Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Olympic Games, Indian Wells: this year's tennis calendar is not lacking in red-ringed dates.

But August 8 and September 26 are majorly notable in that they will mark the 40th birthdays of Roger Federer and Serena Williams, respectively.

Federer's birthday falls on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, while Williams reaches the same landmark a fortnight after the US Open women's singles final.

Both have kept their future plans quiet, but it would come as no major surprise if one, or both, were to retire by the end of the year.

Fellow grand slam greats Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters may also be a matter of months away from bowing out of the professional ranks.

Will life after tennis begin at 40 for Williams and Federer, or could the superstar pair return to the French Open in 2022?

Stats Perform looked at the players who may be considering their futures, what they still want to achieve, and their prospects of attaining those remaining goals.
 

Federer's final fling?

Ahead of his 30th, Federer was asked what it felt like to hit such a milestone.

"Birthdays happen. They're part of life," Federer said. "I'm happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. To me it's a nice time."

A decade on, Federer may be similarly equanimous about hitting 40. Family life is good, he'll never need to borrow a dollar, and he has advanced from 16 grand slams to 20.

But the knees would sooner be 30 than 40, and Federer, remarkable sportsman though he is, is coming to the end of the line in his tennis career. It will hurt the Fedfans to think so, but all the evidence points to it. We are probably witnessing a lap of honour.

Having won Roland Garros only once at his peak, we can surely forget the prospect of any heroics in Paris. Federer needs to win a few rounds though, in order to be sharp and battle-hardened for the grass season. Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open are events where you might give a fit Federer a chance, even at such a veteran age, but he has played only three matches since the 2020 Australian Open, losing two of those.

Target: Federer has never settled for second best, so he will want to be a tournament winner again, no doubt about it. The hunger does not go away after 20 grand slams, but it can be more difficult to sate.

Prospects: Slim, but not forlorn. So much of Federer's game is about feel and ease of movement, and assuming that knee surgery last year means the body is in good shape again, he should be able to call on those staples of his game. Key missing ingredients are the confidence that comes with beating rivals, and match fitness. Federer's 1,243 wins and 103 singles titles count for an awful lot still, and there could be one final hurrah before the Swiss great signs off.


Serena still one short of Court

From precocious teenager to queen of the tour, Williams' tennis journey has been a 25-year odyssey and there is nobody more driven to succeed than the great American.

It must be an intense frustration that she remains rooted on 23 grand slams, one short of Margaret Court's record haul, and the four grand slam final losses she has suffered while on that mark have been cruel blows.

As her 40th birthday approaches, it would not be a surprise if Williams reached that target, but what once felt inevitable now only has the air of being a possibility. She is becoming less of a factor when looking at title favourites, but Williams is still capable of beating top players, still a threat wherever she shows up.

Target: The 24th slam remains the must-have for Williams. Tour titles feel like an irrelevance, and Williams has won just one of those since January 2017, her calendar built around peaking for the majors since returning from giving birth to daughter Olympia.

Prospects: Beating Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep at the Australian Open demonstrated Williams still has the game for the big stage, and a semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka, to whom she has now lost in three of four encounters, should not particularly detract from that. Williams is playing on clay primarily to get in great shape for grass, because Wimbledon, where she plays the surface with a command that others can only envy, is where that elusive 24th slam looks most likely to come.


Amid losing streak, tennis waits to learn what Venus infers

Some suspect that the Williams sisters, having arrived on tour together, might bow out at the same time too. Venus has won 49 WTA Tour-level titles but has recently slipped out of the top 100 for the first time since early 2012. Ahead of turning 41 in June, it is hard to see her being a reliable force again.

The seven-time slam winner will be needing wildcards for the grand slams unless the wins start to flow, and naturally she should have no trouble getting those backdoor tournament entries, but for a player of her stature, losing in the first round most weeks can offer little satisfaction.

It is 21 years since Venus' greatest tennis summer, when she won the Wimbledon, Stanford, San Diego, New Haven, US Open and Olympics singles titles, along with doubles glory alongside Serena at the Olympics and Wimbledon.

