Print Edition - 2017-03-20 | Sports
Federer takes aim at fifth Indian Wells title
-, INDIAN WELLS
Mar 20, 2017-
Roger Federer’s resurgence has already out-stripped his expectations, but the Swiss great says relishing the game is more important now than chasing a ranking.
Sidelined some six months after knee surgery last year, Federer came back to win his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January. After a hiccup in Dubai, where he was stunned by world number 116 Evgeny Donskoy, Federer has emerged from one of the toughest draws in ATP history to reach the final of the Indian Wells Masters.
“I forgot how tough the draw actually was,” Federer said of the quarter that included him along with world No 2 Novak Djokovic and No 6 Rafael Nadal, along with former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, dangerous young Australian Nick Kyrgios and talented German Alexander Zverev. And why not, since Federer has booked a title showdown with fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka without once dropping serve as world No 1 Andy Murray, Djokovic and the rest fell by the
Federer, who won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, subdued 17th-seeded American Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) and the US Open champion Wawrinka knocked out Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals on Saturday.
But Federer, currently ranked 10th in the world, said he isn’t tempted to start dreaming of a return to number one just yet. “Because I’m not going to be playing so much you would think I would need to win probably another Grand Slam for that to happen,” he said. “And maybe one is not enough, because they will pick up their level of play and they’re going to win tournaments again... The rankings is not a priority right now.”
The priority is having fun and playing well. That’s also why the 35-year-old said he won’t set his clay court schedule until after the Miami Masters, when he can assess his energy level after two tough hard court events. “What I don’t want to do is overplay and just get tired of traveling and tired of just playing tournaments and just entering and doing people a favor just to be there with no aspirations,” he said.
Federer has certainly looked energized in Indian Wells, where he can join Djokovic as the only five-time champions. Although the Swiss great owns a commanding 19-3 record against Wawrinka, Federer said it wouldn’t necessarily be an easy match up against a player who has claimed three Grand Slam titles in the past three years.
Published: 20-03-2017 09:10