‘I was down’: Roger Federer had hard time before 2nd knee surgery

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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DOHA, Qatar — Roger Federer never seriously contemplated retirement while he was away from the tennis tour for more than a year. He did have a hard time dealing with the need for a repeat operation on his bad right knee, though.

“I was down. Obviously I couldn’t believe I had to do a second one,” Federer said ahead of his appearance at the Qatar Open. “This is definitely a moment where you maybe question a little bit more.”

The 39-year-old Federer’s first match since the 2020 Australian Open will come Wednesday in Doha against Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy.

Federer’s first procedure on his right knee occurred in February 2020. That knee kept swelling up after bike rides or walks with his four children; he announced in June that he had had a second surgery.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will monitor how this comeback goes over the next several months and then assess things.

“I know it’s more on the rare side for almost a 40-year-old to come back after almost a year being out. And I was surprised how long it took. But I took a decision quite early with the team that I wanted to take the time, no rush, to get back onto the tour,” he said. “Important is that I’m injury-free, pain-free, and I can actually enjoy myself out there on tour. So we’ll see how it goes now. I’m curious myself to find out.”

What seemed clear from Federer’s session with reporters on Sunday: Wimbledon is what matters the most to him at this point.

He has won a men’s-record eight titles at the All England Club and came oh-so-close to a ninth in the 2019 final there, holding two championship points before eventually losing to Novak Djokovic in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Wimbledon was canceled last year for the first time since 1945 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is scheduled to be played June 28 to July 11.

“I know I need to go back to training after here again,” said Federer, who pulled out of the Miami Open later this month. “So from this standpoint, it’s still a building up to being stronger, better, fitter, faster and all that stuff. I hope, then, by Wimbledon, I’m going to be 100%, and from then on, then the season really starts for me. Everything until then, it’s just `Let’s see how it goes.”‘

He is curious what travel and tournament life will be like during a pandemic – “bubble life, quarantines all around, the whole mask situation” – and, most of all, how his repaired knee handles competition.

“That’s really the only concern I have: Is the knee going to hold up? As of now, I’m not sure,” Federer said. “I did everything I possibly could.”

Nishioka beats Shapovalov to win Korean Open

2022 US Open - Day 1
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SEOUL, South Korea – Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka claimed his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open.

The 27-year-old Japanese, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, was impressive in defense and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.

The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.

The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 – where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.

The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year license to stage the Korean Open.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.