ATP 250DohaRoger Federer

Qatar ExxonMobil Open Draw 2021

Roger Federer Faces Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy in his comeback match

The Qatar ExxonMobil Open Draw for 2021 has just taken place, and of course, the big story is Roger Federer’s return to the tour after a 12-month interlude.

The Swiss is playing in Doha for the 8th time, and with a strong field, he faces a tough task from the word go.

Either his Dubai practice partner Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy will be his opponent in the second round.

You can see his full list of prospective opponents below.

Federer’s Projected Opponents

federer doha
  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Jeremy Chardy / Dan Evans
  • Quarter-Final: Borna Coric
  • Semi-Final: Denis Shapovalov / David Goffin
  • Final: Dominic Thiem / Andrey Rublev

Full .PDF printable draw.

Thoughts on the Draw

federer draw doha 2021

Roger Federer landed in Doha yesterday evening after the short flight from Dubai, so he’s got a couple of days of practice before his tournament starts, thanks to receiving a bye in the first round.

For the second round, the Swiss will either face Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy.

Evans has been practising in Dubai with Federer for the last couple of weeks. While he’s never gotten close in three previous meetings, the Brit won his first ATP title in January (beating Chardy along the way) and is more than capable of hanging with the very best.

Chardy, who at one time looked like he might be a bogey player for Federer after pushing him to three sets in each of their first three meetings, hasn’t really looked in form for the last few years. Still, he made the quarter-finals in Rotterdam and has started 2021 with some better results.

Chardy leads the H2H with Evans 3-1, and it’s a coinflip for who comes through. My pick would be Chardy as I think he can outhit Evans, who will need to scramble well and his slice to be effective to come through.

The quarter-finals pit Federer against Borna Coric, a player who has given a fully match sharp Federer plenty of problems in previous meetings. The Croat is still playing in Rotterdam and is somewhat of a Djokovic clone, so that’d be a very tricky match if Roger can progress from Round 1.

Into the semi-finals and Denis Shapovalov and David Goffin are the two seeds in the other quarter. Goffin won the Open Sud de France last weekend to end a barren spell, but his section is tricky with Krajinovic, Fritz, and all potential stumbling blocks.

Shapovalov hasn’t played since Melbourne, but over three sets, his game style can catch fire, so he is probably the favourite to make the final.

On the other side of the draw, it looks likely to be a straight shootout between Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev for a spot in the final.

Although given Thiem had an injury at the Australian Open and Rublev is still playing in Rotterdam, there’s a chance for the likes of Wawrinka and former champion Bautista Agut to make hay should either of those two not be firing on all cylinders.

It will also be interesting to see if Aslan Karatsev can back up his Sunshine Slam exploits as he’s bagged a Wild Card, but my pick for the title is Dominic Thiem.

Anyway, this one is a good draw, because Federer is in the draw, and I’d be more than happy if he can win one match. Stylistically, seeing a Federer vs Evans match would be a great way to get back into the swing of things, but the main thing is competing pain-free and seeing what happens. Can he still waste breakpoints like before he was injured? We’re about to find out. ๐Ÿ˜

What do you guys think of the draw? Evans or Chardy, who do you prefer? Let me know in the comments.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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    1. I absolutely will be cheering for Roger. Iโ€™ve been watching him for so many years. I โค๏ธ him. He is such a great asset to the tennis world. Thank you for this story.

  1. After long time, finally…

    Agree with that sentiment any match wins are better to start with as long as he is playing injury free…

  2. Roger, you are loved and we have been waiting your return. Make us proud, you can do it. You can win again.

  3. Totally agree. I just need one match win and even if loses to Coric/Millman a close battle wld be good. That wld give him confidence as no one expects much.
    Tough having a bye but hoping Chardy is exhausted as he has played a lot of late, and heโ€™s still in Rotterdam dubs .
    If he plays Dan, his serve has to be working well as Dan will fancy his chances as more match fit. At least he wonโ€™t hit Fed off court….
    Millmanโ€™s name in the draw always unnerves me too….

    1. Ah didn’t know Chardy was still in the Doubles, might give a slight edge to Evans based on the fact he’s been in Dubai so a bit more used to conditions.

    2. What’s better -Millman or Coric? They will meet each other before one of them is allowed to play Fed ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Exciting, but completely blanc in win/lose-expecting department…we’ll see. It doesn’t matter… (oh yes of course it does). Just his playing matters -mostly!!!

  5. So neat to see how excited he is to play again. I think thatโ€™s what I want to hold onto for myself, is the excitement of seeing him play. (I expect that as soon as heโ€™s actually playing, Iโ€™ll want him to win though!) First round bye doesnโ€™t do him any favours here, but then Iโ€™m not fond of byes generally.