Nevertheless, she said at the Australian Open in February: "I'm trying to get better every day. I think that no matter what happens to you in life, you always hold your head up high, you give a hundred million percent. That's what I do every single day. That's something that I can be proud of."

Target: Venus last won a singles slam in 2008, so forget that. A run to the second week of a slam is not entirely unimaginable, or she could stun a big name early on. Venus will want to wring every last drop from her career, but you suspect more than that, she would love to be there to watch her little sister win that 24th slam.

Prospects: Since a second-round exit to Elina Svitolina at the 2019 US Open, Venus has won only four matches at WTA level, and she is presently on a run of five consecutive defeats, which began with a 6-1 6-0 trouncing by Sara Errani at the last-64 stage of the Australian Open. Her last Wimbledon appearance resulted in a first-round loss to the then 15-year-old Coco Gauff two years ago, so even hopes of a resurgence at the event she has won five times appear somewhat remote.


We wish you a Murray summer

Once a grand slam nearly man, Murray banished that reputation with his US Open triumph and twin Wimbledon titles, not to mention the two Olympic gold medals, the Davis Cup victory, and the 14 Masters 1000 tournaments he won along the way, a big-time champion on every surface.

What a career, and it deserves a fitting ending. Murray is battling one injury after another and will miss the French Open, hoping his tired frame holds up to see him through Queen's Club, Wimbledon, the Olympic hat-trick bid and the US Open.

Target: He would probably say another slam is possible, if he can get healthy and stay that way. The 'if' there is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting though.

Prospects: Should Murray manage to stay injury-free, then it will be enthralling to see what he can achieve. However, since an unexpected title in Antwerp in October 2019, he has won just four matches on the ATP Tour and one in the Davis Cup. The resurfaced hip, the troublesome groin, the pains of being Andy Murray aged 34 are proving wearing on the Scot. If he is fit enough to feature at Wimbledon, it would be a joy to see him play even just one more great singles match on Centre Court. Admirers must hope Murray follows the pattern of his career by exceeding expectations, which are logically low.


Kim wildcard wonder?

If you missed the Clijsters comeback, it is hardly surprising, given she returned to the WTA tour after a near eight-year absence just weeks before the pandemic shut down tennis, and she has barely been seen since. The three-time US Open winner was dealt bum draws in her comeback year but gave Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta and Ekaterina Alexandrova enough to think about in the course of three first-round defeats.

Since losing behind closed doors in three sets to Alexandrova at the US Open, Clijsters has undergone knee surgery and had COVID-19, and she does not plan to play again until after Wimbledon.

Target: If Clijsters, who turns 38 in June, can build up form and fitness, then some kinder draws would be a fitting reward for persistence. She could have quietly called time on this comeback, but the former world number one is a fighter, and it would be fitting, perhaps, if her career were to end with a night session match in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Court at Flushing Meadows. The Belgian's intentions are not entirely clear, but that prospect must have crossed her mind.

Prospects: The New York wildcard would be assured if Clijsters can show she is in any sort of form, given her US Open history. Clijsters' immediate potential is entirely unclear, but she had the highest game-winning percentage (66.7 per cent) of any woman in World Team Tennis last year, and Jessica Pegula, Sofia Kenin and Jennifer Brady were all part of that competition. Bring that game to a major and we're talking.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet at the semi-final stage of the French Open, while Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty are in the same half of the draw.

Nadal will start his quest to win the Paris grand slam a staggering 14th time with a first-round encounter against Australian Alexei Popyrin next week.

Defending champion Nadal, the third seed, is in the same half of the draw as fellow all-time greats Djokovic and Federer, who could face the Serbian world number one in the last eight.

Top seed Djokovic, who is two major titles shy of the record of 20 held by Federer and Nadal, will take on Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

Swiss great Federer will come up against a qualifier in round one at Roland Garros, while two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem is up against Pablo Andujar.

Pole Swiatek claimed her maiden grand slam title at the French Open last year and takes on her close friend Kaja Juvan in the first round.

World number one Barty, who did not travel to Paris to defend her title in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, has will make her return at the clay-court major against Bernarda Pera.

