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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.

27.01.2009

ATP - THE PERFECT MATCH

Roger showed some of the best tennis of his career today, blowing away Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open: 6-3, 6-0, 6-0.

"I thought it would be a long match," Roger said after his terrific display. "His level dropped considerately towards the end, but you have to get him to that point first. I'm happy not to have wasted any further energy after the five sets against Berdych."

Del Potro is regarded as one of the rising stars of men's tennis, having stormed up the rankings from No.65 midway through last year. But he had a nightmare match on Tuesday night, cast in the role of mouse to Roger's cat, as our former world No.1 toyed with his opponent before producing a swift kill.

Roger playfully pulled off an audacious array of shots from all parts of the court just two days after being forced to come back from two sets down against Tomas Berdych.
The first set was effectively over by the fourth game, when our three-time champion broke 20-year-old Del Potro for a 3-1 lead and served out. By the second set, the match was a procession. Roger reeled off 13 games in a row - taking the set 6-0 and picking up three consecutive breaks in the third as a visibly deflated Del Potro struggled to maintain interest in a match that, in his head, he had already lost. And so it proved as a clinical Roger showed no mercy, serving two aces in the final game as he finished off his demoralised opponent in emphatic style.

Roger is looking forward to meeting Andy Roddick in the semifinal. He does, after all, boast a 15-2 head-to-head record over the American seventh seed. He will have particularly fond memories of his last Australian Open meeting with Roddick, when he gave up just six games in winning their semi-final two years ago. However, their last competitive meeting saw the American emerge victorious at the Miami Masters last year.

25.01.2009

ATP - ROGER FIGHTS BACK FROM TWO SETS DOWN!

Roger survived an early scare today before bouncing Tomas Berdych (ATP 21) out of the Australian Open with a heroic comeback from two sets down: 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2!

"I am very proud of my performance today. Tomas puts great power in his forehand, backhand and also his serve. That's what makes playing him that difficult. There was loads of adrenalin in the match today, I had to keep pushing myself forward. I then managed to commit less errors, I served well, that was the key. I am very happy with the result - I was, after all, almost on the plane back home already."

It was only Roger's fourth career recovery from the depths, he also preserved a Grand Slam quarter-final run dating back five years. Our champ had difficulties right from the start, losing serve five times in the first three sets. Only after reducing the amount of errors from the third set on did he take the lead.
Roger will meet Juan Martin Del Potro (ATP 6) in the quarter finals. Roger has won all three encounters with the Argentine so far.

23.01.2009

ATP - A BRILLIANT DISPLAY

Roger powered into the next round of the Australian Open today, defeating fellow former champion Marat Safin in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

"It's special to play Marat, we go way back. I think we like playing each other. It doesn't matter who wins, it is always a good contest," our champ said.

The two ex-number ones have met in Melbourne twice before, with Roger winning the 2004 final and Safin winning a classic semi a year later en-route to the title.

Roger had a close look at Safin's serve in the fifth game of the first set and pounced in the seventh, creaming a backhand down the line and snapping up the first break point on a double fault. Roger whipped another backhand to break early in the second and went a double break up with a heavy forehand before sealing the set with a simple volley.

A furious Safin berated the line judge when he was foot-faulted in the third set tie-break and charged back from 4-1 down but Roger blazed an ace and service winner and took the first match point with another memorable backhand.

Roger will play Tomas Berdych (ATP 21) in the next round and is on track to meet defending champion Djokovic in the semi-finals.

21.01.2009

OFF COURT - FEDERER’S NO. 1 FOCUS

Having been deposed to World No. 2, does Roger Federer have what it takes physically and mentally to become just the second player after Ivan Lendl to reclaim his place as ATP World Tour Champion?

As 2009 begins, Roger Federer has entered a new phase of his career that is potentially daunting, dangerous and distinctive. Daunting because he is trying to earn back his No. 1 ranking. Dangerous because the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and a host of rising new stars are nipping at Federer’s heels, eager to step up and make their own mark on tennis history. But, yes, distinctive because the possibility is afoot that Federer in 2009 could join Ivan Lendl as the only former ATP World Tour Champion to finish the year ranked at the top of the ATP computer after losing that spot.

Over the last half-decade, the 27-year-old Swiss had set the bar so high even he joked that, “I’ve created a monster.” Holding the World No. 1 ranking for a record 237 consecutive weeks, Federer took the concept of dominance to entirely new levels.

