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Federer beats Nadal to win 18th Grand Slam

Roger Federer defeated his great rival, Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open final to win his 18th Grand Slam championship.

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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.

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Swiss street named in Roger Federer's honour

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has inaugurated a street bearing his name before 1,500 admirers in Biel, canton Bern.

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Roger Federer attends Oscars in Hollywood

Roger Federer stepped out onto the red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Federer begins his bid for eighth Dubai title

Roger Federer began his quest for a record eighth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Benoit Paire in just 54 minutes. It is his 13th appearance in Dubai, and as well as winning seven titles he has twice finished as runner-up.

It was Federer's first match since winning the Australian Open last month, his 18th Grand Slam title. But the 35-year-old Swiss showed no rust in the rout, winning nearly 70 per cent of his service points and saving all three break points faced. Federer broke Paire twice in the first set as the Frenchman struggled to stay in rallies. The Swiss broke twice more in the second set to earn his fourth win in as many tries against Paire.

“There were some break points to be saved, and, you know, I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly,” Federer said.

“I'm happy with how I played and I was able to stay aggressive. Didn't have to move that much. It was very quick rallies. So we'll see how that's going to turn out. But obviously couldn't be a better first round for me here in Dubai.”

Federer will meet a Russian in the second round, either veteran Mikhail Youzhny or qualifier Evgeny Donskoy. He improves to 48-5 at the tournament with the win against Paire.

“I have played here for so many years, seen the tournament grow,” Federer said. “And especially after Australia, fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome. Very thankful always.”

He faces a tough road from here, though. Top seed Andy Murray and second seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka could meet Federer in the semi-finals and final, respectively.

Date: 27 February 2017, Source: ATP and Dubai Championships

Refreshed and refueled Federer ready for Dubai

Roger Federer returns to court "refueled" in Dubai this week after having not played since he won the Australian Open, his first tour event since being sidelined with knee problems for more than half a season.

The record 18-time grand slam winner is gunning for an eighth title in Dubai as the tournament celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Four weeks on from his incredible five-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the Melbourne final, Federer says he’s ready to step back on the court even though he only just got the all-clear for an inner thigh problem that bothered him during the Australian Open.

“Mentally I’m super-fresh again. I think I refueled the energy tank, on the mental side, being home, spending time with the family, being in the winter in the mountains in Switzerland. It was beautiful to be home in my own house and just enjoy that part,” Federer said.

But the World No. 9 acknowledged that he was not starting the tournament in top shape, with a leg injury having delayed his return to training.

“Physically I had a bit of a problem with my leg, that was bothering me for basically 10 days of the Australian Open, I didn’t have treatment for nothing, so I did an MRI after.”

An MRI following the tournament revealed some damage, but another done a week ago indicated improvement. Federer, having recently said he had not yet begun doing full practices again, is now ramping up.

“There was a bit of an issue, hematoma. I did scan again last Monday before I came and it definitely was better. So since three days now I’m practicing at 100 per cent. I’m a little bit tired because it’s the first time I’m actually pushing myself again, but because it’s fast court, best-of-three , I will be fine.”

Federer opens his Dubai campaign against Frenchman Benoit Paire and has been drawn in the same half as top-seeded Andy Murray. Number two seed Stan Wawrinka is in other side of the draw.

Date: 26 February 2017, Source: Sport360 and

Becker: "The more Federer wins, the more he will want to play"

Ahead of the Laureus Awards night in Monte Carlo, Boris Becker spoke about the Australian Open final won by Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal in five sets.

"Before the start of the Australian Open, everyone had been asking where do they go? After the tournament they have shown that they go to the very top," Becker said. "They showed some real drive and sent a message to Djokovic and Murray saying they are coming back.

"The way Federer played in Melbourne, it goes on to show that there is more to come and that is true for Nadal also. He is the favourite to win Roland Garros, it's clear that he can aspire to everything. It's good for tennis that Rafa is back."

Commenting on Federer's historical achievement, Becker added, "Winning 18 Grand Slams is huge. Who does that? But Federer made it look so easy and effortless. His elegance and classy way of achieving it is something that not many sportspersons will be able to replicate in future.

