Following several weeks off the tour, Roger Federer will return to professional competition when he takes part in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday afternoon. The Swiss No. 1 is scheduled to meet Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, whom he holds a remarkable 15-0 head to head record against.
World No. 2 Roger Federer has been away from the tour since his premature exit from the Australian Open in January. After starting off the year with an impressive showing in Brisbane, where he won the title following wins over Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, Federer was unable to maintain that momentum, and suffered a surprise loss to Andreas Seppi in the Aussie Open third round. It was his first career loss to the Italian, and put a damper on Federer’s strong start to the season.
After a couple of weeks of rest, Federer is prepared to return to Dubai and rebound from his rough fortnight in Melbourne.
“I feel good, I know well this the area, I know what to expect. I have had two weeks off, after the Australian Open, so, I feel myself fresh and ready to play. I really like the court, here I have played well, over the years. The tournament has a great atmosphere.”
After starting his year with back-to-back first round losses in Doha and the Aussie Open, Youzhny earned a pair of wins in Zagreb (Blaz Kavcic and Sergiy Stakhovsky) before losing to Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-final.
This marks the 17th time that these two competitors meet on the professional tour, and the first time since the Halle final in 2013. Considering that was Federer’s worst season in a decade, and that Youzhny was still unable to dent the armour, the Russian will certainly be hard pressed to defeat a motivated Federer.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets