The Swiss maestro, who last played a competitive match at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships (losing to Milos Raonic in the semi-final) is ready to make a comeback after a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Federer will play for India Aces next month on December 9-11 in Hyderabad, India – one of three countries hosting the third edition of the event alongside Japan and Singapore.
And with the Fed set to please his army of fans by doing what he does best again, Sport360 pinpoints three key reasons why the 35-year-old made the right decision to play in the IPTL again following his stint with the UAE Royals last year.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who revealed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he is back to full fitness, had originally planned to make his return at the Hopman Cup in Perth in early 2017.
But, by playing the exhibition-style event in India in December, the Swiss can build-up valuable match time on the court and get the feel of being out there in the thick of it again.
Although he has been training hard in Geneva and Dubai recently, a few sets here and there at good intensity away from a practice court will benefit Federer and give him a chance to test how he is physically before heading down under.
NO MURRAY OR DJOKOVIC
The fact that none of Federer’s close rivals are playing in India bodes well. Although the IPTL is a team-based competition and it is more of a tune-up for players rather than a total focus on results, the fact the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic won’t be there is good for the Swiss.
A defeat to one of the above or other close rivals, even just over the course of a set given the IPTL’s format, would give the Swiss’s counterparts an early indication into his level of play – and potentially an early mental advantage.
Federer would probably prefer to ease his way back and keep his cards close to his chest.
The veteran was recently voted as the ATP World Tour’s fans’ favourite for the 14th straight year and he will receive a great reception in India.
The adulation and joy of people who still want to see him in action should send a shudder down Federer’s spine – and is undoubtedly a key reason why he still wants to play on for years to come.
The IPTL is a nice opportunity for him to get that buzz back and hit the ground running for the new season.
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