Thiem: 'I Still Really Love To Watch Federer Play Tennis'
Austrian is playing in his first tournament since the Australian Open
“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 Thiem, who is the top seed in Doha. “[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.”
The Austrian headlines the ATP 250 field in Doha. Federer, who is competing for the first time in more than 13 months after two right knee surgeries, and last week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion Andrey Rublev also feature.
“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, the 2018 Doha semi-finalist.
“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.”