Serena Williams comes up against Irina-Camelia Begu, while last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin must do battle with the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in a standout first-round match.

Carla Suarez Navarro can expect plenty of support when she takes on Sloane Stephens in her first tournament since successfully completing cancer treatment.

Roger Federer's extra work on the practice courts could not see him past Pablo Andujar as he lost at the Geneva Open in just his third match of the year.

ATP Tour great Federer did not feature after the Australian Open in 2020, instead recovering from knee surgery.

His comeback came in Doha in March, but defeat to Dan Evans after an opening victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili prompted the 20-time grand slam champion to withdraw from subsequent tournaments.

Federer instead refocused on practice yet was still cautious to forecast a return to his best standard ahead of playing this week's event in Switzerland.

"There are question marks around my level," he explained, and Tuesday's answers were underwhelming in front of a small home crowd.

Federer went down 6-4 4-6 6-4 to Andujar, despite leading by a break in the decider.

Andujar reeled off the final four games of the match to claim his first top-10 win since 2015 against David Ferrer in Barcelona.

For Federer, this was a rare failure on Swiss soil, a 32-match winning run ended by Andujar.

Juan Martin del Potro, way back in 2013 at the Swiss Indoors Basel, had been the most recent victor against Federer in his home country.

Andujar could now face Dominic Stephan Stricker in the last eight after the 18-year-old wildcard stunned Marin Cilic on his ATP Tour debut.

A 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory for Federer's young countryman set up a meeting with Marton Fucsovics, who beat qualifier Henri Laaksonen in straight sets, for the right to play Andujar.

Besides Federer, Fabio Fognini was the only seed involved on Tuesday but eased past Guido Pella 6-2 6-2.

Elsewhere, at the Lyon Open, French stars continued to fall, although fifth seed Gael Monfils at least came past lucky loser Thiago Seyboth Wild.

After all four Frenchman involved on Monday lost, Richard Gasquet was the only other home hopeful to advance 24 hours later – and he was playing compatriot Gregoire Barrere.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell at the hand of Tommy Paul, while wildcard Benjamin Bonzi went down to Karen Khachanov.

There was an upset, meanwhile, as seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was toppled in three sets by Lorenzo Musetti.

It proved to be a tough day for home players at the Lyon Open as Roger Federer found out who he will face first in the main draw in Geneva.

All four Frenchmen in action on Monday were knocked out in Lyon, including 2018 finalist Gilles Simon.

Aljaz Bedene knocked out the world number 68 in straight sets, two breaks of serve in each enough to secure a 6-2 6-3 triumph after one hour and 13 minutes on court.

Sebastian Korda overcame both Pierre-Hugues Herbert and the rain to progress to the second round, a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 triumph wrapped up quickly following a delay.

Having been 5-4 ahead in the second set when play was halted, Korda clinched victory on his first match point upon the resumption, in the process snapping a run of four successive defeats on the ATP Tour.

Cameron Norrie will take on top seed Dominic Thiem next after his 7-5 6-3 win against Corentin Moutet, while Ugo Humbert let slip a one-set lead as he was beaten by Yoshihito Nishioka.

Meanwhile, at the Geneva Open, there was a maiden victory for French teenager Arthur Cazaux as he came out on top against compatriot Adrian Mannarino.

The 18-year-old held his nerve in a decider despite this being his first tour-level contest; Reilly Opelka or Pablo Cuevas will be next up in the event.

As for Federer, he will begin his campaign on Tuesday, the 39-year-old having played just two matches so far this year after undergoing two knee operations in 2020.

The Swiss superstar now knows he will be up against Pablo Andujar, who overcame Australia's Jordan Thompson in straight sets.

Tennys Sandgren saw off Salvatore Caruso 6-3 6-4, while Dominik Koepfer came through a tight tussle with Benoit Paire that spanned two hours and 39 minutes.

Serena Williams described Roger Federer as "a synopsis of greatness", but the 20-time grand slam champion urged caution ahead of his latest ATP Tour return.

