Roger Federer admits ‘concerns’ when namedropping Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

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Roger Federer has admitted to ‘concerns’ over his game as he continues his comeback from a long injury lay-off. The 20-time Grand Slam champion knows he has plenty of ground to make up on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – but vowed he will return to the ‘top tier’ of tennis.

Federer continues his comeback from a long injury lay-off when he competes in the Geneva Open on Tuesday.

The former world number one returned to the courts in March after being sidelined for more than a year following two knee surgeries.

The 39-year-old returned to action in Doha, winning his first match in Qatar before losing his second as he competed for the first time since losing the Australian Open semi-final to Djokovic in january last year.

And as he prepares to target the French Open, Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Federer knows his rivals have all gained momentum during his time on the treatment table.

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“I’m just concerned about where my game is at,” he told reporters, quoted by NDTV Sports.

“The guys on tour are all in a good rhythm. The level that everybody is producing in great. I want to achieve that as well again.”

Nadal matched Federer’s all-time leading feat of 20 Grand Slam titles when he won last year’s delayed French Open.

And the Spaniard beat Djokovic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to win their two-hour 49-minute final in Rome on Sunday.

But Federer insists he needs to focus on his own game rather than worrying about the level Nadal and Djokovic are at.

“I’m excited about the comeback, that’s what my focus needs to be on and not about trying to be at the same level as Rafa and Novak right now,” Federer said, adding: “I believe I will be part of the top tier.”

He admitted it would be even tougher to compete this year, having been impressed by the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem.

“One thing is for sure, I would expect that the generation of Tsitsipas, Zverev, Rublev, Medvedev have all again gotten better naturally because they have more experience,” he said.

“Dominic won a Slam in the meantime. Rafa, Novak are still where they are. You would think that the game has improved again.

“For me, that’s going to be an extra challenge, extra hard for me to find that level, but I guess I knew from the get-go it was never going to be simple, regardless of whether I was going to be out for three months or almost a year and a half.”

Federer, who is eighth in the world rankings, will face Spain’s Pablo Andujar in Geneva on Tuesday.

He said: “At the moment I am healthy and able to get matches again under my belt, getting used to being out on court, serving for hours and then recovering and doing the same thing again, that will all just increase my confidence.

“I feel really comfortable with Geneva, Paris, Halle, Wimbledon and I think it’s a good schedule for me to come back this way.”

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