Emotional Federer on target, Djokovic survives

By Agence France-Presse in Perth, Australia | | Updated: 2017-01-04 07:59

Emotional Federer on target, Djokovic survives

File photo shows Switzerland's Roger Federer waves as he walks off court after losing his match against Canada's Milos Raonic in Wimbledon, England on July 8, 2016. [Photo/Agencies] 

Roger returns from long layoff to win in Perth

Roger Federer fought back tears of joy after making an impressive comeback to competitive tennis on Monday with an easy win over Britain's Dan Evans at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

The Swiss champion, returning from a six-month injury layoff, helped his country make a clean sweep of the tie against the Brits when he cruised to victory in 61 minutes by scores of 6-3, 6-4.

Teammate Belinda Bencic also beat Heather Watson before the Swiss pair triumphed in the dead mixed doubles rubber.

The men's singles was Federer's first match after a half-year break due to knee and back injuries, which saw him slide out of the top 10 for the first time since late 2002.

The 35-year-old, who entered 2017 ranked No 16 - his lowest placing since 2001 - said he felt emotional on his return to the court, but that his knee didn't trouble him at all.

"For a first match it was great, because obviously expectations were quite low," he said. "For three and four weeks now I have stopped thinking of it (the knee). I don't have any pain.

"I am in a way sad it (the comeback) is over, because I enjoyed it so much, I feel a bit relieved, but sad."

Despite plenty of practice in Dubai in recent weeks, Federer said it was important to test himself in an actual match.

He first hurt his knee last January while filling a bath for his children the day after a semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

He required minor surgery on a torn meniscus and was then hampered by a back injury that forced him out of the French Open.

The 17-time Grand Slam singles champion then sustained another knee injury during his semifinal loss to Canada's Milos Raonic at Wimbledon before electing to rest for the remainder of the year.

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