"A few months back the question was when will Novak equal and cross Federer's Grand Slam record but now suddenly the question has changed to whether he can do it. I feel both Rafael and Novak may catch Federer but even he is going on. The more Federer wins, the more he will want to play. Tennis at top level is about mentality and not so much about form. The maturity of a player is important."

Date: 18 February 2017, Source: Tennis World USA

Federer's secret to longevity: Mastering his body & mind

Roger Federer is one of the most important examples in terms of longevity. At 35, the Swiss continues to be competitive and manages to improve despite he is not young anymore and the next generation has come. On Tennis Smash website, Federer revealed the secrets that allow him to be competitive against the best players.

The Australian Open champion shares thoughts on health, fitness and maintaining a fresh mental approach:

You’ve got to love the game, because if you don’t love it, then it’s just going to be too hard. I think that’s kept me going quite easily actually, because I know why I’m playing tennis. Deep down that’s really important.

It’s not easy to win Slams. That means I’ve done something quite extraordinary for many seasons. I play a full schedule from January to November. I will keep on doing that, listening to my body, trying to be smart about what I need to do to play well when I really want to play well. That doesn’t always mean just majors, but obviously it’s a big part of our game.

I always make sure I have enough breaks, enough holidays, build up, tournaments, practice. The whole thing needs to come together. Maybe it’s tricky coming back the first couple of matches, but once you’re in, it’s a big advantage you had time off. It’s not easy to sit on the sidelines to see four, eight to 10 guys winning tournaments while you’re sitting at home working out. Working out doesn’t give you a whole lot of points.

You have to listen to the signals of your body. There are different ways you can stay healthy. Then every player has their own secrets or routines that work. Some just get unlucky, like Tommy Haas or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga maybe early on. You have a bad back operation at 21. Could he have avoided that? I don’t know. From then on, it’s just a fragile body maybe. That’s why it’s important to get professional early.

It’s a good thing to work out and to eat healthy. That’s what I do. I never have to be too careful with my diet. I think when it gets dangerous is when you get injured and you can’t practise as much and you keep on eating the same amount. I eat very healthy to start with. That helps of course to not get any bigger and heavier, even though heavier means stronger, but not all the time.

Things are a bit different today than they were 10 years ago. The emphasis on fitness changed just because you’re more careful not to get injured. So sometimes less is more. Quality is more important than quantity. Whereas when you’re younger, you got to put in the hours, you got to put in the work.

Eventually you have experience. You know what you need to get ready for a tournament, in the off-season, what you need to do. So clearly I’ve made mistakes and made right decisions over the years. You try to put them all together, assemble all those pieces and make it work.

The goal was always to play for a long time. I’m happy I’m still going and I’m happy that my kids occasionally come to watch me play. So, yeah, I definitely think family life has had a positive effect on me as a person and my life, as a player. My relationship with my wife, it’s been wonderful. So, yeah, we’ll see how much longer I’ll play.

Date: 14 February 2017, Source: Tennis Smash

Federer: "A special day, a special couple of weeks"

Roger Federer stayed up all night and witnessed the sunrise over Melbourne following his Australian Open victory on Sunday, before walking into his hotel room with the trophy to the delighted faces of his four children.

The Swiss superstar, who had promised to “party like rock stars” after beating Rafael Nadal for his 18th Grand Slam championship crown, arrived bleary eyed and husky-voiced at the champions’ photo shoot at the elegant Carlton Gardens on Monday afternoon.

“We started late, or super early in the morning,” said Federer on Monday. “We made it home by sunrise, which was good. It was nice to see the sun rise over Melbourne, get into the room, so it was a long night but a lot of fun. Everyone was in such a good mood, it was a special day, a special couple of weeks and finished off in a great way, being silly and having a lot of fun. Forgetting about everything, all the pressure went away.”

Federer said he felt OK, but he was tired for the traditional championship photo shoot.

“My legs hurt like mad and my back's stiff now, too, because I couldn't take any treatment, plus I was dancing," he said. "I'm still on the high. I'm going to crash eventually but that's OK.”

Federer, who had experienced a six-month injury lay-off only to return at the Australian Open, admitted it was especially gratifying as it was his first major trophy since his second set of twins, Leo and Lenny, were born on 6 May 2014.

