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Becker: "It’s very likely that Federer will win Wimbledon"

Boris Becker has backed Roger Federer’s decision to skip Roland Garros and instead opt to focus on extending his career by working on returning for the grasscourt events.

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Federer defeats Nadal to win 3rd Miami crown

Roger Federer extended his run of dominance in 2017, clinching his third title of the season 6-3, 6-4 over Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open.

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Federer beats Wawrinka for 5th Indian Wells title

The incredible comeback continues. Roger Federer won a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open crown as he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Swiss final at Indian Wells.

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Federer hopes to play '2 to 3 more years'

Roger Federer says he hopes to play for at least another two to three years and that his "mindset is for the long term" in assessing his tennis future.

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Federer and Nadal to team up in Laver Cup

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have faced each other in eight major finals, plan to team up as doubles partners next year during the inaugural Laver Cup.

Federer beats defending champ Mayer to reach Halle semis

Top seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semi-finals on Friday, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

“It was important to be aggressive off the baseline and make him feel my variation and the power I can bring to the court,” Federer said. “And then having good footwork, to see the short ball, the floater, where I can come in and knock it off with a volley. I think I did it very well. I had lots of chances to even go up a double break in the second set.

“I thought I was very calm out there, even in difficult moments. I was calm serving out the first and second sets. Those are always signs for me that things are slowly starting to fall into place nicely.”

Federer has yet to drop a set after three matches this week. He boosts his ATP Head to Head record against Mayer to 8-0, with five of those wins coming on grass. The top seed is through to the semi-finals in Halle for the 13th consecutive time, with his two quarter-final losses at this event coming in 2000-2001. The Swiss star also improves his Halle record to 57-6.

Federer scored the lone break of the opening set at 2-1. Mayer fought off three set points on his serve at 2-5, but the top seed comfortably held to love in the next game with an ace.

The second set was nearly identical to the first, with a backhand wide from the German allowing the top seed to take a 3-2 lead. Mayer bravely fought off two match points on his serve at 3-5, but another forehand winner from Federer on his first match point wrapped up the contest in 66 minutes.

The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will next face Karen Khachanov, who defeated fellow Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-3 in his last-eight clash.

Federer, who hit 11 aces and 32 winners, said facing Khachanov on Saturday will present a new challenge for him.

“It will be interesting. He plays a bit different on the serve and the forehand, which is different to the regular forehand technique we see. He’s big and strong and seems super excited to be on tour and he’s working hard. I don’t know him that well yet so it’s a match where I’ll most likely focus on my own game. Make sure I serve well, because he can go through spells where he can serve big. It could be somewhat similar to how I played today.”

Saturday's other semi-final will see German fourth seed Alexander Zverev face Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Zverev defeated Spanish seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6), 7-6 (1), 6-1 while Gasquet saw off Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Date: 23 June 2017, Source:ATP, Reuters and AFP

Federer beats Zverev for Halle quarterfinal

Eight-time champion Roger Federer reached the quarter-finals of the Halle grass court tournament for a 15th time on Thursday with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev.

Federer improves his ATP Head to Head record against Zverev to 4-0, including a win this year in the Australian Open quarter-finals. He has yet to drop a set against the German. The Swiss star improves to 56-6 in Halle.

Awaiting Federer in the quarter-finals is another German in defending champion Florian Mayer, who defeated sixth seed Lucas Pouille earlier in the day. Federer leads their Head to Head series 7-0, including three straight-sets wins in Halle (2005, 2012, 2015).

Both Federer and Zverev traded service holds throughout the opening set, with the German bravely saving three set points on his serve at 4-5. Little separated them throughout the tie-break, but Federer raised his level when it mattered most at 5/4, flicking two backhand passing shot winners to grab the early advantage.

Their serves continued to be in top form throughout the second set, but it was Zverev who blinked first. Federer laced a forehand passing shot at 4-4 for the lone break of the match and then comfortably held serve to prevail in one hour and 30 minutes.

Federer didn't face a break point in the contest and finished the day with 28 winners to 18 unforced errors. Zverev hit 18 winners to 23 unforced errors.

