Roger Federer has pulled out of the upcoming ATP 500 event in Dubai after the former world number one lost in the Qatar Open quarter-finals on Thursday, his first tournament in more than a year.
The 39-year-old Swiss, who returned to action after two knee operations last year, beat Briton Dan Evans in three sets in his comeback match in Doha but lost 3-6 6-1 7-5 to Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round.
It’s been great to be back on the @atptour , loved every minute playing in Doha once again. 🙌🏼
A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. 🙏🏼
I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week. 🏋🏽 pic.twitter.com/zp65Jt832n
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 11, 2021
“It’s been great to be back on the @atptour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again,” 20-times Grand Slam winner Federer said on social media.
“I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week.”
Federer claimed a 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-5 victory in his return match on Wednesday against Daniel Evans.
On Thursday, Federer was attempting to reach his seventh Doha semi-final. The second seed was making his first tournament appearance since the 2020 Australian Open this week.
“I’m happy [with] how I played today. I’m happy [with] how I did yesterday,” said Federer. “I’m happy I [am] back on the Tour. I’m pleased I came here to Doha. So it’s really, really a positive return for me. I’m really happy.”
For the second straight match, Federer was forced to save break points at 3-3 in the decider. It almost proved to be the crucial moment, but Basilashvili held his nerve at 4-5, 30/40 to save match point with a strong forehand approach shot.
The 29-year-old then played with all-out aggression on his backhand to turn the match decisively in his favour. Basilashvili took the shot up the line on multiple occasions to break serve and ripped the stroke cross-court to convert his third match point.