Though 2008 was a year most players dream of – three Grand Slam finals, including his fifth straight US Open title – it was also a year of tumult and challenge. As Federer said the evening of his win in New York, “To bounce back straight away after losing the No. 1 ranking, this is the best scenario ever.”

Federer’s frustrating year kicked off with a bout of mononucleosis that cast a shadow over his physical health and mental confidence. Not until April did he earn his first ATP title of the year. No sooner had spring ended with a rough loss in the Roland Garros finals to Rafael Nadal than summer commenced with an epic defeat at Wimbledon.

“I was always positive,” said Federer as he reflected on his frustrating 2008, acknowledging that things didn’t always work in his favour. “I lost quite a few matches I should have never lost, and they hurt.”

The notion of a vulnerable Federer, of a king seeking to reclaim his throne, has only enhanced appreciation for his incredible tennis legacy. One man with particularly keen empathy for his plight is Ivan Lendl. Twenty years ago, Lendl too had lost his No. 1 ranking after holding the top spot for 157 consecutive weeks. Like Federer, Lendl was thoroughly committed, disciplined and willing to put in the long hours – and make the personal sacrifices – required to hold the top spot.

Federer and Lendl also shared their enjoyment of holding the top spot. While the likes of John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Jim Courier and Yevgeny Kafelnikov struggled emotionally with being the hunted instead of the hunter, for Lendl, the view from the penthouse was splendid.

“Being No. 1 was great,” says Lendl. “There were a lot of perks, and really no pressure, because the way I see it pressure is self-created. Pressure is all about expectations, which is quite different than winning tennis matches.”

Like Federer, Lendl had been deposed by a man who had first made his mark on clay – Mats Wilander – but in due time broadened his game to excel on all surfaces. While Nadal’s rise to the top was triggered by a win over Federer at Wimbledon, Wilander also won an epic, beating Lendl in a five-set thriller in the finals of the 1988 US Open, a victory that ended Lendl’s three-year run in New York.

Unlike Federer, who’s won three Australian Open titles, Lendl began 1989 never having won Down Under. He worked feverishly in the off-season with his coach, Tony Roche, the legendary Aussie who from 2005 to May 2007 was also Federer’s coach, and arrived in Melbourne in superb shape.

With on-court temperatures during that 1989 Australian soaring past 160 degrees Fahrenheit, Lendl won the title. It was the first of 10 tournaments he’d win that year, an effort that made him the ATP World Tour Champion at the age of 29. But as Lendl ponders Federer, he sees the Swiss pursuing even bigger game – just one title away from matching Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam record.

“Roger is looking at a different goal now,” says Lendl. “He’s trying to pass Pete so he can have that record and considered the greatest player ever. Winning the Australian can ease the pressure.” There’s no question that a player who’s been No. 1 for an extended period of time generates the scrutiny of the occupant of a fish bowl. Just about anyone who’s ever toted a racquet had thoughts last year on what was plaguing Federer, how he could improve, tactics and techniques he must employ to beat Nadal and regain his preeminence.

“No, I don’t think it got me, but I was aware of it,” Federer said of all the armchair analysis conducted on his behalf. “Sometimes to a point a bit annoyed, because all sorts of crazy people started writing me. You’re laughing but it’s just the way it goes. People come out of the closet and think they can start helping me now. It’s just a pain.”

But however disturbed Federer was by what Sampras used to call “commentary,” throughout much of 2008 he was not commanding the court the way he previously had.

And then, like all champions, he found a way to get inspired. It came from an unusual source – but a familiar one to Federer. The Olympics had always been meaningful to him. His fellow Swiss, Marc Rosset, had earned a gold medal in the singles at the 1992 Barcelona Games the summer Federer turned 11, a moment he remembered quite well. Eight years later, Federer began his romance with his current girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, he was very upset upon losing to Tomas Berdych.

So it was that this past summer in Beijing, despite losing in the quarter-finals of the singles to James Blake, Federer found himself keenly motivated in the doubles. Paired with Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer competed with increased passion, showing off impressive aggression – and, upon winning, exceptional emotion.

“Right now this is quite a surreal moment,” Federer said as he held up his gold medal. “The joy of sharing this victory with somebody else who I like very much, who we had a great two weeks with, we’ve mentally been preparing for hopefully this moment, it’s quite different to anything I’ve ever gone through.”

