The hard work is showing itself on the hard courts for Roger Federer.
The four-time BNP Paribas Open champion is fresh off winning his first title in some eight months after capturing the trophy in Dubai just over a week ago.
“I’m just happy to see that the hard work is paying off,” said the 32 year old from Switzerland. “The decisions I made last year were the right ones.”
Like many tennis players, Federer is a creature of habit, but was forced to deviate from his routine to nurse back injuries in March and July of 2013, all while in the middle of switching to a new, larger racquet – a delicate process on its own.
Federer struggled to find his comfort level, resulting in him winning only one title in 2013 – the lowest haul for the Swiss since 2001. The world No. 8 has since bounced back, sharing that he’s been “solid” for about four months, and it’s shown in his results: a 14-2 record in 2014 that includes a run to the final in Brisbane, a semifinal showing in Melbourne, and finally that aforementioned title in Dubai.
“I am playing nicely now and better, and pain free for a long period of time, which is the goal,” said Federer.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion’s Dubai trophy was his 78th, putting him at third place in the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.
“It was a big win for me,” Federer said. “It was nice to be able to beat as many Top 10 guys in two months as I did all of last year.”
“Winning is such a good feeling. It’s more fun playing that way,” he added. “It gives me confidence and it makes me more eager to play more.”
Now armed with renewed confidence, his Dubai trophy, and a reliable weapon in his larger racquet, Federer is ready to conquer the desert.
“If I can’t play for World No. 1, I play for winning titles,” said the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012 Indian Wells winner. “It’s the trophy I care about the most.”
He begins his Indian Wells singles campaign against qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu on Saturday and could face his doubles partner and countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.
“I’m really motivated to be playing here in Indian Wells,” said the Basel native. “The Masters 1000 tournaments are very important to me. I’ve had some amazing trips here.”