    Hi everybody!

      1. Exactly! And will he be wearing those white On shoes heโ€™s practised in, or Nike still?
        Shoes are sooooooo important. Canโ€™t think the On shoes are ready…

      2. ON for sure, but I think he has been wearing them since he restarted practice so should be fine. They probably modelled them on the Vapors anyway ๐Ÿ˜ but I’m not sure they’ll say that in the marketing.

      1. Don’t we know Fed’s face by heart, so we can enable imagination and “extract” the mask mentally from the face? And i guess Fed was wearing masks all over the Covid year but we haven’t seen it, because he didn’t play.
        I think, a bigger challenge for him may be the almost empty stadium – max. 20% allowed. But – 120% of those 20% will be his fans and this may be enough to create an atmosphere, no?

      2. It is more what the mask symbolises, it is a mark of oppression. Something that has no good scientific evidence behind it, yet it is mandated virtually worldwide.

        I would like people in positions like Fed to say to hell with this nonsense, but the PR fallout and cancel culture that exists is enough to put anyone who relies on their public image to make big cash off doing so.

      3. @Jonathan
        I think, Fed is rather taking caution and wears a mask without your feeling of oppression. Simply protection measure. I think, Fed and almost all of players wear the Swiss developed mask, which is partly killing the virus from both sides. And … actually we are in the oppression. Don’t you believe, the virus exists and is dangerous?
        Well, I’m personally not oppressed, because I spend 99% of my lifetime in my house (alone, with a dog, mice and other small creatures) and in my piece of the Earth, consisting of forest, meadow and garden, plus forests around, where I can only meet wild animals, so I have not much experience in wearing masks. But at least they don’t wear masks on court and there will be some crowd – Fed had luck to skip so many tournaments where there was zero crowd (currently there is none in Europe, where they play indoors. Maybe with clay season some crowds will be allowed.
        I understand your hatred just about Fed, but so many people have so ugly faces, that wearing mask is actually making the world less ugly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      4. Can you send me a link to this Swiss mask that kills the virus? ๐Ÿ˜ I thought he was wearing Airism ones from Uniqlo.

        People across the world are being oppressed for sure. Can’t get on a plane without a mask? Can’t open your business? Kids can’t go to school? You are lucky, a retiree living in a rural area. The restrictions on civil liberties will never really get to you but a large number of people, mainly the young, have had their lives messed up, perhaps permanently.

        The questions of do I believe the virus exists and is it dangerous are quite open questions. The short answers would be yes, it exists, however, it is never been isolated and while there are many papers that how the presence of the RNA amongst coronavirus particles, none of them shows that RNA comes from within those particles. There is a 250k euro reward for anyone who can isolate it. As of yet, nobody has stepped up.

        As for the dangerousness, yes, but only to very easily defined risk groups. Primarily the elderly with several other pre-existing conditions. Under 70? Virtually zero risk regardless of underlying health. Over 70 but healthy? Not much risk. Over 80 and other issues? Yes, dangerous.

        It is essentially a PCR pandemic on top of a mild respiratory virus. Why is this happening? We’ll find out eventually but it was certainly never about public health.

      5. It seems to me it’s *NOT* a mild respiratory virus, though it’s confusing since if you have a mild case, it can feel similar to one. It doesn’t seem to work in the same way, and if you don’t have a mild case, it can affect so many other bodily systems. There seem to be many who are talking about long-lasting after-effects that don’t happen with a mild respiratory virus. @DavidLat on Twitter is a young (30s? 40s?) guy who had it just under a year ago and was posting just the other day about how his running stamina is still not back to what it was.

        I remember seeing several interesting videos last year showing how effective masks are at cutting down the distance breath (including virus particles) travels. There was an interesting video a biology lab guy did where he coughed 6 feet away from normal petri culture dishes, & the dishes he coughed at without a mask grew culture, but the ones he coughed at while wearing a mask didn’t. Wearing a mask is just being a part of the solution. I seem to remember there were places in the Far East that knocked it down almost entirely through mask use – maybe Vietnam?

  6. Can he be BP wasterer again? Ah yes, of course Fed will make us suffer again! We’d rather be in pain watching him lose BPs than not see him at all, right?

    1. Ye, I hated watching Rotterdam. So dull with no fans.

      The Dutch are as screwed as the UK when it comes to ridiculous government policies. I am hoping for an uprising and then the 21st Century Nuremberg Trials to commence. I am just not sure who can lead the way, a lot rests on the Corona Auschuss. At least the USA has started saying to hell with this nonsense. But Europe is way behind, although I do think Austria’s government are looking very precarious. Kurz Muss Weg!

