Confident Federer on the right track

According to Roger Federer, his season is on the right track. The 32 year old returned to the Top 5 in the ATP Rankings on Monday after his runner-up finish at the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Djokovic) and he hopes to continue the upward trend this week as he chases after his third Sony Open Tennis title.

“I'm happy to be healthy again, and I'm playing good tennis. That leads the ranking into the right direction,” said Federer in a press conference ahead of the second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year. He re-entered the Top 5 for the first time since September 2013.

“I have been playing well now for the last seven tournaments. It started at the end of last year, and now I feel I found a good level, a good form. But as you know, you have to keep on working and keep on trying hard.”

Federer’s dedication has borne fruit so far this season, with the Basel native reaching the semi-finals or better in his four events. Much like his title win in Dubai, which involved beating Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, Federer knows that every tournament will involve a tough road to the trophy.

“Every tournament starts from scratch,” Federer said. “I don't get like the old wildcard into the semis or anything like that. [That] doesn't exist. I have to put in the hard work and hope I'm going to have another successful tournament here in Miami.”

Federer, the Miami fifth seed, has compiled a 19-3 season record in 2014. He has fully recovered from the back injury that hampered his game one year ago.

“Clearly you've got to be healthy to be able to play good tennis and get to the balls. If you're not going to get to the balls, then you won't be able to hit it and then the racquet doesn't matter. I need the quick feet, and I think I found that again.”

The 21-time Masters 1000 champion plans to stay aggressive on court as much as the surfaces allow. In Miami, where he won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, Federer opens his 2014 campaign against the hard-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic, against whom he has a 10-1 record in their ATP Head 2 Head series. The two last played each other at the 2012 Australian Open.

“Already last week [in Indian Wells] I haven't been able to come to the net as much as I wanted to. That's something I need to make sure I work on, that I do keep an aggressive playing style from the baseline.”

Federer also attributes part of his renaissance to a completed transition to a newer, larger racquet, a delicate process that took him months to incorporate into his game.

“I feel I do have easier power [with the racquet]," he said. "It's actually a big switch, bigger than people think it is, because it's a much bigger head frame, it's wider beam, and I really enjoy this new racquet.

“I think it's also part of the reason that I am playing so well right now.”

Date: 21st March 2014, Source: ATP


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