Roger Federer is riding the crest of a wave all over again. He is the in-form player in men’s tennis and at 35 years of age that is pretty amazing. Last year Federer did not win a single title, already in 2017 he has won two, and not just any two, he has won the two biggest titles of the season to date.
In January he went into the Australian Open as the underdog. He was coming off quite a long lay-off and not too many gave him a chance. He did not publically put himself forward to win the Australian Open but he all but shocked himself by doing so. Incredibly he has backed it up by winning the year’s first ATP Masters 1000.
Federer defeated his good friend Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in 80 minutes. Federer and Wawrinka were close for the first eight games of the match. In the ninth game Federer held to go up and then turned on the afterburners and broke Wawrinka to win the set.
Wawrinka was not out of it and he broke serve at the start of the second set and went up 2-0 but Federer rallied and turned the set around and then closed out the final with a forehand winner. Federer’s face was beaming and he lifted his arms like a prize-fighter.
“When I came here, what I promised myself was I was going to play with the right energy,” Federer said. “And it’s not always Grand Slam finals. It always starts at zero. You have to get yourself up for the first rounds. Sometimes in Dubai I finished, I don’t know, midnight.
“It’s not so simple sometimes, you know, when you lose that second set somehow to just, you know, stay super positive and super happy after just losing that set where you should have never have. Yeah, and then I got here, and I felt right away good about how I played in that first round. Excitement, the energy, everything was clicking.
“So from that standpoint, I was very happy there. And then in November, you know, December, when I realized things were going well, and we had a meeting about what are the goals for the season in terms of rankings, it’s really super secondary, but, you know, I wanted to set — or we wanted to set some goals for the season, and the goal was to be top 8 by after Wimbledon. Because if I would have lost early in Australia, you know, I would have dropped to 35 in the world.
“It was a good approach, I thought, you know, because it gave me time to get there. So I’m there much, much faster. Like you say, I don’t want to say it’s a problem at all. No, it’s great, but you definitely have to reassess your goals maybe now and see, Where do you go from here? Because this was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells, I can tell you that.
“So I think now it’s really important for me to rest up maximum. I hope I can play as late as possible going to Miami. Then really, like I said before, I will make the plan for the remainder of the season after — especially for the clay after Miami, and then see also what the goals are, because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”
This was the seventh final Federer was playing at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, that is a tournament record and he won the title for the fifth time which equals the record Novak Djokovic held. At 35 Federer is now the oldest man to win an ATP Masters 1000. This is his 25th Masters 1000 crown and incredibly his 90th career title. The last time Federer won an ATP Masters 1000 was in Cincinnati in 2014.
Federer went through the tournament without dropping a set and dropped serve just once, that first game of the second set.
Wawrinka became somewhat emotional during the presentation ceremony and he explained why.
“I don’t know (smiling). You know, it’s a tough loss. Probably a bit of everything, you know, but some tough match,” he said. “In a way, I’m really happy to make the final. It’s a great result on that, but you always want more. And to lose a final, it’s never easy. Had some really tough weeks, also, after Australian Open. I was injured. It was really tough for me.
“Anyway, I’m really happy to be that quick at that level, but still lost the final. So it wasn’t easy.”
The doubles title was won by Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen over Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-7, 6-4, 10-8.