"For me, tennis is like riding a bike." So said Roger Federer at the weekend, and his first match back found him in fine, freewheeling form. We saw hints of fatigue, but there was also plenty of his old, sumptuous shotmaking on show as he overcame Dan Evans in three sets: 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. N obody had been quite sure what to expect of Federer's first match since the 2020 Australian Open, 405 days ago. He has undergone two keyhole operations on his right knee since then, and celebrated his 39th birthday. Could he really come out and move with his old panther-like grace? The answer, for the most part, was yes. We might have seen a couple of uncharacteristic flubs – which Federer actually seemed to find funny. But there were many more moments of genius, including one backhand winner – whipped up and over the net from the shortest and most awkward of distances – which no-one else would have had the audacity or hand skills to pull off. On a blustery evening in the desert city of Doha, Federer began by asking the officials to remind him of the rules. How long was the warm-up? What was… Read full this story
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