Sunday’s match between No. 37-ranked Hubert Hurkacz and No. 31 Jannik Sinner was the first ATP Masters 1000 final since 2003 with two players ranked outside the top 30.
The 39-year-old was knocked out of the Doha event by world number 42 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, squandering a match point in the deciding set.
The 20-time Grand Slam title winner, who underwent two knee surgeries in 2020, secured the first set but eventually wilted and lost the quarter-final tie, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
All of that time away is not something Federer is accustomed to. He didn't miss a single Grand Slam tournament from 2000 to 2016.
It was Federer's first match in 405 days after having knee surgery following the 2020 Australian Open.
The 33-year-old Djokovic had risen to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first time in July 2011.
Miami Open tournament director James Blake said he hopes Federer will return in 2021 to an event he has won four times, including two years ago.
The 33-year-old Serbian reclaimed the top spot from Spain's Rafael Nadal in February 2020.
Novak Djokovic is now going to prioritise the Slams to catch up with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Roger Federer's last appearance was a year ago in the Australian Open semi-final to eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
In its bid to felicitate the best wrestler of the tournament, a sponsor on Sunday offered to gift a buffalo worth around Rs 1.5 lakh.
The 39-year-old has been out of action since February but recently resumed training and was on the entry list for the opening Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne which starts on February 8.
Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park from February 8-21 and will feature singles, doubles, and wheelchair competitions.
PV Sindhu reminisced a moment from the initial days of the Federer-Nadal rivalry that inspired her in her career.
One 'GOAT' to another: Roger Federer's warm message to Rafael Nadal after latter's record-equalling French Open win
Nadal demolished Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to add a 13th Roland Garros to his four US Opens, two Wimbledons and one Australian Open crown.