The return of tennis living legend Roger Federer to competitive play after his 405-day absence was short-lived.
On Thursday, the 39-year-old with 20 Grand Slam titles on his résumé fell to Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 1-6, 5-7 at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. While Federer looked like the player of old throughout the first set, he seemed to lose pace as the match continued despite putting up a valiant fight in the third and deciding set.
"I'm happy [with] how I played today. I'm happy [with] how I did yesterday," Federer said in his post-match interview, per the official ATP website. "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."
Federer defeated Dan Evans 7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 7-5 on Wednesday in his first meaningful contest in roughly 14 months since he participated in the 2020 Australian Open. The all-time great underwent multiple knee prucedures last year and missed February's Grand Slam at Melbourne Park that was won by Novak Djokovic, who is now two major titles away from tying Federer and Rafael Nadal for the men's record.