Roger Federer played his first match for over a year Wednesday as the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion returned from injury to take on British number one Dan Evans at the Qatar Open in Doha.
Federer, who underwent two knee surgeries in 2020, won the toss and elected to serve first after joking with the umpire about the rules of the game.
He received a rapturous welcome from the 20 percent-capacity crowd at Doha’s Khalifa Tennis Complex, beaming back at the crowd.
The 39-year-old initially pulled ahead winning his service game which was tempered by Evans also winning his opening service game.
Federer hasn’t played a match since a semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January 2020 and acknowledged it was unusual for a player of his age to return after injury.
“I know it’s on the rare side for a 40-year-old to come back after a year out,” he said at a media briefing in the Qatari capital Doha Sunday.
“I feel there is still something — retirement was never really on the cards.”
While he was out of action, he saw Rafael Nadal equal his record Grand Slam title haul with a 13th Roland Garros triumph.
Djokovic, meanwhile, captured a ninth Australian Open last month to take his career Slam tally to 18.