      It funny people still think this is about public health. It’s tricked so many people. Sad times.

    1. Yeah he’s been wearing them for a while, been careful only to have like 1mm of them showing in pics, and then On did that dazzle camouflage on his shoes for the latest practice in Dubai that some people thought were the actual design ๐Ÿ˜

  7. The first thing I noticed when watching him practice was his serve. He wasn’t getting the usual knee bend and the toss was low, the motion quicker.

    I hope he can win his opening match and then anything else would be gravy. He’s only going to get stronger the more he plays and continues to train. But even if he never reaches another tournament final it will be fun to see him back on court for his swan song in the next year or so.

  8. Roger will be prepared. No doubt. As to whether he gets “deep” is another variable. I expect he will be in very good prepared physical form. Match ready may be something else. Expecting rusty play for sure. We’ll see. My hope is he gains some good confidence and builds off of that. He certainly is NO stranger knowing these other guys game. He adapts quickly. That is why he has 20 majors for starters. Chumm jetze, Roger! We are ALL so happy you still play an d delight us watching such an eloquent style. The added bonus? He seems so genuinely nice!!!

    1. The main thing could be not what he actually is physically able to. Rusty game is common thing and is quickly over. The main problem would be, how deep in his brain is the memory of pain and limitation engraved. It is sometimes enough to forget it for a while and do some move you actually would not do consciously because of the “pain memory”. Once done, the memory gets deleted and you can swing freely.
      That’s what I heard from a physio at a Center for Olympic Sports near me, where I was rehabbing my knee injury (but without surgery) . I followed his hint to do such “risky” moves consciously. And it worked, my pain memory was deleted. Probably the same occurs with Fed.

  9. Enough with all the analyzing and projection. I’m just so happy to see him back! The tennis world hasn’t been the same without him. Good luck, Roger !!

    1. Congrats, you da man. Now go to Novax Djocovids forum, fan page etc, cause obviously you made a wrong turn on this site….

  10. @Joinathan
    Here’s the link to the Swiss mask. No clue, what Fed is wearing, but I see often on players (usually black) masks similar to Livinguard.

    1. That is an embarrassing product making stupid claims “kills the virus”. $30 for a mask hahaha.

      I assume players are being paid to wear it.

      I don’t mind people making cash off idiots, just a shame they’ve been aided and abetted by governments worldwide creating unnecessary levels of fear and recommending an NPI that has no scientific evidence behind it whatsoever.

      1. Luxurious lacebo ๐Ÿ™‚ And given the mask is SWISS and reusable – in my case for more than a year, it’s not more expensive than surgical masks or others. And I need to use it once in 2 weeks for 15 minutes.

  11. @Jonathan
    Re “retiree” status. I’m 72 but still professionally active. I live here since 20 years. My good luck is my profession (translator). The only thing I need is good Internet connection, meaning I can work from anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ In my profession people are active so long eyes and brain are OK. I have colleagues 80+ or even close to 90, all working. Similar to tennis ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m still playing (if some court nearby is open). Fed is still playing – well, he always find not only open court, but fitting weather and a tournament, with or without crowd – even with his knees he will be still able to play (probably no more for Slam titles) at 70+ if he likes ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, apologies for that wording if you found it offensive ๐Ÿ˜, Rather than a retiree I meant you have the resources/finances to not work in a big city or really by impacted by these restrictions. Which is typically exclusive to those of retirement age but of course not necessarily.

      Escaping to the rural areas means you are somewhat immune from any restrictions which is cool. Not many people have that luxury unfortunately, they have fallen victim to all the nonsense they are drilled with from a young age. Debt is the solution, mortgage this, loan this, follow this, do this degree, work here bla bla bla.

      1. Ah no! No offense at all. I’m following the “rule” telling “the youth comes with the age” ๐Ÿ™‚ To be retired is normal. When Fed retires, it will be normal (would have been 5 years ago too).
        The luxury allowing me (with some risk, because I have no pension, only private savings on bank account) to live like I do is a result of my profession (which was remote even before Internet) and my decision, including decision to start early with savings. And I still don’t know if I will not be still alive after having spent my last cent. Which is not a problem for me (assumed, I have lived long enough for my dog). We are designed to dye and I’m so close to the nature, I may cry, when I see a dead bird or another animal, but for sure Iwill not have the opportunity to see myself dead and cry because of that, hahaha …

      2. I would say having a pension is the actual risk, but most people don’t see it that way. The pension infrastructure has failed massively across Europe, no idea what the average pension pot in Poland is, but the UK pension system is garbage and produces huge shortfalls. You are better off going it alone.

