Federer honoured with Trio of Awards following opening win

World No. 1 Roger Federer was honored on court Sunday evening at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, receiving three ATP Awards following a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1 win over Romanian Victor Hanescu in the second round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament.

ATP Executive Chairman and President Adam Helfant presented the 28-year-old Swiss with trophies for 2009 Player of the Year, ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favorite Player of the Year presented by RICOH, and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.

“I’d like to thank the fans for voting for me,” Federer said to the crowd after receiving the Fan Favorite Award for a seventh straight year. “You guys are amazing. Thank you. As you know, you guys make this even more worthwhile traveling around the globe from January to November. I love coming back here, so it’s very nice to get presented the awards here.”

A video tribute celebrating Federer’s career followed the presentation.

“Receiving those awards is always a nice thing,” he said at the post-match press conference. “Those are things that got voted for by other people, especially fellow players or fans, it's something that's very touching. Then on top of the that, the video was nice, sitting there, sharing the moment with the fans, watching it, as well at the same time. It's emotional.”

American John Isner also received his trophy Sunday as the Most Improved Player of the Year, following a 2009 season that saw him climb from No. 145 to a year-end best No. 34 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

Hanescu delayed Federer’s awards presentation by 22 minutes after fighting back to level the match. The Romanian finally broke Federer’s serve as he capitalized on his sixth break point to assume a 4-2 lead. Though Federer managed to recover the service break three games later, he was forced to play catch-up throughout the tie-break. He netted a volley to give the Romanian set point, and Hanescu took advantage.

A business-like Federer returned in the third set. He won the opening three games, broke his opponent again to establish a 5-1 lead and served out the match at love. The Swiss finished with 62 winners to Hanescu’s 20.

“I was happy with the way I played,” he said. “Not having played for so long, I thought it was a good match overall. Missed maybe some of the clutch serving when I really needed it. Let's say 30-all, deuce I couldn't really get that one perfect serve I was sometimes looking for, but that's something that happens.”

The Swiss, who had been briefly sidelined with a lung infection last month, was making his first appearance since winning his 16th Grand Slam title in January at the Australian Open. He also defeated Hanescu in the second round of that tournament.

Federer is looking to reclaim the Indian Wells crown after winning three straight titles from 2004-06. He next faces Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, whom he has defeated in their six previous encounters, including four years ago in the Australian Open final.

The 27th-seeded Baghdatis fought off six set points to prevent Frenchman Arnaud Clement from taking the one-set lead, and then broke open the match to complete a 7-6(7), 6-1 win in just under two hours. Clement finished the match with 43 unforced errors.

Baghdatis achieved his best finish on his Indian Wells debut four years ago, reaching the quarter-finals before falling to World No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

Date: 14.03.2010, Source: ATP World Tour


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