Federer was quick to acknowledge that today’s match bore no resemblance to the double bagel he handed out to Zverev when they met in Halle in 2013.

“It was totally different. He started serving great, which put me under pressure as I wasn’t getting many looks,” Federer said. “It was important to stay calm after missing chances to win the set at 5-4. And it’s important to win ‘breakers. They are the sets you need to win to win tournaments. It felt like a close ‘breaker that could have gone either way.

“After I got that in the bag I was really able to start to relax and really play and feel the way I want to feel out there. That’s the first time I’ve felt like that since Miami, so that’s a good sign looking ahead.”

Although Federer leads Mayer 7-0 in their Head to Head series, the unorthodox German did push Federer to two tie-breaks when they met on grass in Stuttgart last year. And after combatting very different playing styles in his first two rounds, Federer expects further contrast Friday.

“I played against a right hander from the baseline in Sugita, a left hander who serves and volleys all the time (Zverev) and Mayer plays very different to everyone else. He uses slice, he comes in, he chips and charges, he loops the ball and serves / volleys a little bit, so he’s really going to throw everything at me. I know he wants it badly, so it will be a tough one. I played my best match today and that will give me some confidence for tomorrow.

“I think he’s most dangerous on the grass. He’s a tough customer, plus he’s the defending champion. He hasn’t had the best season so far, so there is a lot riding on the match for him as well as for me because we both want to go deep into this tournament.”

Date: 22 June 2017, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer claims 1100th match win in Halle

Roger Federer added another milestone to his historic career on Tuesday, celebrating his 1,100th match win to start his Gerry Weber Open campaign in Halle. The eight-time champion breezed past lucky loser Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-1 in 52 minutes to move into the second round at the ATP World Tour 500 event.

“The milestone was mentioned in Stuttgart but I had forgotten about it. I appreciate these numbers way more today than ever before. I think I can embrace them more. It’s a big number and I’m very happy to have a chance to hopefully add some more wins to that number,” Federer said.

The 35 year old rebounded nicely from his early exit last week at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Federer led by a set and a break and had a match point against longtime friend Tommy Haas but fell to the German 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.

Against Sugita, Federer started smoothly and stayed aggressive. He hit eight aces, converted five of his 13 break points and won 90 per cent of his first-serve points (26/29).

“I played some good tennis, some nice points. I played the way I wanted to play: aggressive, took charge from the baseline and served well. Overall, I’m very happy,” Federer said.

The top seed was scheduled to play Yen-Hsun Lu but the 33 year old had to withdraw because of a right arm injury. Sugita made the main draw despite falling to Russian Mikhail Youzhny in qualifying. Youzhny won their match in three tie-breaks and on his 12th match point.

“I found out around the same time that everybody else did, around 12 o’clock,” Federer said. “Then I wasn’t sure if it was going to be Sugita or somebody else. I had to wait and see if there were going to be any more changes and a different opponent coming my way. I saw the third-set breaker between Sugita and Youzhny. I saw the last 20 points of that match.

“I had a little bit of an idea how Sugita plays. I’ve seen him practise here and he’s really made a run recently. I got some info from coaches and other players and coaches, so I got the full scouting report. But of course, I tried to play on my terms.”

A single break in the first set proved enough for Federer - an eight-time champion in Halle - to open up an advantage he never looked in danger of relinquishing, his impressive groundstrokes making life difficult for the Japanese.

Federer raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set but failed to serve out despite having three match points at 40-0 - a long and a wide forehand meaning Sugita avoided the bagel.

Federer improved to 20-2 on the season. He will next face the serve-and-volleying Mischa Zverev, who dismissed Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head series 3-0, including a double bagel the last time they played on grass, 2013 Halle. Federer also beat Zverev earlier this year during the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Date: 20 June 2017, Source: ATP, Omnisport and AP

Federer draws confidence from Halle return

If Roger Federer is looking for a little confidence pick-me-up early in his comeback, there’s no better place to be than the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Federer has won this grass-court ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament eight times, more than any other event.