“This is my first Slam win with the boys, they weren't born when I won in 2012, so that's special for Mirka and myself that I was able to do it,” said Federer, who also has girl twins, Myla and Charlene (born 23 July 2009). “The girls were just super excited to see the trophy. They will probably forget one day what happened, but at the same time they were happy that I'm happy.

“I saw them this morning. As I walked in, they woke up. Bit of a weird moment but still so great because they were all in such a good mood as they woke up and I came in walking in with the trophy. It was an amazing half-hour right there.”

Today, Federer rose seven spots to No. 10 in the ATP Rankings. He had dropped to No. 16 on 7 November 2016, falling out of Top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks (14+ years).

“I don’t know how much I slept, but you know I had to look at some highlights again to know how close the match was, and go through the emotions again,” said Federer. “What makes me most happy is when I see my friends and family so happy, my support team, everybody who was there.

“When I saw them celebrating again it really made it emotional when I heard people in Switzerland were following me and I saw people being really happy for me, that I won a slam again and particularly this one. It’s a bit of a fairytale to come back this way.”

Federer said he would take time to reflect and let his body recover before his next tournament in Dubai from February 27. After that he'd play Indian Wells and Miami before a European clay court schedule he hadn't yet fully planned. He said he was aiming to play the French Open before moving to the grass court season and Wimbledon, saying: “I know I'll have a better shot there.”

Federer also said he'd “have a good chance to do well" at the U.S. Open, and is still hoping to add another Australian Open title next year.

“I hope to be back next year of course,” he said. “That's why I took the six months off to hope I can still be playing for a couple of years.”

Date: 31 January 2017, Source: ATP and AP

Federer: "The magnitude of this match feels different"

The talk of history could wait for Roger Federer. Hours after the Swiss had won his 18th Grand Slam title, padding his own record, the 35 year old wasn't interested in discussing what it meant to add another victory to his historic tally and increase the distance between he and Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras, both of whom have 14 Grand Slam crowns.

Instead, Federer was more interested in talking about what had just happened on Rod Laver Arena. “For me it's all about the comeback, about an epic match with Rafa again. Doing it here in Australia, that I'm so thankful to Peter Carter and Tony Roche, and others. My popularity here, their support, that I can still do it at my age after not having won a slam for almost five years. That's what I see,” Federer said.

“The last problem is the slam count. Honestly, it doesn't matter.

“It remains for me the ultimate challenge to play against Rafa. It's super sweet, because I haven't beaten him a Grand Slam final for a long time now. This one means a lot to me because he caused me problems over the years.”

It was a match cherished by all Federer fans, no doubt, but by all tennis fans as well: Two of the all-time greats battling for more than three and a half hours for the Australian Open title, the first Grand Slam of the season. Last November, the two were in the same position as well, except resting. Federer sat in Switzerland, rehabbing his left knee. Nadal was in Spain, undergoing the same delicate process for his left wrist.

For both men, it had also been years since they had last played for a Grand Slam title: Federer, 2012 Wimbledon, which he won; and Nadal, 2014 Roland Garros, which he captured as well. The wait made the win that much more meaningful for Federer.

“The magnitude of this match is going to feel different. I can't compare this one to any other one except for maybe 2009 Roland Garros,” said Federer, who won the Paris title after three consecutive runner-up finishes in 2006-08. “I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought. I tried again and failed. Eventually I made it. This feels similar.”

The Melbourne title was also Federer's first Grand Slam title with coach Ivan Ljubicic. “It's obviously special for the entire team. It was Ivan's first Grand Slam final as a player or as a coach. Obviously he was nervous all day. I tried to calm him down,” Federer said, smiling. “The same thing with my physio, too. I think I can sense that this is not something that he's seen so many times. Whereas Severin, he was totally relaxed about it.

“It's beautiful for all of us. I know how happy they are because they are more than just a coach or a physio or whatever. They're all my friends. So we spent a lot of time talking about am I going to get back to 100 per cent, and if I did, what would it require to win a Grand Slam. Now we made it. We're going to be partying like rock stars tonight. I can tell you that.”

