Dan Evans lost to Roger Federer in the second round of the Qatar Open in Doha on Wednesday. And after the match, the Brit claimed that Federer played some of his best tennis towards the closing stages of the encounter.
The match marked the return of Roger Federer to the ATP tour after 13 months. The 39-year-old took three sets to defeat Evans 7-6, 2-6, 7-5 and set up a quarterfinal clash against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday.
To the casual fan Roger Federer may have looked rusty, as he mistimed some of his shots during the 2-hour 24-minute contest. But Evans asserted that Federer showed glimpses of his greatness and that he piled the pressure on him during the final stretch.
"I could feel certain parts were not quite there but it was evident when it got tight that he was way more aggressive in the third set," Evans said after the match.
"I actually thought Roger Federer played his best tennis in the last three, four games," Evans added. "Got himself out of trouble and then when I was 5-4 down, he really came at me. I felt a lot of pressure from his game. He showed a lot of glimpses of why he is so good."
Unheard of that there is someone competing for Grand Slams at Roger Federer's age in the men's game: Dan Evans
Roger Federer underwent two surgeries on his right knee in 2020, prompting fears that he may never return to the top level. But now that he is back, the Swiss is targeting Wimbledon and the other major events (Olympics and US Open) in the second half of the season.
If Federer does manage to win a 21st Major, he will become the oldest player (male or female) in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title.
In that context, Dan Evans stressed that what Roger Federer is trying to accomplish is truly rare. The Brit went on to add that Federer's return to the tour has added tremendous excitement for the fans.
"He said his story is not finished yet and from a fan’s point of view, it is going to be interesting to see how he goes at his age," Evans said. "He’s 39 and it’s unheard of that there is someone competing for Grand Slams at that age (in the men’s game). It’s going to be really good to watch for everybody to see what happens. We will all be pretty pumped if he got over the line at another Slam."