“It's like coming home. I feel good, relaxed and can't wait to serve in Halle. The history I have here, having come and played well so often, definitely should help me to play good tennis this week,” Federer said Sunday. “I love playing here. Yes, I think I can come in here with good confidence.”

Federer opens against World No. 68 Yen-Hsun Lu, against whom he has a 3-0 ATP Head to Head record, winning all seven sets they have played. Lu has a 28-34 tour-level record on grass and enjoyed his most memorable moment on the surface in 2010, when he stunned Andy Roddick 9-7 in the fifth set in the Wimbledon fourth round.

Federer will be a heavy favourite against Lu, but after his surprise defeat to former World No. 2 Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, the Swiss won’t take the match lightly. “It’s important for me, especially after Stuttgart, to come here and make sure I win my first-round match and get going. I want to take the right decisions on the tennis court. I don’t want to question myself too much. I’ll have the right focus and mindset, that point-by-point mentality. That was a little bit off in Stuttgart, understandably so. I have to learn from that week and move forward in a better way.”

Federer won the tournament five consecutive years between 2003-07 and most recently in 2015. Last year he suffered a surprising semi-final loss to then World No. 38 Alexander Zverev, who one year later finds himself inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.  Federer has a potential second-round meeting with Zverev’s older brother, Mischa Zverev, whom he defeated 6-0, 6-0 five years ago in Halle. But Zverev is a far-improved player whose serve-and-volley game is well suited to grass. And the German on Monday will break into the Top 30 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career.

Despite his opening-round defeat to Haas last week in Stuttgart, where Federer returned after a two-month sabbatical, the Swiss said that he had not second-guessed his decision to skip the entire clay swing after beginning the season 19-1, with titles at the Australian Open and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level in Indian Wells and Miami.

“It could have been better in Stuttgart, but then again I had match point,” Federer said. “It wasn’t like I lost 6-2, 6-2 and everything was terrible. A comeback is never simple, especially on grass where margins are so slim. It’s a serve or a passing shot or a return that determines the outcome of the match. That’s what it ended up being against Tommy, even though I felt I should have found a way home, having been a set and a break up.

“Considering how well I felt going into Paris, it was surprisingly easy to take the decision and after making it I never had any regrets watching it or following the results. I never thought ‘If only I was part of the tournament.’ I was looking ahead to the grass season and enjoyed the time with my friends and family at home.

“It was a decision that was taken within a couple of days. It wasn’t something I saw myself doing weeks and months ahead of the tournament. For a long time the schedule was to play Paris but all of a sudden I just felt that I wouldn’t be comfortable doing it. I didn’t want to compromise the goal of the grass-court season, Wimbledon, the US Open and beyond.

“I felt that the French Open may potentially have a negative effect on what’s to come. It may have been helpful, but I felt there was more risk that it would go the other way. Based on health, that’s why I decided to skip.

“But it’s not a trend that I might follow in the future. I don’t know what the future holds. This was just a one-off decision.”

Date: 18 June 2017, Source: ATP

Rusty Federer ousted by Haas at Stuttgart

Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas successfully dialed back the years on Wednesday, saving a match point to shock Roger Federer 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

The loss is only Federer's second of the season, and the Swiss star held match points during both of them. The 35 year old had three match points against World No. 116 Evgeny Donskoy during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.

“I thought it was a typical grass-court match today. Rallies weren’t very long and it was decided on a serve there or a return here. If you don’t take your chances like I didn’t, leading a set and a break, you really only have yourself to blame at the end. You’ve got to acknowledge the fact that he was a bit better. It’s quite frustrating, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Federer said.

“It wasn’t all bad, not at all. There were definitely some good moments, but I definitely was not as sharp as I was hoping to be in maybe the big moments, or the moment when I had the lead and where I feel I should have been cruising from that moment on. I definitely made some crucial mistakes and judgment errors.

“Tommy definitely played well when he had to. He hung around and was able to push me in the second set. In the third set I couldn’t get up to the level I wanted. I should have somehow broken him once, but I wasn’t able to do that.”

