Monday/ Roger is ba-aack

There are three Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournaments on the calendar this week: in Marseille, France, in Doha, Qatar and in Santiago, Chile.

Roger Federer, he of 20 Grand Slam titles fame, is making his long-awaited comeback in Doha, at the age of 39½. He last played on the tour 14 months ago (in the 2020 Australian Open), and had two knee operations after that. He said today that he is now free of pain and injury — and has no plans to retire (!).

Update Wed 3/11: Federer ousted Dan Evans (30, Great Britain) in his first match, but then stumbled and lost against Nikoloz Basilashvili (29, Georgia) in the quarter-final.

Here’s the scene in Marseille, France. Bouches-du-Rhône (lettering on the hard court’s surface) is a department (region) in Southern France named after the mouth of the river Rhône. Those are cardboard cut-outs as the ‘spectators’ – ugh. In this match, the Italian Jannik Sinner (19) overcame Frenchman Grégoire Barrère (27) by 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5.
Here’s the red clay of the Chile Open in Santiago. Nobody in the stands, just camera crew and coaches. This was another nail-biter. Frances Tiafoe (23, USA) beat Nicolás Jarry (25, Chile) by the narrowest of margins: 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (9-7).
Here’s Doha, Qatar. A few spectators here and there. (ExxonMobil is a sponsor – boo! BOO! for denying for DECADES that your oil products are destroying the planet, and for lying about climate change. Hey ATP, please find someone else). That is one of the tallest guys in the tour serving, Reilly Opelka (23, USA). He stands 6’11” in his socks. He lost this match in the end, though, against ‘veteran’ Roberto Bautista Agut (32, Spain) : 6-4, 3-6, 4-6.

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