Beats Wawrinka for fifth Indian Wells title
ROGER Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth ATP Indian Wells Masters title on Sunday, continuing his career resurgence with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Stan Wawrinka.
Federer, sidelined some six months after knee surgery last year, returned to win his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.
With Sunday’s triumph in the all-Swiss final, Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only men to win five Indian Wells titles, adding to those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.
At 35, Federer is the oldest ATP player to win one of the elite Masters titles, supplanting Andre Agassi who was 34 when he won in Cincinnati in 2004.
“It’s been just a fairytale week once again,” said Federer, who missed Indian Wells last year because of injury.
“I’m not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did.
“I couldn’t be more happy. It’s an absolute, huge start to the year for me. Last year I didn’t win any titles. I don’t think I was in any finals except maybe Brisbane last year. The change is dramatic, and it feels great.”
The speedy progress means 10th-ranked Federer will have to reassess his 2017 goals. Prior to the Australian Open his aim was to get his ranking to as high as eighth by the time Wimbledon was over.
“The goals are clearly changing after this dream start,” Federer said.
“I’ve lost some tough ones against you, but when you played the final in Australia, I was your biggest fan,” a choked up Wawrinka told Federer at the trophy ceremony.
“So congratulations on your comeback and congratulations on today.”
Although he owns three Grand Slam titles, Wawrinka was playing in just his fourth Masters final and has won just one of the prestige events — beating Federer in the final at Monte Carlo in 2014. “It’s a tough loss,” he said. After fearing that knee trouble in the wake of the Australian Open would slow his season, Wawrinka was pleased to play at a high level.
“After Australia, I wasn’t in a good position,” he said.
“I was really, really struggling with my knee. I wasn’t sure to be back here in that level that quick.
“But I still lost the final,” he said.
“So it wasn’t easy.” AFP