For the 39-year-old Haas, this must have been what he had envisioned when he decided to come back for one more season, following his ninth surgery in April 2016.

The two-time Halle champion, who last beat Federer in the 2012 Halle final, looked as comfortable as ever on the grass in Stuttgart, outplaying Federer in the final two sets to gain his biggest win in years.

Haas hadn't reached a quarter-final since the 2014 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, and the right-hander had gotten off to a 5-8 start this season. But playing in front of his home German fans, He rallied to beat Federer, who fell to 19-2 on the season.

“I’m a little bit speechless that I beat him today. It’s been awhile since I have won back-to-back matches and to do it today against Roger is obviously one of my career highlights. It’s a very special feeling,” Haas said.

“At the same time he’s a very close friend of mine so it doesn't feel like such a celebration in that sense. This is my last phase, so the emotions are different from what they would have been a few years ago. This is sport. Unfortunately, one person has to lose and lately a lot of the time it has been me. I was happy to be out there in front of a German crowd playing against a friend, an idol, a legend, the greatest ever. It’s fantastic.”

Federer, a 15-time grass-court titlist, hadn't played a tour-level match since 2 April, when he beat Rafael Nadal to win the Miami Open title, his third crown of the season after winning the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The 35-year-old Swiss skipped the clay-court season to rest his body and avoid any potential injuries to his back and knees on the clay. But the top seed started strong in his Stuttgart opener.

Federer deployed his entire array of shots - aces that kissed off the chalk, off-balance forehand winners and service returns that Haas could only watch. Federer, who finished with 23 aces, raced through the first after only 23 minutes.

But Haas, a 15-time ATP World Tour titlist, was not to be swept off the court during what he has said will be his final stop in Stuttgart. The German raised his level in the second set, breaking for the first time to get back on serve at 2-2.

At 7/8 in the tie-break, Haas had to deliver a second serve but fought off the match point when Federer lifted a backhand long. The 39-year-old German converted his fourth set point when Federer double faulted for the first time in the match.

Haas commanded the third set, battling Federer and coming out on top in the tight moments. The German erased three break points while serving at 1-2 and broke Federer in the very next game to gain the upper hand. Haas would erase four more break points in the set before converting his second match point. He improves to 4-13 against Federer in their ATP Head to Head series.

“Coming here and losing in the semis last year, now the opening round this year, it’s not what I was hoping to do. Especially on grass courts, close to home, in Germany, which has been a good hunting ground for me. It’s not good enough,” said Federer.

“I would have liked to stay here longer and given myself the best possible chance to win the tournament, so that’s a letdown,” he added. “I really enjoy my time here in Stuttgart.”

Federer next heads to Halle, where he will look to win his ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open.

“It gives me more time for Halle. As a positive thinker, that’s what I see,” said Federer. “I’ve been on grass for over two weeks. It’s good to play a match again. I really feel the body. It feels different right now than it does after practise. It just makes you tired. There are some positives to take away. It will give me good preparation going into Halle and then Wimbledon is soon.”

Date: 14 June 2017, Source: ATP

Federer done resting as he begins Wimbledon preparations

A rejuvenated Roger Federer is committing to a full schedule in the second half of the season, saying that he’s had enough of practice and is hoping to quickly recapture his stunning early-season form. Fresh off a two-month break to rest his 35-year-old body, Federer returns to the ATP World Tour this week at the grass-court event Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

“There are no more breaks now,” Federer told on Monday. “I’ve had enough breaks. I'm a practice world champion now and that's not who I want to be. I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I'm going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season. And this is the beginning here at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.”

After an unpredictable first half of the season that now sees Rafael Nadal and Federer in first and second place in the ATP Race To London, the Swiss said that he remains surprised at how the season has unfolded. When Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic played a pulsating final in Doha in the first week of the season, most tennis fans thought that last year’s No. 1 and No. 2 finishers would wage a two-man battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking again in 2017.