The team all contributed to the win, too, Federer's 18th and one of his most memorable yet. “I told myself to play free. That's what we discussed with Ivan and Severin before the matches. You play the ball, you don't play the opponent. Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here. I didn't want to go down just making shots, seeing forehands rain down on me from Rafa. I think it was the right decision at the right time,” Federer said. “I had opportunities early on in the fifth, as well, to get back on even terms. I could have been left disappointed there and accepted that fact. I kept on fighting. I kept on believing, like I did all match long today, that there was a possibility I could win this match.”

Date: 29 January 2017, Source: ATP

Federer beats Nadal to win 18th Grand Slam

He’s been a man on a mission in Melbourne the past two weeks and the dream came true for Roger Federer on Sunday evening as he toppled his great rival, Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open final to win his 18th Grand Slam championship.

“I’m out of words,” said Federer, after receiving the trophy from Rod Laver. “I'd like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been very happy to accept one and share it with Rafa tonight. The comeback had been perfect as it was,” said the Swiss, who was playing his first tour-level event after a six-month injury lay-off.

All out aggression from Federer proved decisive as he defeated Nadal in a Grand Slam final for just the third time in nine contests. He had lost all three previous battles with the Spaniard at Melbourne Park - including a heartbreaker in the 2009 final - and had not beaten Nadal in a major since 2007. But Federer righted those wrongs with a sublime display, marking his 100th match at the Australian Open in style.

It was an iconic contest and it deserved five sets as Federer prevailed in three hours and 37 minutes in an electric atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena, rallying from a break down in the fifth set to win the last five games. The tears of joy flowed freely for Federer as the electronic review ruled his forehand winner on match point to have caught the line.

It is Federer’s first major title in almost five years, since defeating Andy Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final. Since then, the Swiss has been forced to watch Novak Djokovic largely dominate the Grand Slams, losing to the Serbian in the 2014 Wimbledon title match and in 2015 in the Wimbledon and US Open finals.

It was remarkable feat for Federer and Nadal to meet across the net in another Grand Slam final  and their 35th battle overall. After their semi-final wins - five-setters against Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov respectively - they both told the story of being too hobbled to play an exhibition match at the opening of Nadal’s academy in Manacor in October, making do instead with sponge balls against junior players.

But sheer will and hard work saw them both find their best level and rise to the occasion in Melbourne, taking advantage of shock week one defeats for Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - to Denis Istomin and Mischa Zverev - to bring about a nostalgic final for tennis enthusiasts.

Indeed, it was only the fifth occasion in the Open Era that a Grand Slam final has been contested by a pair of 30-somethings. The last time it happened was at the 2002 US Open, when 31-year-old Pete Sampras defeated 32-year-old Andre Agassi to win the title in what would be his final ever match.

At 35 years and 174 days, Federer is the oldest Grand Slam champion since Ken Rosewall, who won three major titles in 1970 and ’71 after celebrating his 35th birthday. But it must have seemed a long way off for the Basel native last July, when he was forced to announce that he would be missing the remainder of the 2016 season in order to fully repair his body after undergoing arthroscopic left knee surgery in February.

With wins over Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Wawrinka to reach the final, Federer is the second player - after Mats Wilander at 1982 Roland Garros - to win four Top 10 matches en route to a Grand Slam title in the ATP Rankings Era (since 1973). He is also the first player to win three five-setters en route to a Grand Slam title since Gaston Gaudio at Roland Garros 2004.

He is the third man in history to win five Australian Open titles, adding to his victories in 2004 (d. Safin), 2006 (d. Baghdatis), 2007 (d. Gonzalez) and 2010 (d. Murray). At No. 17 in the ATP Rankings, he is the lowest ranked Australian Open champion since No. 18 Thomas Johansson won the title in 2002.

But the Swiss right-hander, who spent 302 weeks atop the rankings, is now set to return to the Top 10 at No. 10 on Monday. The Swiss superstar now 18-10 in major finals.

For Nadal, he has come a long way from crying in the car on the way back to the hotel after injury forced him out of Roland Garros before he could step on court for his third-round match. He would later call on his 2016 campaign after a second-round defeat in Shanghai in October, not able to continue any more with his wrist the way it was.

