Indian Wells champion Federer sparks grand slam talk
INDIAN WELLS (California), March 19 — Roger Federer has not won a grand slam crown since the 2010 Australian Open but his scintillating form over the past nine months suggests he will be back in the elite winners circle very soon.
The Swiss maestro overcame big-serving American John Isner 7-6 6-3 in the final of the Indian Wells tournament yesterday, his sixth ATP World Tour title in his last eight tournaments.
Federer fended off a flu bug in the early stages of the event before going on to beat former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, 10-times grand slam winner Rafa Nadal and then Isner in straight sets.
Since his gripping 7-6 6-4 3-6 2-6 5-7 semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic at last years US Open, the Swiss has won 39 of his 41 matches, sparking talk he may be back to his very best.
“I think I have been playing extremely well since the (2011) French Open,” 16-times grand slam champion Federer told reporters after winning his third consecutive title on the men’s circuit.
“But people aren’t giving me enough credit sometimes for how great that tournament was because I didn’t win it.
“Same thing at Wimbledon. I thought I played really well there, too and I was really in a good position to do something extraordinary there as well. Same thing happened at the US Open.”
Federer was runner-up to Spanish left-hander Nadal at last year’s French Open and lost to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight at Wimbledon after winning the first two sets.
“So it was a tough spell for me, and important to stay calm and keep on working hard and maybe take minor adjustments and hopefully luck would turn on my side,” the 30-year-old Swiss said.
“It’s amazing that it’s all come around so nicely in the indoor season at the end of the year starting in Basel. I have won six out of eight. It’s pretty extraordinary.”
Asked if he was playing better than ever, world number three Federer replied: “I don’t know. I think I had a great run the last three matches, and obviously the last six months it’s been really good.
“Before that was great, too. I’m just happy that I’m feeling healthy and happy and willing to play. Just enjoying life, really. I think I’m playing extremely well. If it’s the best of my life, I’ll never know.”
For the moment, Federer has set his sights on winning further grand slam titles and said that regaining the top ranking from Djokovic was a longer-term target.
“It’s not right now a goal for me in the short term, because I can’t be world number one because Novak has played amazing these last 12 months,” he added.
“Just because I have been on a great run doesn’t mean he hasn’t. And he might go and do another run or ... Rafa might go on his clay court run again, and then all things become very difficult as well for me to get to world number one.
“I love winning tennis tournaments, especially when you put in all the hard work and the sacrifice of playing a lot of matches before this, making sure I get some momentum and confidence going.” — Reuters