So far this season it has been a two-way battle for year-end No. 1 between Federer and Nadal, The Spaniard has now firmed as a strong favourite following a dominant clay-court swing that included titles No. 10 in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros, as well as a fifth crown in Madrid. But Federer will hope to close that gap during the next five weeks on his favourite surface, grass. He’s playing the next two weeks in Stuttgart and Halle before taking a week off before chasing an eighth title at Wimbledon.

“I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me,” Federer said. “I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he'd done it nine times before. I was hoping he was going to dominate the clay-court season like the old days.

“But I'm still surprised we were able to do it. It maybe had something to do with Murray having a bit of a letdown after his great finish to last year and Novak not playing his absolute best. We were able to take advantage of the fact that we were in great shape and came refreshed into the season after our injuries at the end of last year.”

Federer readily admits that Nadal is a hot favourite to finish No. 1 for the fourth time, but says that the second half of 2017 promises to be much more competitive than the first half.

“Obviously Rafa is in great position to finish World No. 1. For him it's going to be all about staying injury free. For me it's about getting back to winning ways, where I left off in Miami.

“I'm sure a lot of guys are going to start playing their best in the second half of the season, like Murray, Djokovic, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Kyrgios, Stan. We'll all be playing our best tennis. It's going to be an epic finish to the end of the season. Quite exciting actually for the ATP Tour.”

Federer, a winner of 15 grass-court titles will meet German veteran Tommy Haas in the Mercedes Cup second round. The Swiss right-hander is competing at an ATP World Tour tournament for the first time since capturing the 93rd title of his career at the Miami Open (d. Nadal) on 2 April.

Date: 13 June 2017, Source: ATP

Becker: "It’s very likely that Federer will win Wimbledon"

Boris Becker has backed Roger Federer’s decision to skip this year’s Roland Garros and instead opt to focus on extending his career by working on returning for the grasscourt events. Federer, at 35, returned to tennis after knee surgery last year and the comeback has been sublime. The Swiss legend won Australian Open and followed that up by doing the ‘Sunshine double’ - winning at Indian Wells and Miami.

“If I were his coach, I would have tried to convince him to skip Roland Garros all the way. Playing there would have been no sense,” he told Portuguese outlet Record in regard to Federer opting to sit out the French Open. In the process, Federer missed clay court tournaments for the first time since turning professional in 1998.

“So far he has dominated, he is 35 and I thought from the beginning that he should have rested until the grass-season events,” said Becker who coached Djokovic to the title last year.

“When I knew he wouldn’t have played in Paris, I thought ‘very well, great move’.”

Asked if Federer is the favourite to win in Wimbledon, Becker said: “It’s very likely that Roger wins Wimbledon this year. He won in Australia, Indian Wells and Miami, then he took time off. I think it’s very likely that he wins his eighth title at the All England Club and the 19th Grand Slam title of his career.”

Date: 30 May 2017, Source: The Indian Express and Tennis World USA

Roger Federer to skip the French Open

Roger Federer, who has been in a magical form at almost 36, announced on Monday that he will not play in the French Open, which begins in two weeks, and will instead focus on the grass-court and hardcourt events ahead, including Wimbledon and the US Open.

This will be the first year since Federer turned professional in 1998 that he will not play a tour event on clay.

“I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month, but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the clay-court season this year,” he said in a statement. “The start to the year has been magical for me, but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward.”

Smart and selective scheduling has played a big role in Federer’s enduring excellence. He is the most successful men’s player of the Open era, with 18 Grand Slam singles titles, but his performance in 2017 has surpassed even his own expectations.

After a six-month layoff to heal his left knee, he won his first Grand Slam title in nearly five years at the Australian Open in January, beating his longtime nemesis Rafael Nadal in a five-set final. Federer then swept to the titles in the prestigious Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

He is 19-1 in 2017, with the only loss having come in the second round in Dubai against the Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy.

But after playing in a record 65 consecutive Grand Slam singles tournaments, Federer will have missed three of the last five by skipping the French Open, which begins May 28, for a second straight year.

Federer won the title at Roland Garros in 2009 and has reached the final four other times. In his statement, he said he looked forward to seeing the French fans in Paris next year, but at this stage of his career, with little left to prove and plenty of mileage on his balletic frame, there are no certainties.