The Spanish left-hander is now set to rise to No. 6 in the ATP Rankings after returning to his best to reach his 21st Grand Slam final (14-7 record).

“Congratulations to Roger and his team. Its just amazing, the way he's playing after such a long time without being on the tour,” Nadal said of Federer. “It's very difficult to make that happen. Well done, I feel very happy for you.”

Federer hit 73 winners, including 20 aces, and won 76 per cent of his first service points. Nadal, who went 4/17 in break points won, committed 28 unforced errors - 29 fewer than Federer. The Swiss is now 12-23 in their ATP Head to Head series.

Match Report:

First Set: The hyperbole surrounding a final between these two all-time greats did not appear to affect Nadal or Federer in the opening exchanges of their 35th meeting - and fourth on Melbourne soil. Predictably, each player centred their tactics on targeting backhand wings and opening up the court - yet through the first six games there were two love holds. The battle for baseline dominance reached fever pitch at 3-3, when Nadal failed to consistently hit his first serves into court and Federer seized the initiative courtesy of a forehand drive volley for two break points. The pressure mounted on Nadal, the longer the rally went on at 15/40. Ultimately, he struck a crosscourt backhand wide. The Rod Laver Arena, largely pro-Federer, erupted at the first service break of a high-quality opening. Federer consolidated the break with a love hold for a 5-3 advantage and later hit two aces to secure the 34-minute set.

Second Set: The level of play ratcheted up with Nadal winning six of the first seven points. Federer was drawn to the net by Nadal, whose groundstroke depth rushed the Swiss into error. Nadal earned his first service break when Federer mis-hit a forehand for a 2-0 lead, prior to a testing third game. Nadal led 30/0, but lost the next three points and was forced to save two break points as terrific athleticism and elasticity by 35-year-old Federer belied his age. Trailing 0-4, Federer loosened up and Nadal’s relentless groundstroke length faltered, momentarily. At 30/40, Nadal went all-out on a forehand down the line, but Federer was able to flick a forehand back and into an open court to break. Nadal held his nerve and with two straight love holds, he clinched the set when when Federer struck a forehand long.

Third Set: Federer got out of jail in the first game. Having led 40/0, Nadal won five straight points but was ultimately unable to convert three break point opportunities - as Federer struck an ace each time. Having edged through, Federer seized the momentum by breaking Nadal for a 2-0 lead. A sublime backhand half volley down the line at 30/30 did the damage, followed by a deep backhand return that Nadal attempted to run around to hit a forehand into an open court. The Spaniard ran out of time and the pressure further mounted when Federer went on to hold to love for 3-0. At this stage, Federer was zoning on his backhand, quick in his movement to his forehand, and was not allowing Nadal time to recover with a number of drive volley winners. Nadal continued to battle and came through a nine-minute game for 1-3, saving three break points, but emotion, frustration got the better of him and two games later he was broken to 30. Federer then saved two break points to complete a remarkable turnaround, after overcoming the pressure of the opening game, with a backhand drop volley winner. For the first time in his ninth Grand Slam final against Nadal, he led two sets to one.

Fourth Set: One mental lapse on an easy forehand at the start of the fourth game cost Federer dear, as Nadal soon wrestled away the momentum. At 15/40, Federer was drawn to the net to retrieve a low backhand but stretched and volleyed into the net. Nadal’s mental strength was undimmed a game later, when he produced a tremendous flicked crosscourt forehand winner - at full stretch - off a fine Federer backhand crosscourt angle for a 4-1 advantage. At the change of ends, Federer applauded after watching the big screen replay. Federer held for 3-5, forcing Nadal to close out the 40-minute set - which he did courtesy of a Federer backhand into the net. Nadal went into the decider knowing he’d won three of their previous five five-setters.