Knee surgery kept Federer out of action for more than a year following the 2020 Australian Open, with the Swiss finally returning to the court in a competitive match in March.

A swift exit in Doha, in just his second match, prompted Federer to return to practice, not playing again until this week's Geneva Open.

His comeback will capture the attention of a fellow tennis legend, as Williams, herself ramping up French Open preparations in Parma, discussed her love for the ATP icon after a win on Monday.

"He's just a synopsis of greatness and class and amazing and really changed the game," Williams said.

"You see players playing like him, moving like him, doing his techniques. The guy is genius.

"I just feel like he is really the greatest player. Just look at him. You can't not like the guy, that's how I feel.

"His game is so fantastic. If I could only play like him!"

Federer is not entirely sure his game will be "so fantastic" when he steps out on the court against Pablo Andujar, though.

The lack of match practice means Federer has modest targets, rather than thinking about challenging great rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

"I need to do my thing, I need to play 10 matches to give you a better answer [on my level]," he said.

"Of course there are question marks around my level right now. We will find out a little bit more tomorrow [Tuesday].

"In practice, things have been going well, so I'm happy there, and when you come back from an injury, you are in a different place to everybody else.

"The players are there, I'm here at the moment.

"I'm excited about the comeback; that's what my focus needs to be on and not trying to be the same level as Rafa and Novak right now."

And Federer suggested he might have to be even better than before to again be competitive.

"The generation of [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Alexander] Zverev, [Andrey] Rublev and [Daniil] Medvedev have all again gotten better naturally, because they have more experience," the 39-year-old said.

"Dominic [Thiem] won a slam in the meantime, Rafa and Novak are still where they are.

"So, you would think that the game has improved again. For me, that's going to be an extra challenge, extra hard to find that level.

"But one I knew from the get-go that would never be simple, regardless if I was going to be out for three months or now almost a year and a half."

Roger Federer has called on Olympics chiefs to end all uncertainty and make a final ruling on whether Tokyo 2020 can go ahead.

The Swiss great, a winner of 20 grand slam titles, had hoped to make a farewell Olympic Games appearance last year, only for the pandemic to mean the event was postponed for 12 months.

Both the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee have not swayed from their stance that the Games will go ahead despite a strong swell of public support for a cancellation.

With Japan struggling to contain the COVID-19 virus, however, and Tokyo still in a formal state of emergency, there remain major doubts over whether it is realistic for thousands of international visitors to come to the country in July and August.

Federer has heard the confident voices, but he also is aware that many residents of Tokyo are against the Games happening this year.

"Honestly I don't know what to think. I'm a bit between the two," Federer told Swiss television station Leman Bleu.

"I would love to play in the Olympics, win a medal for Switzerland. It would make me especially proud. But if it doesn't happen because of the situation, I would be the first to understand.

"I think what the athletes need is a decision: is it going to happen or is it not going to happen?

"At the moment, we have the impression that it will happen. We know it's a fluid situation. And you can also decide as an athlete if you want to go. If you feel there's a lot of resistance, maybe it's better not to go. I don't know."

Federer, who is returning from a long knee injury lay-off, has played at four previous Olympics, winning doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008 and silver in singles at London 2012, where Andy Murray denied him in the final at Wimbledon.

He is set to play his second comeback tournament next week at the Geneva Open, building up to a French Open appearance, with Wimbledon on the horizon.

He and wife Mirka and their family are likely to be spending several weeks apart as Federer co-operates, where required, with tournament bubbles, limiting the size of player entourages.

"It's going to test a little the situation at home," Federer said. "I've spoken about it a lot with Mirka. Now it's the comeback which is the priority."

Roger Federer has confirmed he will grace the clay courts at the French Open and Geneva Open.

The 20-time grand slam champion made his comeback at the Qatar Open last month after a long absence following knee surgery.

Federer was beaten by Nikoloz Basilashvili at the quarter-final stage in Doha before opting against playing in Dubai and Miami.

The 39-year-old Swiss on Sunday announced he will feature on home soil in a Geneva Open event that gets under way on May 16.

