Roger Federer's comeback is being eagerly awaited all over the world, by his fans as well as his fellow players. And in a recent interview, Kazakh pro Alexander Bublik expressed his desire to play against Federer before he retires.
Bublik is among the most talented young players on the ATP Tour, and is known for his variety and unique bag of tricks. But the 23-year-old has never played Roger Federer in a competitive match; in fact, Bublik was just a year old when the Swiss turned pro in 1998.
When asked to name the one player he most wanted to face, Alexander Bublik had no hesitation in naming Roger Federer. The Kazakh even called Federer the 'greatest of all time', and acknowledged that the Swiss probably doesn't have a lot of time left on the tour.
"Roger Federer, he's the GOAT (Greatest of all time) in tennis," Bublik said. "And he's going to quit soon so I would like to play him and tell my grandkids I played against Roger Federer."
Alexander Bublik could get the chance to play Roger Federer in Doha next week
Roger Federer returns to the ATP Tour at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha next week, after more than a year on the sidelines. Federer has not played on the ATP tour since the 2020 Australian Open due to a knee injury, which required two surgeries.
The Swiss is also entered to play in Dubai the following week, but has withdrawn from the Miami Masters later this month.
Alexander Bublik's wish to play Roger Federer could come to fruition in Doha itself, if the stars align themselves. While Federer is in the main draw, Bublik sits as the first alternate in the Doha entry list.
The chances of Bublik moving into the main draw don't look that bad. There have been several injuries in the first few weeks of the new season, and one or more players could easily withdraw from Doha.
Even if that doesn't happen, Alexander Bublik can still come through the qualifying event and hope to draw Roger Federer.
Bublik is coming off a good run at the Singapore Tennis Open last week, where he reached his fourth career singles final (and second of the 2021 season). The Kazakh went down to Australia's Alexei Popyrin in three sets.
Nevertheless, the runner-up finish has moved Bublik to a career high No. 43 in the latest ATP rankings.