Thiem Still Loves to Watch Federer Play

Published March 9th, 2021 - 03:01 GMT
 I still really love to watch Federer play, says Thiem (Photo: AFP)
I still really love to watch Federer play, says Thiem (Photo: AFP)

World No. 4 Dominic Thiem is looking forward to welcoming Roger Federer back to the ATP Tour this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

“We are rivals, and of course we want to beat each other in the tournament, (but) I still really love to watch him play tennis,” said Thiem, who is the top seed in Doha. “(He) looks so nice, the way he plays, the way he approaches the game of tennis.

“On the one hand, I’m also a big fan of his still, and that’s why I really love that he’s back and that I can watch him again. That’s what pretty much everybody is thinking, and I hope that he’s coming back strong, as well.”

The Austrian headlines the ATP 250 field in Doha. Federer, who is competing for the first time in more than 13 months after two right knee surgeries, and last week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion Andrey Rublev also feature.

Thiem is competing for the first time since a fourth-round exit to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open on 14 February. The 27-year-old will play Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in the Doha second round.

“The (Doha) draw is unbelievably strong, so (you) never know what’s (going to) happen, but I just try to have a good start and to be there on a good level from the very first point,” said Thiem, the 2018 Doha semi-finalist.

“It’s going to be my first tournament and (my) first match (in almost) a month, since (a) pretty devastating loss at the Australian Open… I needed some time to digest everything, to analyse everything (and) to settle down a little bit.

“Now it’s time to focus on new things. The tournament in Doha is the first chance to play better again, to get good results, to get confidence and to forget (a) pretty tough start of the season.”

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