There was plenty, to be sure, that was unfamiliar to Roger Federer in his first competitive match in more than a year.

Can’t hand your towel to a ball person in the pandemic era. Get ready to serve 25 seconds after the previous point ended. Warmups are cut down to four minutes. And so on.

“It feels,” Federer said after beating the 28th-ranked Dan Evans 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-5 at the Qatar Open on Wednesday, “like I have been away for even longer than I actually have been.”

What the 20-time Grand Slam champion discovered did not change one bit after all of that time away from tournaments, an absence brought about by two operations on his right knee: He still feels tension and excitement before he plays. He still knows which shots to try, and when. He still can rise to the occasion when the chips are down.

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