The doubles win rekindled his spirits both emotionally and tactically. At the US Open, Federer showed more of a willingness to move forward, come to net and press opponents. As his childhood hero, Stefan Edberg, noted recently, “He must have realised the need to be more offensive in his game. He has to play more serve and volley and get in more variation so that he can come back to where he was."

The history of former ATP World Tour Champions attempting to regain their spot is sobering. Bjorn Borg held the top ranking at the end of 1979 and ’80, dropped to four in ’81 – and announced his retirement a year later. After a four-year run as No. 1, John McEnroe slipped to two in ’85 and finished ’86 ranked 14 (though he’d rise back to four in ’89). Wilander reached the pinnacle in ’88, but as Lendl pointed out, “that was the end of Mats,” who within a year of that US Open win was out of the Top 10 for good. Lleyton Hewitt, the youngest man ever to finish as the ATP World Tour Champion two straight years in 2001-02, also saw his ranking slide into double digits in ’03.

Lendl has a hard time believing Federer is in such a precarious position. “One thing Roger has in his favor is that everything comes so much easier for him,” says Lendl. “He can win points more easily. That’s never the case with Nadal, who’s more like Mats in that he has to get an opponent to miss or come up with a passing shot. Guys like Roger, McEnroe, even myself, we could hit a lot of winners, so there’s not the need to grind as much match after match.”

So with 2009 underway, what can we expect from Roger Federer? More emotion? Perhaps, but don’t expect him to ape Jimmy Connors’s fist-pumping. More sorties to the net? Quite likely, but he’ll never charge forward repeatedly in the manner of Edberg. While the great champions certainly learn and borrow techniques and tactics from other all-timers, what makes them excel is their ability to successfully execute their own personal style. “I imitated lots of players when I was growing up,” says Federer. “But eventually there comes a time when you have to do what works for you, to build your own game and playing style.”

Says Lendl, “Roger’s on his way to becoming the greatest player ever.” Asked what counsel he’d give Federer now, Lendl spoke with signature bluntness: “Advice? Roger doesn’t need any. Just go and get it.”

21.01.2009

ATP - ROGER EASES INTO NEXT ROUND

Roger cruised into round three of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Evgeny Korolev. He will next face another Russian in Marat Safin, who beat him in the 2005 semifinals.

"I'm happy to be playing Marat," Roger said. "We've had some battles over the years."

Today's victory saw our champ move above Boris Becker into seventh place for the most open era grand slam match wins with a 165-25 win-loss record. The first set took just 28 minutes as Roger got two early breaks, thanks largely to the 20-year-old's 15 unforced errors, to go 5-1 up and then claim the first set 6-2. His opponent showed plenty of tenacity and at times a little audacity, to extend the rallies but ultimately it was futile. The second set went with serve until the eighth game when Roger got the breakthrough and then served out for the set and he broke the Russian twice early in the third to race to a 4-0 lead. Korolev held to make it 4-1 but with the youngster's unforced error count mounting Roger closed out the game with ease in one hour 27 minutes.


Roger has beaten Safin nine times but lost out in a classic semi-final at Melbourne Park in 2005, when the Russian claimed the title.

19.01.2009

ATP - ROGER BREEZES THROUGH

Roger got his bid for a record 14th Grand Slam title underway today with a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory over Andreas Seppi.

"He is a very tough customer, he played really well," Roger said of the 35th-ranked Seppi. "I think I played well, too. I had to."

Our champ was at his best on the big points on the opening day. He certainly raced through the first set but seemed to take his foot off the accelerator in the second. He managed to win the match without dropping a single service game but he had to save ten break points.


He faces Russian qualifier Evgeny Korolev (ATP 118, a cousin of Anna Kurnikowa) in the next round.

17.01.2009

ATP - 'A WONDERFUL PREPARATION'

After his 6-1 6-3 win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the AAMI Classic Roger described it as "wonderful preparation" for the Australian Open.

Roger did not make his Davis Cup teammate any presents, displaying breathtaking tennis in front of a sell-out crowd during 57 minutes. He broke three times in the opening set before wrapping it up in 27 minutes. He was in no mood to hang about ahead of his Australian Open first-round clash against Andreas Seppi and closed out the second set in spectacular fashion.