“I’m very confident that Roger will play the French Open again,” Severin Lüthi, Federer’s longtime coach and close friend, said in a telephone interview from Switzerland on Monday. “He can play a different schedule next year. It’s not because he’s not playing the French this year that he’s done with it. It’s not because he is not playing on clay this year that he won’t be playing on it more again in the years ahead.”

Lüthi called the decision to withdraw “a very tough one” and said it was settled on Monday after “a few days” of training on red clay in Switzerland.

“We always said we were going to take the decision around the 10th of May,” Lüthi said. “We just wanted to have all the information and also wait a little to see how practice went and how he feels.”

Lüthi said Federer was healthy. Federer had expressed concern about how his postoperative left knee might respond to returning to clay-court tennis, but Lüthi said the knee was not a factor in Federer’s withdrawal from the French Open.

“You never know,” Lüthi said. “You don’t have the guarantee that you are not getting hurt, but really the knee is in perfect shape, so that luckily was not an issue.”

Federer’s team ultimately decided that it was not worth the risk to make the transition to clay for just one event.

“For the body, with the change of surface, at one stage, you maybe pay the price for it a little bit,” Lüthi said. “So I’m really convinced this is a good decision.”

In an effort to remain physically and mentally fresh, Federer has not played on tour since beating Nadal in the Miami Open final on April 2, although Federer did play two exhibition matches for his foundation during this layoff.

“This is more of an investment for the future,” Lüthi said. “The goal is to keep on playing ultimately for many more years on tour, and that’s why he has to make priorities, and unfortunately the French Open was not the highest priority in this case.”

Winning an eighth Wimbledon is clearly Priority No. 1. Federer’s most recent triumph at the All England Club was in 2012. He was a finalist in 2014 and 2015 and a semifinalist last year in an otherwise downbeat season. Wimbledon remains his favourite tournament, and grass probably remains his best canvas. His career record on grass is 152-23, his best winning percentage on any surface.

Federer plans to return to the tour for the German grass-court events in Stuttgart and Halle in June before Wimbledon.

“For me, the most important thing is that he’s healthy, which is the case now and for the last few weeks and months,” Lüthi said. “And the positive point is he can play two tournaments before Wimbledon. You don’t have the guarantee to always come back and immediately win the tournament.

“For Roger, it’s not that easy, even if people think it looks like that. He has these two tournaments, and if, let’s say, it would not go his way, he still has enough time to practice on grass for Wimbledon. He’s also going to be fresh and motivated and inspired, and that’s also very important.”

Date: 17 May 2017, Source: The New York Times

Federer targets Wimbledon; Won't play on clay except French Open

Roger Federer has set his sights on claiming an eighth Wimbledon title this summer after the latest chapter of his remarkable 2017 ended with him winning the Miami Open.

Having won the three biggest tournaments played this season, in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami, Federer is looking ahead and says he will concentrate on grass and hardcourt tournaments as opposed to those on clay.

After defeating Rafael Nadal to win Miami, Federer told ESPN in a courtside interview that he would "probably won't play any" of the clay-court tournaments "except the French."

In a press conference after the match, Federer said he wanted to take a break to recover physically and mentally and to be with his family. He is 19-1 since returning from an injury layoff.

"Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal," he said. "The American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess to some extent. It's just we'll see what happens, you know. No pressure there really because I won't have a preparation as such.

"But all of the grass really is important to me because I'll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the World Tour Finals, for the year-end championships, where I've been very successful. I like the indoors as well. So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That's why I'll take a break as well.

"My knee was strange on the clay last year so maybe being away from it as much as possible is a good thing as well, even though I don't think it was because of the clay as such.

"But my physio, my fitness guy, thought that could be a good thing not to be too much on clay. I feel very comfortable, very confident it is the right decision.

"When I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. When I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa.

"That is why this break is coming in the clay court season, focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that."

Federer repeated that he is currently scheduled not to play before the French Open, but added that he would "see how all of the buildup is going to go."