Fifth Set: Federer returned after an off-court medical time out to serve first in the decider. The time lapse provided respite, but not for the Swiss who lost the first two points. Under pressure, Federer went after Nadal’s backhand and saved one break point, but a forehand error at 30/40 gifted Nadal the break. Nadal then saved three break points for a big hold that got his coach, Uncle Toni, out of his seat. But Federer, who received on-court treatment on his right thigh at the 1-2 change of ends, wasn’t finished. Federer kept applying the pressure, playing as close to the baseline as he could, and in the next game forced Nadal to rip a backhand crosscourt winner at break point. Although Nadal maintained his break advantage for a 3-1 lead, the match could turn on its head with a moment of brilliance. It did in the sixth game, with Federer levelling the score at 3-3 on his second break point chance when Nadal struck an in-out forehand wide. Nadal showcased terrific mental fortitude at 3-4 when he recovered from 0/40 and saved four break points, but Federer was relentlessly aggressive and controlled the baseline. At the fifth time of asking, the Swiss broke when Nadal was drawn out wide to hit a forehand into the net. With new balls, and some nerves, Federer went on to save two break points and close out his 100th match at Melbourne Park for an emotional - and memorable - 18th Grand Slam championship crown.

Date: 29 January 2017, Source: ATP

Federer beats Wawrinka in five sets to reach sixth Australian Open final

Roger Federer will attempt to win his 18th Grand Slam championship crown against his old foe Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday after a battling performance in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The 35-year-old Swiss superstar, who recently returned to top-level tennis after a six-month injury lay-off, booked a spot in his 28th Grand Slam final with a 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 victory over his compatriot Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 titlist and fourth seed. Federer will now compete for his fifth crown in his sixth Australian Open final on Sunday night, when he will attempt to become the first No. 17 seed to win a major since Pete Sampras won the final professional match of his career at the 2002 US Open.

“I will leave it all out here in Australia and if I can't walk for another five months, that's OK,” said Federer about his sixth Australian Open final on Sunday.

Federer, who is now 86-13 at the Australian Open, would take a 5-0 advantage over No. 15 seed Dimitrov into his 28th Grand Slam championship final (17-10 record). But he trails 14-time major winner and 2009 champion Nadal 11-23 in their ATP Head to Head series. Dimitrov and Nadal contest their semi-final on Friday night.

“I know I will have a chance to win on Sunday now,” said Federer. “That's a great position to be in. Regardless of who it's going to be against, I think it's going to be special either way. One is going to go for his first Slam or it's the epic battle with Rafa. All I care about is that I can win on Sunday. It doesn't matter who's across the net. But I understand the magnitude of the match against Nadal, no doubt about it.”

Federer will re-enter the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings at No. 10 should he lift the trophy on Sunday. He is looking to become the second oldest player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam crown after Australian’s Ken Rosewall, who won 3 Grand Slam titles after turning 35. Rosewall won the 1970 US Open (aged 35 years, 315 days) and the Australian Open in 1971 (36 years, 73 days) and 1972 (37 years, 62 days). Rosewall was 39 when he reached the 1974 US Open final.

“We don't speak about Ken Rosewall enough. I think he's a wonderful man. He wrote me a letter again this week to wish me well again. He does it every year at the Australian Open,” Federer said. “I know he's a few years older, but I know he had a tremendous career. So to be in the same breath like these guys, it's a great feeling. I love these guys. It means a lot to me to have equalled something like this since a long time.”

Federer has not reached a major final since September 2015 at the US Open (l. to Djokovic) and not won a major title since July 2012 at Wimbledon (d. Murray).

Federer defeated three Top 10 players to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time and it is just the second time he has won two five-set matches before the final, as he did en route to his French Open triumph in 2009.

Federer's low expectations coming into the Australian Open - he eyed the quarter-finals - helped propel him past Wawrinka in the fifth set.

“I was talking to myself, saying like, 'Just relax, man. The comeback is so great already. Let it fly off your racquet and just see what happens,'” Federer said. “I think that's the mindset I got to have, as well, in the finals. Sort of a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's been nice these last six matches to have that mentality. It worked very well so I'll keep that up.”

Wawrinka called Federer “the best player ever” and said Federer “can do anything he wants on the court.” “He's an amazing player to watch and to see on the court. He's flying on the court. He's playing amazing tennis.

“I'm proud of myself, of the fight I gave tonight and all the tournament. I think there is a lot of positives from this tournament, from Brisbane, from this month already. I'm really sad and disappointed with a loss like this. I had a great battle against Roger. He's a great fighter. He's always been amazing in Grand Slams, in five-set matches. But I know there is a lot of positives,” said Wawrinka.

