Wimbledon," he told reporters. "I'll just see how much workload the body and the knee still take and what's the best way to prepare all the way for basically the beginning of the season for me, which is the grass court season."

The Tennis Podcast @TennisPodcast

Federer: “I’m happy that I was able to play back-to-back three set matches against top players. That’s a big step forward for me. I’m not at 100% yet, I can see it, I can feel it. Important to be 100% by the grass. This is a stepping stone. I’m happy with how I felt on court.”

He may play the French Open in May as well.

"What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts. So from that standpoint, I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches," he added. "It could be good for me, the clay. It could be bad for me, the clay. So I will only know in practice, but I don't think it's going to be bad, to be honest."

So we may get a full slate of Federer at the remaining Grand Slam events this year. All that's certain at this point is Federer skipping Dubai.