FORGET the comeback talk. Roger Federer is back.
He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title in an all-Swiss final in Indian Wells, California, to go with his record 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January after missing most of last year with various injuries.
“For me, the dream run continues,” he said.
Federer kept reminding everyone during the ATP Masters 1000 event that he was “on the comeback” and, wanting to see how he felt, hadn’t planned beyond the first three months of year. He might want to think bigger now.
“This was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells. The goal was to be top 8 by Wimbledon, so I’m there much, much faster,” he said. “I will make the plan for the remainder of the season, especially for the clay, after Miami, and then see also what the goals are because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”
Federer jumped four places to sixth in the latest ATP rankings released yesterday.
Federer also tied the tourney record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th career title, keeping him third behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.
At 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history, surpassing Connors, who was 31 years and five months when he won in 1981. “It’s an absolute huge start to the year for me,” he said. “Last year didn’t win any titles. The change is dramatic and it feels great.”
His twin daughters cheered and jumped up and down in a box above the court when Federer put away a high forehand volley while keeping Wawrinka pinned deep behind the baseline on match point.
In an all-Russian women’s final, Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4. Vesnina had never advanced beyond the third round in singles and just last year she lost in the first round of qualifying.