  12. @Jonathan
    Of course the big difference is media and politics. They try to manage what is unmanageable. They do it because of “democracy” and upcoming elections and opposition wishing them so much cases it goes a.s.o. Media are reigning on this field. 2003, when SARS happened, I was here, in the forest and of course using Internet for every possible goal so I can avoid any contact with humans (but for different reasons) and I actually was NOT AWARE of any pandemic. This was not yet the world, where media&internet are everything, while authors are mostly not very skilled, but everybody is able to search with Google and then copy-paste ๐Ÿ™
    Yes, the times are really bad because of media.
    Why don’t they write so much about climate? It’s still the matter interesting the science and … some naughty girls ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Karatsev is MY headache, not YOUR’S ๐Ÿ˜‰
      If he is still pumped with hard stuff like he was in Melbourne, it can be tough for Domi, given it will be his first match after AO health issues and first time he meets Massรบ this season.
      I watched Agut vs. Opelka and there was some atmosphere do Fed will not meet cardboard fans (to be seen in Marseille) – they have bodies and faces of real persons, but are dead – not making any noise, even artificial. Completely empty stadium is a bit better ๐Ÿ˜‰ French taste these days???
      Because I don’t see Thiem playing tomorrow, both will start on Wednesday. because the final is on Saturday. My pick for Fed is Evans. Chardy will be too tired.

  13. That’s good reason for tennis blogs to exist even if there is no more tennis on Earth ๐Ÿ˜‰
    BTW – the thing with “renaissance people” does apply to every “knowledge” (not necessarily science), because the level of media today is less than zero.
    Still hoping somehow for Fed-Domi final ๐Ÿ™‚ If Domi can survive Karatsev>Agut>Rublev. Would need to be at his best, what I fear he will be not. Maybe both finishing in SF.

  14. Did Thiem ever reveal what the physical issue was in Melbourne? I don’t really follow Austrian press to know if he is more open with them….

  15. No, but Thiem was uncharacteristically silent on all channels during off-season prep (I guess, there was no prep at all). The same after coming back tio Austria from Australia just until day of taking the flight to Doha.

    What I know from Austrian media, there was a finish of a long conflict after the split with Bresnik. And it was badly about money. This was probably big mental load and the result was no off-season preparation.
    I don’t think it was really something physical. If he can play 2 sets with broken angle , he can for sure play a match with a blister or something. I bet it was mental because of the thing with Bresnik. Additionally Massรบ was blocked in Chile with Covid.
    Because he has probably not hit the court between Australia and Doha, he will be rusty like a hell, but at least the Bresnik conflict is over. If he is again fresh and motivated (even if still not prepared well), I will recognize it in first 3 games vs. Karatsev.. Slow start or early broke is nothing new but if he is motivated and not seriously ill, he will survive (or better)

    1. Jep, it would be Malek Jaziri or Nikoloz Basilashvili.
      But our man has to win against D.Evans first.
      Funny, these two guys (Fed & Evans) have spent so much time on the court together lately.Could be good for Fed, he has an exact idea what to expect…

  16. So, Dan Evans, it is. I thought Chardy might come through but when Susie said he was still in the doubles in Rotterdam on Saturday then that swung it in Evans favour.

    Should be an interesting match. I know Evans won one of their practice matches last week, but no idea who came out on top overall in the ~20 sets.

    A good chance for Evans to get on the board in the H2H though, he was second-best in the three meetings prior, but he’s at an all-time high ranking and it only takes the gap to close slightly for the tables to turn.

    But he’s facing Fed in his comeback match so knows all the eyes are on that match which brings some added pressure. He almost is expected to win given Fed hasn’t played in a year but is still the betting underdog on the exchanges.

    I think it will be a three-setter. Your predictions?

    1. Mental side will decide = Fed in straights.Fed has no opponents really until Shapovalov in SF. Will Evans be keen to spoil the party of his mentor?

  17. I predict quite a tight three setter. I think it could go either way really. Fed has had no tour level matches since early last year, but on the flip side, he sure knows how to win matches.
    Should be a good watch. Will be great to have him back on the court again.

  18. Forget the score line. Are you ready for Fed Magic??
    A high quality match from Dan. Fed is slower. But those hands. They won in the end. They would even if he had lost.
    Everyone else plays tennis, he does something else. If this is not ‘religious experience’ what is?
    Keeping in mind; he might lose tomorrow or the day after…

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