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Roger Federer hit 12 aces in his quarter-final loss against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday in Doha.

Federer: 'It's A Really, Really Positive Return'

Swiss happy with first tournament since 2020 Australian Open

Roger Federer suffered the first loss of his comeback on Thursday evening in the quarter-finals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open against Nikoloz Basilashvili. But the 103-time tour-level champion is not going to struggle mentally to get over the loss.

“No, no, no. This one is super easy. I'm already over it,” Federer said. “I would have loved to play tomorrow, don’t get me wrong. 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 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.”

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Federer had a match point against the Georgian, but he was put under pressure to make a difficult backhand passing shot, which he missed. The Swiss played well despite his defeat. The World No. 6 was happy to get two three-setters under his belt in Doha.

“I come from so far away that 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 to me,” Federer said. “I'm actually happy how I felt today on court overall. I felt better against Dan [Evans], physically I would think naturally. But I think Basilashvili plays a totally different game to Dan.

“I think from that standpoint today it was a completely different game, and that's why I also probably struggled a little bit more.”

In his first match, Federer defeated Daniel Evans, who like the former World No. 1 plays with more spins and variety. Basilashvili is a power player who took the action to the Swiss.

“He pushed me much more into the forehand corner whereas against Dan was very much running around with his slice, keeping the ball low, and I think that was a challenge,” Federer said. “Overall, the body is actually fine. I'm happy. It could be much worse.

"There was always a little bit within me that thought, ‘How am I going to feel after a brutal first-round match?’ That's what I was thinking about going into the tournament, and, ‘How would I feel [in] the second round?’ I was always worried that maybe I couldn't play it for whatever reason. [But] I felt fine.”

Federer received a lot of messages this week from friends. Coming back aged 39 after more than 13 months off due to injury was a big occasion for the Swiss.

“I think a lot of my close friends and people around me were waiting for this return and that I finally did it and I was able to even win it. I think some people didn't expect that because they know what I went through,” Federer said. “It was like winning a big tournament. Messages would keep coming in. Whereas normally I don't respond, I responded to them all basically just because I felt like I was on such a high.

“I was really, really pleased and happy yesterday. It was really a great day for me again to be back on the Tour.”

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