World number seven Federer will also be in the draw for the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros, where he reached the semi-final two years ago in his first appearance at the Paris major since 2015.

He tweeted: "Hi everyone! Happy to let you know that I will play Geneva and Paris.

"Until then, I will use the time to train. Can't wait to play in Switzerland again."

Rafael Nadal will be a strong favourite to surpass Federer's tally of grand slam titles in Paris, where he has won the French Open a record 13 times.

World number one Novak Djokovic has joined Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in deciding not to play at the Miami Open, which begins next week.

The Masters 1000 tournament has not been its usual big draw for the leading men this year, and Djokovic becomes the latest high-profile withdrawal.

The 33-year-old Serbian announced he would enjoy some family time rather than travel to the United States, citing the need for balance in his life as coronavirus restrictions affect globe-trotting sports stars.

Miami's total prize fund is said to have been cut from $16.7million in 2019, the last time it was held, to $6.68m this year.

That drastic reduction, reported by the Tennis Majors website, may or may not have been a partial factor in the withdrawals that have dented the top-tier quality in the men's side of the tournament.

The women's event looks like being a full-strength field, while new world number two Daniil Medvedev is set to be the men's top seed, providing he makes the trip.

Djokovic wrote on Twitter: "Dear fans, I'm very sorry to announce that this year I won't travel to Miami to compete.

"I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family. With all restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home. I look forward to coming back next year!"

Nadal has been bothered by a back problem and cited it earlier this week as the reason for his withdrawal, as he looks to recover full fitness in time for the clay-court season and a crack at winning a 14th French Open title.

The Spaniard's great rival Federer, a fellow 20-time grand slam winner, has only just returned from a year away from the tour after knee surgery, and beat Dan Evans in his first match back at the Qatar Open before losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Federer then elected not to play in Dubai and will not be in Miami, where he is the men's reigning champion, having taken the 2019 title. The 2020 tournament was cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Roger Federer was "really happy" with how he performed on his return to the ATP Tour but will not play the Dubai Tennis Championships.

After 14 months out following knee surgery, Federer was back in action at the Qatar Open on Wednesday, defeating friend and practice partner Dan Evans in three sets in the last 16.

But Nikoloz Basilashvili, Federer's next opponent, proved a step too far in the quarter-finals on Thursday as the 39-year-old Swiss superstar went down 3-6 6-1 7-5.

Federer breezed through the opener and recovered from a tough second set to forge a match point in the decider, but Basilashvili stuck with his "idol" and earned a first career win against the 20-time grand slam champion.

The result would not put a dampener on Federer's week, however.

"I'm already over it," Federer said. "I mean I would have loved to play tomorrow - don't get me wrong, you know - but at the same time I'm also happy to get a rest.

"I'm happy how I played today. I'm happy how I did yesterday. I'm happy I was back on the Tour. I'm pleased I came here to Doha.

"So it's a really, really positive return for me.

"I'm actually happy that I was able to play back-to-back three-set matches against top players. That's an important step forward for me. This is a stepping stone."

But Federer announced later on Thursday he had made the decision to return to training, putting on hold plans for a second tournament of the season.

He had been set to join a number of other big names in Dubai, although Spanish great Rafael Nadal has rejected a wildcard.

Federer wrote on his social media pages: "It's been great to be back on the @atptour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again. A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here.

"I've decided it's best to go back to training and as a result, I've decided to withdraw from Dubai next week."

Federer is an eight-time Dubai champion, most recently in 2019 when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Roger Federer's return to the ATP Tour lasted just two matches at the Qatar Open as he was beaten in the last eight by the brilliant Nikoloz Basilashvili.

A "tired" Roger Federer was "incredibly happy" to mark his long-awaited return with a battling victory over Dan Evans in the second round of the Qatar Open.

Swiss legend Federer had been out of action for 14 months after undergoing knee surgery, but he was back in business with a 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-5 win over Briton Evans.

The 20-time grand slam champion had spent a lot of time practicing with Evans in recent weeks before making his comeback and they spent another two hours and 24 minutes on court in a tight tussle on Wednesday.

