On Tuesday Roger Federer appeared in an extensive interview at the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, just ahead of his comeback match against Dan Evans. Federer touched upon several topics but spoke at length about the disadvantages of being a tennis player, emphasizing the hectic traveling schedule they have.
Roger Federer’s knee injury and subsequent surgeries last year ruled him out of a majority of the season. But just the way every cloud has a silver lining, Federer’s time away from tennis also had a positive side to it - the 39-year-old got to spend more time with his family than what his tour commitments usually allow him to.
During the interview, Federer pointed out how he has been traveling non-stop ever since he turned pro in 1998.
“It was definitely nice to be home (in 2020),” Federer said “I came through in the tour sometime in 97-98. 98 in a way was my last junior year, first professional year. I had finished 300 in the world then - like 22-23 years ago now. And (since) then I’ve always been on the road from January to November, basically, I’m on world tour the entire time.”
Roger Federer also called himself and his peers ‘road warriors’, given all the time spend traveling.
"So when we get a bit off time, regardless of if we want it or not, it's always nice to be home," Federer added. "We’re road warriors if you want, all of us."
According to Roger Federer, tennis is one of the most logistically demanding sports in the world. The 20-time Major champion believes it is the player who journeys to the audience in tennis, and not the other way round.
Federer stressed that he loves traveling, but added that it often leaves him mentally exhausted.
"I think it's (tennis) one of the toughest sports out there in terms of travel schedules," Federer continued. "Because we come to see the people, the people don’t really come see us essentially because we travel to their country and their city. We love to do that but sometimes it gets taxing on the mind. So it's good to some time have a bit of a break, that’s why you have to be a bit wise with your schedule I believe."
I was hoping to come back much sooner: Roger Federer
Many - including Roger Federer himself - had expected the Swiss legend to make his comeback at the 2021 Australian Open. But a slow rehabilitation process meant that Federer had to wait an extra month before he could return to the sport.
Nevertheless, the 39-year-old expressed his delight at finally being back in the thick of things, with his focus now on preparing for the match against Dan Evans on Wednesday.
"I was really hoping to come back much sooner, but now we’re little over a 24 hours away for my first match tomorrow at 6 o clock," Federer said. "I'm very happy, it's been a long, hard road but here we are in Qatar. Like you said I have some beautiful memories of this place so it is exciting."
Roger Federer is a three-time champion at Qatar, but he last won the title back in 2011. Federer recalled his title win from 2005, where he beat his now-coach Ivan Ljubicic in the final.
"I’m happy to have won the tournament several times," the Swiss went on. "I'm happy I've won the golden falcon (name of the trophy) here. One time I beat my coach here, he doesn't like to talk about it, because he thinks that was one of the easiest finals I've ever had, but that's not true, I always respected him, he was a very dangerous player."