The eight-times champion, who beat Cameron Norrie to progress to the fourth round, sympathises with the Scot’s frustrations over his comeback, having himself been in rehab after a knee operation. “I totally know what Andy’s trying to say because you have to make compromises every single day,” Federer said. “Instead of practice you have to rest. Instead of practising three hours you can only practise an hour and a half. You have to make choices, it makes things more complicated.
“You probably can’t play 35 tournaments any more. Now maybe 25 or 15 - or less. All these things really matter to a player. Andy’s also had a tough year. He hasn’t played many matches and there are clearly some question marks. But he should be very, very happy about himself. He has huge admiration from all the players for what he’s going through because that is not just some simple knee thing like maybe some others - this is major stuff. I wish him only the best. Everybody hopes he stays on tour and keeps
going. But, of course, most of all he needs to be happy.”
Federer also paid tribute to Norrie who took a set off him in the 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 success. “Credit to him for pushing me. He's had a really good season. It's a win that’s like a reference point for me, beating somebody of his level who's been playing well. I know who I beat, you know? It's not just a guy who can play good on the day. He's a good player.”
After rating himself fortunate to come through his opening match, Federer has found a good groove. “I felt very much at peace out there, sort of a tranquility.” But can tranquility beat Novak Djokvic? “It’s very, very impressive what he's doing this year. He’s able to have different ways of how to win matches. He’s the big favourite, he’s playing great and will be tough.”