Roger Federer withdraws from second comeback tournament in Dubai after Doha defeat

Federer has cancelled his next scheduled appearance (Picture: Getty)

Roger Federer has cancelled the second stage of his comeback tour after deciding to prioritise training rather than match play.

Federer picked up a win in Doha over British No. 1 Dan Evans before suffering a narrow defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday, having taken more than a year off and undergone two rounds of knee surgery.

He was scheduled to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next week but admitted he would be reviewing his schedule straight after the loss to Basilashvili.

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, he has decided against playing in back-to-back weeks at the start of his comeback.

‘It’s been great to be back on the ATP Tour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again,’ Federer posted on social media.

‘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.’

The Swiss had admitted he was feeling a bit of pain in his shoulder and some general stiffness – unsurprising after his first competitive tennis matches in more than 13 months – but that ‘overall the body is actually fine’.

Federer had already pulled out of the Miami Open later this month, meaning his next competitive appearance will likely be on clay as he looks to reach ‘100%’ fitness for the grass-court season.

‘I think matches are important. What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts. So from that standpoint, I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches,’ Federer said after losing to Basilashvili.

‘So like you said, it could be good for me, the clay. It could be bad for me, the clay. So I will only know in practice, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad, to be honest.

‘I assume I will play some clay, you know. The question is what. We have a vague idea, but we said let’s wait for Doha and potentially Dubai to potentially make any decisions for that, and fitness comes first and then we’ll see what comes after.

‘Yeah, so, I mean, at the end everything is geared towards the grass. So whatever makes me be 100% there, I will do.’

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