"It was a wonderful preparation for all the players for the Australian Open. I don't want to get too excited about it - but I think I played a really great match today against Stan," said our 13-time grand slam champion after collecting his trophy. "I'm happy I played my best tennis at the very end."

Roger will play his first round at the Australian Open against Andreas Seppi on Monday.

16.01.2009

ATP - AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAW

The Australian Open draw was revealed this morning. Roger may face two former top-ranked Grand Slam champions during the first week of the Australian Open as he bids for a record-tying 14th major championship.


He will play Andreas Seppi (ITA/ATP 34) in his opening match and is in line to meet 1998 French Open champion Carlos Moya (ESP/ ATP 41) in the second round. Marat Safin (RUS/ATP 27), who beat Roger in the 2005 Melbourne semifinals en route to the title, is a possible third-round opponent.

A purely Swiss encounter would be possible in the round of the last 16, as Roger and Stan Wawrinka have landed in the same part of the draw. They will already play each other in the final of the AAMI Classic in Kooyong tomorrow, by the way!


In the quarter finals Roger could meet Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG/ATP 9); Novak Djokovic (SRB/ATP 3) and Andy Roddick (USA/ATP 8) are also in that part of the draw.

Link:
Australian Open draw

15.01.2009

ATP - ROGER FLIES INTO FINAL

Roger got in a good workout as he won the semifinal of the AAMI Classic today, holding off Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) at the Australian Open tune-up event.

"I'll play enough tennis this week, it's better to be on the match court," said our champ. "The second set wasn't the best of levels, he was struggling with the sun and I couldn't capitalise." After advancing on opening day in 57 minutes against Carlos Moya, Roger said that going three sets was fine.

He will await the winner of Friday's Promotion round match at the eight-man Australian Open tune-up, which will see his Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka face Chile's Fernando Gonzalez.

14.01.2009

ATP - ROGER STARTS SUCCESSFULLY

Roger has started his preparation for the Australian Open well. He defeated Spaniard Carlos Moya in the AAMI Classic at Kooyong with ease 6-2, 6-3.


The match lasted just 57 minutes with Roger bouncing back from defeats to Andy Murray in Abu Dhabi and in Doha."I was a little rusty in the beginning, missed quite a few forehands, but I thought it was a good match overall," he said. "There were a few gusts of wind, which makes it not easy to play, but I felt like I was playing okay today."


Roger's next opponent will be Spanish Davis Cup hero Fernando Verdasco, who had little trouble defeating rising Croatian star Marin Cilic 6-2 7-5. Roger will be looking to add to his tally of 13 Grand Slam victories at Melbourne Park next week.

15.01.2009

OFF COURT - THE SPIRIT OF A CHAMPION

The Spirit of a Champion is a three-part series discovering where it all began for Roger and uncovering who the man behind the trophies really is. The great footage looks at how Roger turned from a racket-throwing teenager into a calm composed champion, and includes interviews with his first coach, his family and other top international tennis players.

The series is broadcast on BBC, Saturdays at 1330 GMT (Repeated: 2130, Sundays at 0330 GMT, 1030 GMT & 1730 GMT, view your local programme times).
You can also take a look at some of the material on YouTube, simply follow the link below and enjoy!

Link:
The Spirit of a Champion



09.01.2009

ATP - MURRAY TOO STRONG ONCE MORE

Roger unfortunately was not able to stop Andy Murray, losing the semifinal of the Qatar Open 7-6 (6), 2-6, 2-6. Murray's career record against Roger now is 5-2 in tour matches.

"It is disappointing to lose after the first set when things were going my way," Roger said. "I just couldn't give the knockout punch. But it is not a big thing. Andy is a tough player against me. I hope when big matches come, I beat him."

Our champ committed four double faults and had 37 unforced errors, the same number as his winners. In the first set, Roger raced to a 4-1 lead as he dominated Murray from the baseline with his backhand. The Scot then took advantage of a few unforced errors to pull even at 5-5. Roger, the 2005 and 2006 winner in Qatar, fought back to fend off a set point, and served out the set with an ace and a forehand winner, clenching his fist.


