Roger Federer continues to amaze. At the age of 35 years seven months he has become the oldest man to win the Miami Open and has taken his start to the year to an incredible 19-1 win loss record. It is his best start to a season since 2006.
After 94 minutes he had defeated his best rival Rafa Nadal 6-3, 6-4. He claimed his third Miami Open when Nadal sent a return long on match point; the ball had barely touched the court beyond the baseline and Federer drilled it into the stands with excitement. It has been a remarkable three months since he began his comeback after six months away.
“Yes, I would think so; the comeback is over,” he said laughing. “Still a comeback year, but I did say that until here, now, Miami, it was going to be still learning. It’s the beginning. Let’s see how the knee is going to feel in Australia. How is the body going to be in the Middle East? How is the body going to be west coast, east coast?
“There is a lot of traveling, and the knee can act funny when you travel and fly trans-Atlantic and all that stuff. It’s not like I went home and all I did is take a warm shower. I had to do a lot of stretching, massage, and sleep well, all that stuff. I needed to be very professional to wake up every morning and be ready to compete.
“I’m happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It’s been a dream run on the court; off the court as well my body has reacted very well and I couldn’t be happier, of course.”
Federer has cleaned up with the biggest events so far this year. He won the Australian Open with a stunning and glorious final against Nadal, then he won the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells beating Stan Wawrinka (he beat Nadal en route in the last 16) and now he’s won Miami. The incredible run has taken his ranking back up to four in the world.
If one just looked at the score it would be easy to think that this was a totally once sided match but it wasn’t and both players made that point.
“He’s playing good, no? That’s all. He’s playing good and with high confidence” Nadal said. “When a top player like him is playing with this high confidence and playing that good then it’s tough to win. It was a close match in my opinion. Was 6-3, 6-4, but I had opportunities to have the break before him on the first set. I don’t believe in luck, but I was not very lucky in the first set in a couple of points that I think I played well and I lost in the break points, and that’s it.
“Then he has the break and you are in trouble. In the second I had 30-All, second serve in the 4-All. I missed that point, and then 30-All, net for him, and go in. Few things decided the point, the decided the match, and today was for him. For me was a much closer result than – much closer level than what the result says, and completely different than (Indian Wells).”
The win is Federer’s 91st career title, his 26th at an ATP Masters 1000 level and he has now defeated Nadal the last four times they have played. This was their 37th meeting and the record is now 23-14 to Nadal. Federer was asked if it is still special every times he goes out to play the Spaniard.
“No, it’s like when you go to work, you don’t feel the same every day,” Federer said. “Doesn’t matter if Rafa is in the office or not. Just some days you feel flatter than others. Doesn’t matter, though. You might still put in a great performance. You just can’t get up the same way emotionally every single time. This time I was relaxed just because I was tired so I didn’t think about it very much. Just like, Okay, go through the warmup, go through everything, and then once the match starts it’s all go.
“That’s when we’ll get excited for two or three hours if I have to, but that’s all I have energy for. So that’s how I saw it.”
Federer says he is now going to take a break for about ten weeks. He expects to play the French Open but the grass and in particular Wimbledon are his next priorities.
The doubles title went to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo who beat Jack Sock and Nickolas Monroe 7-5, 6-3.