Federer applied early pressure, forcing Wawrinka to recover from 0/40 on serve at 1-2. Although Federer came through his own test, from 15/40 in the next game, he did do a good job of keeping Wawrinka off-balance by varying the direction of his groundstrokes. Federer survived a break point at 5-5, 30/40 and was soon gifted two straight errors from Wawrinka to take the 50-minute opener.

In the second set, Wawrinka went into meltdown at 2-3 when two errors saw his serve get broken – as well as a racquet - to give Federer full control of their 22nd meeting. Although Wawrinka continued to battle, he left the court close to tears at the end of the second set. The 31 year old would now need to come back from an 0-2 sets deficit for the seventh time in his career.

With strapping just below his right knee, following an off-court medical time-out, Wawrinka took his first tentative steps. Initially slow to move off his right leg, he grew in confidence and broke Federer’s serve with a forehand winner for a 3-1 advantage. Federer’s intensity dropped and two more breaks soon followed for Wawrinka. In a run of six games, Wawrinka led 1-0 in the fourth set.

Although Federer broke back immediately for 1-1, fast forward to 4-4 and he was in big trouble at 0/40. Federer saved two break points with well-directed serves, but terrific movement from Wawrinka at 30/40 enabled him to flick a forehand crosscourt winner to break. The capacity crowd, including the great Rod Laver, were left stunned as the match went to a fifth and deciding set. Federer took the time to leave the court for treatment.

“I felt tightness in my leg throughout the match, and I felt like it slowed me down,” said Federer. “I just hoped that maybe having the physio work on it, that it would make me feel better. But it didn't. It's not something I'm necessarily really worried about in any way. So that's a good thing.”

Wawrinka narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 1-1, 30/40, with Federer in a perilous position at the net. Wawrinka then recovered from 0/30 in the next game, before missing another break point at 2-2. When Wawrinka struck a mid-court backhand long at 2-3, 15/30, the match turned in Federer’s favour. Federer was not to be denied and, having closed out the match to love, he will now play his 100th match at the Australian Open against Nadal or Dimitrov in Sunday's final.

Federer, who is now 19-3 lifetime against Wawrinka (and a winner in all of their hard-court meetings), hit 47 winners, including 11 aces. He also converted four of his nine break point opportunities for victory in three hours and four minutes. Wawrinka, who saw his 12-match winning streak at Grand Slams come to an end, went 4/12 on break points, but went 56/86 on first serve points in comparison to 62/86 for Federer.

Date: 26 January 2017, Source: ATP and AP

Federer to play Wawrinka at Australian Open semi-final

Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer is back in the semifinals for the 13th time in his career, setting up an all-Swiss showdown with No.4 seed and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka after racing past Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2.

“Feeling as good as I am, playing as good as I am, that's a huge surprise to me,” said Federer.

“I'm pleased with the way I started the match,” said Federer. “Right away, again, I got off to a great start against him, as I did against him a few years ago. After that, naturally everything's easier. The second set was definitely a key to shut it down for him. It was good that I was able to break back after he played a good game there. Then in the third set, I think, I was rolling. It was a nice match. I think I played great. Mischa had a wonderful tournament, so well done to him.”

The 35-year-old Federer leads Wawrinka, the fourth seed, 18-3 in their ATP Head to Head series. Pete Sampras, who won the final match of his career in the 2002 US Open final, was the last No. 17 seed to capture a major title.

“If someone would have told me I'd play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that," said Federer, who returned from a six-month injury lay-off at the start of 2017. “For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn't even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I'm in his section. I figured it out eventually that he was playing on my days, but I never really looked in that quarter of the draw because that was just too unrealistic for me.

“To play against Stan I have to play aggressive, the more time I give him the better he is. I'm happy he's got this far but he doesn't need to go a step further - Stan knows I'm joking.”

Federer took advantage of early nerves for 29-year-old Zverev by winning the first five games - and losing seven points. The first set lasted 20 minutes.

World No. 50 Zverev regrouped and covered the net to keep Federer on the back foot, but, ultimately, was left to rue a missed volley that could have edged him closer to a 4-1 lead. The doubts started to set in and Federer sensed his opportunity, fighting back to break to love for a 6-5 lead.