Roger's level of play dropped in the second set, as he made seven unforced errors against Murray’s three. A double service break handed the Scot the second set 6-2, as he took advantage of two double faults in one service game. In the final set, Murray was leading 2-1 when he stopped to get treatment on his lower back from the tournament trainer after showing pain after hitting a serve. Roger, who is one major short of tying Pete Sampras’s record 14 Grand Slam victories, had his serve broken in the next game as the Scot consistently attacked his backhand; then going on to win the match.

Next up is the AAMI Classic in Kooyong, the last preparation for the Australian Open starting on January 19th.

08.01.2009

ATP - NEXT UP: ANDY MURRAY

Roger has reached the semifinals in Doha after defeating eighth-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 7-6 (6). The world's number one, Rafael Nadal, has dropped out of the tournament.


Roger even had a 4-1 lead in the second set when his opponent raised his level remarkably, taking the set to a tie-break. It was the first time in their third encounter that Kohlschreiber was able to do so. But Roger faced the three set-points successfully and managed to take home the set and match after a fantastic forehand winner. It was his 15th victory in his 16th match in Qatar.

Roger's semifinal opponent on Friday will be the surging Murray, who handled Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-2 in today's nightcap. The third-seeded Murray is the reigning Doha champ, having beaten Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in last year's finale . Roger captured the Doha event back-to-back in 2005 and 2006.

07.01.2009

ATP - ROGER EASES INTO QUARTERS

Roger booked his place in the quarters with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi. Our star was not always at his best and was broken once but still came through unscathed in 1 hour 19 minutes.


"I hit five times as many balls in this match as in the last one, which is good for me at this stage", Roger said. "I'm satisfied with my level at the moment. To a degree I know where my game is but as the tournament progresses you get tougher opponents and you tend to play as well as your opponent."


Roger will next meet eighth-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Belgian Kristof Vliegen. Roger has won the two matches against world no. 28 Kohlschreiber.

06.01.2009

ATP - IMPRESSIVE START

Roger eased past Potito Starace of Italy with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win. "It's good to start the year with a win. The conditions were tough. It was cold and windy. For your first match you always feel the nerves. You're always careful when you start playing points. But I practiced enough, giving myself enough opportunity for matchplay", Roger said.

He added: "It's good to play a tournament with similar court and similar balls as the Australian Open. It's better and easier for everyone, because we don't have to make further adjustments before Melbourne. If it was just a bit warmer, it would be just perfect. I'm excited about this month. It's a big one, and hopefully it will give me momentum for the rest of the season."


Roger will next meet Andreas Seppy of Italy. The Italian beat Denis Gremelmayr of Germany in two sets.

04.01.2009

OFF COURT - ROGER AND RAFA LAUNCH ATP WORLD TOUR

Roger and Rafa helped launch the 2009 ATP World Tour in spectacular fashion on Sunday with a unique game of tennis aboard a traditional Arabian Dhow in Doha Bay.

On a specially designed onboard court floating in the Persian Gulf, the special match, between the world's two best players, also marked the start of the year-long race to crown the official 2009 ATP World Tour Champion. It was the pair's first meeting since the Wimbledon final in July last year.

Rafa and Roger are the top two seeds at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2009 played in Doha from January 5-10.

04.01.2009

ATP - CAN ROGER MAKE IT THREE?

Roger will open the official 2009 season at the Qatar Open. Our star has won the title in Doha twice, in 2005 and 2006. This year, he will face Potito Starace of Italy in the first round and could meet Andy Murray in the semifinals. Roger is 3-0 against the Italian.


It's going to be an interesting week for Roger. With Djokovic’s triumph at the Masters Cup, the Serb is just 10 points shy of our champ. Djokovic would be able to take the #2 ranking from Roger by doing better in Brisbane than Roger does in Doha. Roger can definitively secure his #2 rank by winning the tournament. Roger is 11-0 against all possible opponents before the Murray clash.

02.01.2009

ATP - ROGER LOSES FIRST MATCH

Andy Murray has beaten Roger 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6) to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Roger won the first set but Murray bounced back to complete the victory and set up a final against Nikolay Davydenko or Rafael Nadal.

"It's been a great start but unfortunately I couldn't come through in the end," said Roger. "But Andy's had a fantastic end to the year and he looks in great shape again."

Roger was happy to get a hard match at the start of his season and, despite last year not being his best, he would take the same again for 2009.
"Hopefully I can just have another terrible year with only just the one grand slam and that will be just fine."