Federer was delighted to be back after such a lengthy absence and the 39-year-old's next test will come against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals in Doha.

He said: "I was tired, I was more focused on being tired than winning the points. If I was going to go out, I was going to go out swinging. Dan had more energy left at the end but I was serving well and I thought I played a really good match. I'm incredibly happy about my performance.

"It was a pleasure to share the court with Dan and always nice to finish off with a backhand down the line on match point. The important think is how I feel tomorrow and the next day and so forth for the next six months.

"It's been a long and tough road for me. I enjoyed it though, it's been a huge challenge in my tennis career."

Top seed Dominic Thiem earlier needed three sets to defeat wildcard Aslan Karatsev 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2, while the in-form Andrey Rublev was given a walkover after Richard Gasquet withdrew due to a leg injury.

Denis Shapovalov beat Vasek Pospisil in an all-Canadian encounter, while Roberto Bautista Agut was among the other winners.

Karen Khachanov reached the quarter-finals of the Open 13 Provence with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Mackenzie McDonald, while Jannik Sinner ousted Hugo Gaston in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie, Matthew Ebden and Egor Gerasimov were also victorious in Marseille.

Roger Federer displayed flashes of his sparkling best as the returned to action with superb 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-5 victory over Dan Evans at the Qatar Open

The 39-year-old was playing his first competitive match in 14 months, having undergone knee surgery since his last appearance at the 2020 Australian Open.

Evans and Federer have practiced together over recent weeks and combined to produce a high-quality affair in Doha, with the veteran showing phenomenal staying power after so long away to book a quarter-final meeting with Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The only break point of the opening set came in the ninth game, with Federer holding and coming through two deuces.

World number 28 Evans boomed down a pair of aces and held to love after that minor setback and reeled off four consecutive points to lead 4-2 in the breaker.

Federer saved one set point and converted his third with a wonderful backhand passing shot.

A battle that eventually lasted two hours and 26 minutes appeared unlikely as Federer sought to press home his superiority, Evans coming into the net to repel a break point in the opening game of set two.

But the Briton was the first man to make a dent on the other's serve, with Federer unusually ragged as he pulled a forehand then a backhand wide from deuce to go 1-3 behind.

The Swiss could not capitalise on a break-back point in the next game and, having been taken to deuce in all previous games in the set, Evans produced back-to-back aces and held to love to square the match.

Federer's first-serve percentage fell from an imperious 83 to 58 between sets one and two and he looked tired when slipping to 0-30 at 2-2 in the decider before recovering to hold.

Evans, who also went the distance against Jeremy Chardy on Sunday, was similarly robust under pressure – a serve-volley and his formidable backhand slice seeing him through a match-point game at 4-5 – but he could not keep the insatiable Federer at bay as a majestic backhand down the line settled the argument.

Dan Evans is putting friendship aside after earning a blockbuster showdown against returning superstar Roger Federer at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

But the 39-year-old Swiss great will make his long-awaited comeback against Evans in Doha on Wednesday.

Evans – who has been practicing with Federer – outlasted Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4 1-6 6-2 in the round of 32 at the ATP 250 tournament.

"We obviously practised for [the] past two weeks [in Dubai], and I thought he was playing pretty well," Evans said. "We played plenty of sets. It was competitive. But it's all very different when you get on the match court.

"It will be a lot different tomorrow. It's going to be at night, as well, so a little slower. So we'll see how the match goes."

Second seed Federer – a record three-time Qatar Open champion – watched from the stands on Tuesday and Evans added: "He obviously has seen a lot of my game the past few weeks, so I guess I would say it was more out of boredom.

"He's probably [was] waiting for his practice [more] than scouting out what's happening on the court. Let's put it down to that."

Elsewhere, sixth seed David Goffin topped Filip Krajinovic 6-4 6-4 en route to the last 16 but three-time slam champion Stan Wawrinka was stunned 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 by qualifier Lloyd Harris.

Marton Fucsovics, Vasek Pospisil and Malek Jaziri also advanced through to the next round.

At the Open 13 Province, three-time champion and French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his first ATP Tour victory since 2019.