But regardless of his schedule, Federer is determined to keep the refreshed mentality and attacking mindset that he has used so successfully in his comeback.

"I think that the way I'm playing right now is the right way for me moving forward as well,” said Federer. "Of course I'll always recalibrate every tournament I go to depending on the speed of the ball, the speed of the courts, who I play. I'm happy that I was able to stay on the offensive more or less throughout this swing here, Indian Wells and Miami. I think once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence, you know.

"I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset, able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me."

Date: 5 April 2017, Source: Tennis.com, ESPN and IBT

Federer defeats Nadal to win 3rd Miami crown

The legend continues to grow. Roger Federer extended his run of dominance in 2017, clinching his third title of the season 6-3, 6-4 over Rafael Nadal on Sunday at the Miami Open.

Federer added to his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 legacy, notching his 26th crown and third Sunshine Double (2005-06), having lifted the trophy in Indian Wells two weeks prior. The Swiss, who is projected to return to the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings at No. 4 on Monday, earned his 91st tour-level title in total.

On song throughout the fortnight in Miami, Federer rarely put a foot wrong in Sunday’s final, prevailing after one hour and 34 minutes. He fired 29 winners, including 19 off his forehand wing and five aces. The Swiss claimed two of nine break points, while turning aside all four faced. It was Federer’s first title at the hard-court event since defeating coach Ivan Ljubicic in 2006.

"I think it was a close match," said Federer. "Maybe if you didn't see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you're thinking it was straightforward with couple breaks and that was it.

"That's not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today.

"It was a very intense first set. It could have gone either way really and then the second set started slow from both sides. Eventually I got a few important points and played the right way like I have so many times this year, just very committed, and it paid off at the very end.

"It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it's been a draining week, so I did very well."

Arguably the biggest storyline on the ATP World Tour this year has been the renewal of one of the most storied rivalries in the history of sport. It was front and centre once again at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, with Federer and Nadal writing a 37th captivating chapter. With the Spaniard seeking revenge after falling at both the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open, it marked the earliest they've played each other three times in a season.

Heavy and humid conditions greeted both competitors as they sought to take the initiative early and often. Federer showed his resilience following a three-hour semi-final epic against Nick Kyrgios on Friday. Looking to carry the momentum after a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Nadal in Indian Wells, he would deny break points in three of his first four service games. Federer struck first at 4-3, flattening an inside-out forehand to push Nadal off the court and secure the opening break of the match. He would consolidate a game later to seize the 48-minute opener.

Looking to turn the tables in the second set, Nadal would overcome a break point at 3-3 30/40 with a lunging volley winner. Despite employing a more aggressive gameplan, he was unable to change the momentum, as Federer remained calm in the big moments and eventually captured the decisive break for 5-4. The fourth seed emerged victorious on his first championship point as a Nadal forehand sailed long.

Flawless against the Top 10 this season, Federer improved to a staggering 7-0 against elite competition and is now 19-1 overall. It is his best start to a season since 2006, when he went 33-1. Winning the first 30 and over final in tournament history, at 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest Miami champion.

"I think that I was close," said Nadal. "I think I was close enough to win the first set. It was not my day. It is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he's winning a lot, all the things are going your way.

"So that's what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second it was close. The same thing: one break and that's it. That's all. It's easy to see that match was a close match. In my opinion, anything could happen and it went his way, so well done for him.

"Few things decided the points and the match. For me, it was much closer than what the result says and completely different than Indian Wells."

Exactly 12 years removed from their first-ever meeting in a final, won by the Basel native in five sets, he took a 10-9 lead on hard courts in their ATP Head to Head rivalry. Nadal still leads 23-14 overall, but the Spaniard has dropped their four most recent encounters, dating back to 2015.

''It's disappointing for me that I am trying during all my career,'' Nadal told the crowd with a smile during the trophy ceremony. ''Every three years I am in this position, but always with the smaller trophy.''

"We've had some epic matches over the years. I truly believe you are going to still win this tournament. You're too good not to," Federer said to Nadal.

Date: 4 April 2017, Source: ATP, AP and Reuters