Roger Federer's comeback came to an abrupt pause on Thursday, as he lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in his quarterfinal match at Doha. The Swiss had led the Georgian by a set and seemed on course for a straight-sets win before he let a myriad of break points slip by.
Federer's movement looked compromised during the final third of the encounter, and during his post-match interview, he claimed he wasn't fully fit yet. But the Swiss maestro is not too worried by his loss, and asserted that he was just happy to get some matches under his belt at the moment.
"Like I said, I'm not at 100% yet," Federer said. "I can feel it, I can see it. I'm still building up. This is a stepping stone. I'm actually happy how I felt on court overall."
Roger Federer also admitted that he had felt better physically in his opener against Dan Evans than he did against Basilashvili. The 39-year-old seemed to be dragging his tired body by the end of the match, even failing to convert a match-point on Georgian's serve at 4-5 in the decider.
Federer later said he had anticipated the possibility of getting tired as the match went on. The Swiss even claimed that his shoulders were shot in the latter stages of the contest, and that he didn't have it in him to go the extra mile.
"I honestly expected to feel this way," Federer said. "The whole shoulder, I feel the muscle pain around that. I didn't expect that, I'd been serving the whole time but I think that comes with the pressure. In matches you just go that extra 5%."
"I would have loved to get a win but I'm happy to get some rest" - Roger Federer
Given the circumstances, Roger Federer is content at simply playing some competitive matches. The Swiss does not intend to dwell on the loss much, and he claimed that he had a lot of positives to take from his return at the Doha Open.
"I'm over it already," Roger Federer said. "I would have loved to get a win but I'm happy to get some rest. It's a really, really positive return for me. I'm really happy."
Roger Federer was also asked whether he is planning to play the European clay swing, to which he replied that he had to since he needed match practice.
"What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts," Federer said. "So I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches. The clay could be good or bad for me. I will only know in practice, but I don't think it's going to be bad. I assume I will play some clay."