Roger Federer was in the stands at the Qatar Open on Tuesday, to watch the first-round encounter between Dan Evans and Jeremy Chardy. The 39-year-old had more than a passing interest in the match though, as the winner would be his opponent in the second round on Wednesday.
As it turned out, Evans defeated Chardy 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 to book a second-round clash against Federer. But while the Swiss may have gotten a few tips from scouting the Evans-Chardy encounter, he probably won't need any.
Evans had been practicing with Federer in the weeks leading up to Doha, and the two players are quite familiar with each other's game. The Swiss recently revealed he had played close to 20 practice sets with Evans in preparation for his comeback event, and the Brit alluded to that in his post-match press conference.
"He's obviously seen a lot of my game the last few weeks," Evans responded when asked about Federer watching the match. "So it was probably more out of boredom rather than scouting out what's on the court."
Evans went on to describe Federer as a hard worker, whose level in practice is higher than that of most other players.
"It's been normal. Two blokes having a practice," the Brit added. "It's obvious to say he works hard. Some days we practised three hours, other days an hour and a half, it's been like most tennis players really. Obviously the level is a lot higher than most."
Dan Evans also revealed that he and Roger Federer had managed to strike a good balance between serious practice and lighted-hearted banter during their training sessions.
"We've had good banter on the court," the 30-year-old said. "We've had two weeks on the court so you need to be able to chat a bit. It just works. We had some good fun, and got some good work done."
Always good to play someone as good as him and see where my skills are: Dan Evans ahead of his clash against Roger Federer
Wednesday's second round clash will the fourth career meeting between Roger Federer and Dan Evans. All their prior meetings have come at the Grand Slams, with the Swiss leading the head-to-head 3-0.
But Evans asserted he was looking forward to another chance to test his skills against one of the game's best.
"It’s going to be a great atmosphere, great to come out and play Roger Federer," Evans added. "Always good to play someone as good as him and see where my skills are."