Tsonga – hampered by injuries, including left knee surgery –rallied from the brink to see off Feliciano Lopez 3-6 6-4 7-5 in Marseille on Tuesday.

"This is probably one of the best victories of my career, because it was tough for me to play tennis. I had so much pain for so many months," Tsonga said in an on-court interview. "Today, I won one match. That was one of my goals for these few weeks… I’m happy like a kid."

Next up is fourth-seeded countryman Ugo Humbert, who upstaged sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, Federico Coria and Federico Delbonis were among the victors at the Chile Open.

Dominic Thiem is relishing Roger Federer's return to action, with the duo taking part in this week's Qatar Open.

Federer has spent the last 13 months out, having elected to take 2020 off – following last year's Australian Open – to undergo two knee operations.

The 40-year-old will compete in Doha this week, returning to play in an event where he has enjoyed plenty of success down the years, winning the tournament three times.

Last year's US Open champion Thiem, who has moved above Federer in the world rankings during the Swiss' absence, will also be in action in Qatar, and is thrilled to see the 20-time grand slam winner make his comeback.

"We are rivals, and of course we want to beat each other in the tournament, [but] I still really love to watch him play tennis," said top seed Thiem, who was speaking to Laureus Sport after his nomination for Breakthrough of the Year.

"[He] looks so nice, the way he plays, the way he approaches the game of tennis.

"On the one hand, I'm also a big fan of his still, and that's why I really love that he's back and that I can watch him again. That's what pretty much everybody is thinking, and I hope that he's coming back strong, as well."

Federer and Thiem have met seven times, with the Austrian holding the advantage, with five wins to his name against the former world number one.

Thiem, a semi-finalist in Doha in 2018, has not played since he lost to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open in mid-February, and the world number four is hoping to make a fast start when he takes on Aslan Karatsev in round two.

"The [Doha] draw is unbelievably strong, so [you] never know what's [going to] happen, but I just try to have a good start and to be there on a good level from the very first point," said Thiem.

"It's going to be my first tournament and [my] first match [in almost] a month, since [a] pretty devastating loss at the Australian Open.

"I needed some time to digest everything, to analyse everything [and] to settle down a little bit. Now it's time to focus on new things. The tournament in Doha is the first chance to play better again, to get good results, to get confidence and to forget a pretty tough start of the season."

Former world number one Roger Federer said he has no real expectations for his comeback event at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar opted not to travel to Melbourne for this year's Australian Open, but he is set to make his comeback in Doha.

Federer, who holds the record for most Qatar Open titles with three – will start his campaign against either Jeremy Chardy or Daniel Evans at the ATP 250 tournament.

"It's been a long year in some ways, especially rehabbing, being on crutches once and then for a second time, and finally I'm back on a tennis court again, working out, playing sets, playing points," Federer said.

"It's a true pleasure, it's a privilege actually after all this time. I didn't expect it to go as long as it did, we are where we are, I'm so excited to be back on a match court, you know, in a few days here.

"I'm really curious to find out how it's going to go, obviously there's an amazing amount of questions marks surrounding my comeback for me personally.

"I don't know what to expect, I know that expectations from myself are extremely low, and I'm just very happy that I'm playing a tournament again, regardless of the outcome of this event."

On whether he had doubts over returning, Federer added: "You always do have doubts, you know, when you have surgery, there are always days when you feel better and worse. But I think overall I am a very positive person, I have a great team around myself, my family, I am also very distracted, and you know, the idea was to be fully fit again, one day. For life or for tennis.

"So equally important to me, actually life is a little bit more important to me, I wanna go skiing and play basketball, I wanna go playing ice hockey, play tennis in the future, with my children or exhibition matches, you name it, so it's definitely worth it to go through all that pain you know. But the goal was, this is not I'm going to go out, I'm not happy with my knee, we're going to fix it, and then I'm going to come back.

"For me there was no other story to it, and rehab wasn't as hard as maybe people make it seem, even though people around me are very impressed how I go about it, but for me it's only but normal to be really, really professional about it."

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