Zverev kept battling, but his resistance faltered in the fifth game and a 26-point seventh game of the third set. Federer hit 65 winners overall, committing just 13 unforced errors in the one-hour and 32-minute encounter.

“I think he did not really let me play,” said Zverev. “It's more like his shots were a little bit different than Andy Murray. It was definitely hard to read where he was going, where he's returning. He just has so many more options. How he can, like, outplay me or pass me. It was different, definitely different.”

Federer is the oldest men's singles semi-finalist at the tournament since Arthur Ashe in 1978, and the oldest at any Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors reached the 1991 US Open last four aged 39. He is now 85-13 at the Australian Open - the most match wins he has amassed at any of the four majors.

Wawrinka beat French No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets earlier in the day.

“Against Roger, it's always special because he's so good. He's the best player of all time,” said the three-time Grand Slam winner.

“He has an answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam, so we'll see.

“It's great to see him back at that level. Hopefully I can manage to play a great match.”

Date: 24 January 2017, Source: ATP and BBC

Federer outlasts Nishikori in five sets for QF berth

Roger Federer dug in his heels to stop Kei Nishikori on Sunday at the Australian Open, rallying past the fifth seed 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and 23 minutes. Federer secured a milestone 200th win over a Top 10 opponent, becoming the first active player to achieve the feat.

"It's great," Federer said following his victory over Nishikori. "I didn't know it going in. I just know I played a lot of tennis. I ran a lot. Obviously I want to play really well against the best players. I was able to do that sometimes, but tonight was special, no doubt about it. Going five against Kei here on Rod Laver Arena with the comeback, it's definitely very special. A fitting way to celebrate that milestone."

"He played his heart out and I thought he played a great match, I'm happy to be a part of it," said Federer. "He was hanging tough and playing really well on the big points. I was telling myself to stay calm and this is what I trained for in the offseason. This is a big moment for me in my career."

The four-time champion exhibited great resolve in fighting back for his 25th career five-set victory. He will feature in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the 13th time in the last 14 years, with a date against Mischa Zverev awaiting on Tuesday. Federer won their previous two ATP Head to Head encounters, most recently on the grass of Halle in 2013.

Federer fired a staggering 83 winners, including 24 aces, while converting seven of 18 break chances. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the 17th seed. Striking the ball with conviction and peppering the Federer backhand early and often, Nishikori burst out of the gates, breaking twice in a row for a 5-1 first-set lead. The Japanese was more aggressive in the initial stages, jumping on Federer's second serve and crashing the net frequently.

But the Swiss stayed the course, slowly chipping away at Nishikori's lead and eventually drawing level at 5-all. Nishikori would take the opener in a tie-break, but momentum had swung firmly in his opponent's corner. Federer streaked to a two-sets-to-one lead and later snatched a quick break for 2-0 in the decider, after Nishikori sent the match the distance. He would emerge victorious on his first match point with an emphatic overhead smash.

"I didn't expect him to play this well from the start and that put me on the back foot for the remainder of the match to some extent," added Federer. "But I was able to wrestle it back in my favour. I got myself into the match and started to play the good sets that I knew I could. The question was could I hang with Kei until the very end. I was able to do that, so I'm super happy.

"You have a game plan and he's got a game plan. Sometimes it doesn't match up the right way for you. He was quick out of the blocks. I was accepting it and moving on with it, trying to at least find some sort of a rhythm going into the second set. I was still upbeat about my chances after that first set. I think it gave me something coming back into that set actually."

Federer improved to 5-2 against Nishikori in their ATP Head to Head series, meeting for the first time since the Swiss prevailed in their group stage match at the 2015 ATP Finals. The Japanese saw his three-match win streak in five-setters snapped, falling to 14-6 in his career.

"I'm really disappointed to lose like this, especially after I started really well," said Nishikori, who exited in the Aussie Open fourth round for the third time in five years. "I missed some chances from 5-2 in the first set and I think I let him come back. He was playing good tennis especially in the middle, the second and third sets. I maybe had some chances in fifth set to come back in the match, but he was way too strong."

Date: 22 January 2017, Source: ATP