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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

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Federer in fine form as Switzerland win Hopman Cup

Roger Federer became the most successful player in Hopman Cup history when he led Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth.

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Federer beats Raonic for Stuttgart title, his 18th on grass

Roger Federer claimed his 98th tour-level title and 18th grass-court trophy, displayed his unrivalled superiority on grass with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Milos Raonic in the Mercedes Cup final in Stuttgart.

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Federer cruises past Dimitrov to claim Rotterdam title

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings with his second title of the season, swatting aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tournament in Rotterdam.

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Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Roger Federer's Wimbledon 2017 Outfit




Roger Federer's Wimbledon 2017 Nike Outfit.

Date: 27 June 2017

Federer demolishes Zverev to win 9th Halle title

Roger Federer started perfectly and never looked back in the Gerry Weber Open final in Halle on Sunday, sprinting to a 6-1, 6-3 victory against rising star Alexander Zverev under the roof in Gerry Weber Stadion in just 53 minutes.

The dominating title victory gives Federer his ninth Halle crown, joining him with Rafael Nadal as the only two men in the Open Era who have won a tournament more than eight times. Nadal has won 10 Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona and Roland Garros titles.

Federer improves to 4-0 in title matches this season, having won the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open. He and Nadal are now tied for the lead this season.

“It's great to get off to a good start in the finals and then remind yourself that you've been playing good tennis all week. You start swinging freely, things start clicking, you realise your opponent is under pressure and you keep pressuring him,” Federer said.

“I'm like on 'Cloud Nine' right now after the ninth win here in Halle. It has been a difficult year with a lot of practice, training and rehab so I am very happy to be back on the court. It's a wonderful feeling to win here again because I'm not sure if I'll ever get a chance to win this again so it's important to enjoy this one.”

The 35-year-old Swiss also shoves aside any worries fans or pundits might have had about his long layoff affecting his grass-court season. The veteran right-hander took off 10 weeks after winning the Miami title on 2 April, opting to skip the clay-court season to rest his body and hopefully stave off any future possible injuries on clay.

After losing in his return on 14 June to friend Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, Federer checked off five consecutive victories, including wins against Zverev and rising youngster Karen Khachanov, and heads to Wimbledon full of winning feelings. The Stuttgart defeat was the first time Federer had lost his opening match at a grass-court tournament since 2002 Wimbledon (l. to Ancic).

“I was doubting myself a little bit, I must admit, because losing in the opening round for the first time in 15 years on grass was always going to shake me a little bit and it did. So I'm happy to react right away and let that be forgotten and actually move on and remind myself I actually can play well on grass,” Federer said. “It's a boost for me personally, with my confidence, knowing that my body is in good shape. Mentally, I'm fresh again and I've gotten used to match play.

“It was by far my best match of the week. After my long break, I'm feeling excellent and it's a pleasure to be back and I'm fit for Wimbledon. My goal was to keep myself 100 percent healthy for the grass season.”

Zverev also had been 3-0 in title matches this season before Sunday, having won in Montpellier (d. Gasquet), Munich (d. Pella) and Rome, where he beat World No. 2 Novak Djokovic for his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. The 20-year-old German also had beaten Federer only a year ago in the same stadium, outlasting Federer in a three-set semi-final to reach the 2016 Halle final.

But the German had no answer for Federer's aggressive play and near perfect execution. Federer won the first seven points of the match, breaking Zverev to love in the opening game and holding to 15 to get the crowd behind him and to shock Zverev. Coming into the final, the German had lost his serve only twice all tournament, having won 46 of his 48 service games.

But after 22 minutes, Federer had already broken Zverev three times en route to a one-set lead. The Swiss was swinging freely from both sides, placing Zverev on defense from the start of nearly every point. And when Federer had Zverev feet behind the baseline, he would sagely deliver a drop shot and send Zverev sprinting.

Zverev, No. 12 in the ATP Rankings, regained some belief in the second set, seeing a break point in the first game. But Federer erased it with a service winner. The nine-time Halle champion won 93 per cent of his first-serve points (26/28). Federer clinched his 16th grass-court title with a backhand volley winner.

“I think Roger is playing really, really well. I think going into Wimbledon he's going to be probably the favourite to win the whole thing. So credits to him, he played an unbelievable match. Of course I could have played better but he didn't really let me play my best tennis. He messed with the ball a lot. He played very aggressive. I think he deserved to win,” Zverev said. “I think it was a very good week for me again making the finals here. Of course I'm upset with the loss, but going into Wimbledon I feel very confident I can make a deep run there.”

Federer's 92nd title moves him to within two of Ivan Lendl for second on the Open Era titles list.

Date: 25 June 2017, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer to face Zverev in his 11th Halle final

Roger Federer defeated Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (5) to advance to the final of the Gerry Weber Open for the 11th time on Saturday.

Federer will bid for his 92nd career title in what will be his 140th final against the fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who rallied to beat Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 for his seventh title-decider.

“I thought it was extremely close, especially that second set. I'm still just very happy how I was able to close it out in the 'breaker,” Federer said.

Federer lost to Zverev in last year's Halle semi-finals but beat the German last year in Rome. “He's got home-court advantage. He's got a wonderful serve and one of the best backhands in the game. He takes big cuts at the ball, returns very well. He's a tough player to play against,” Federer said.

“He's the best of all time on this surface,” Zverev said of facing Federer. “It will still be a very difficult match.”

The World No. 5 has yet to drop a set in Halle this week. He improved his all-time record at the tournament to 58-6 and is 23-2 on the season. Federer has reached the final in four of his six tournaments this year.

Federer had never faced the 21-year-old Khachanov before Saturday, but the big-hitting right-hander, who was trying to reach his second ATP World Tour final (2016 Chengdu), was unintimidated against the all-time great.

The two exchanged breaks to start the match but Federer broke once more and rode the early advantage to a one-set lead. Neither player could break in the early goings of the second set as Khachanov was freely blasting forehands and Federer was stepping into his backhand and flattening out the one-hander.

At 4-4, Federer broke Khachanov for a chance to serve for the match, but Khachanov broke right back when a Federer forehand pass sailed wide. The 6'6” Khachanov even had two set points on Federer's serve at 5-6 but was unable to convert either.

In the tie-break, Federer clinched his 11th final appearance when Khachanov lifted a backhand long on match point.

“It was all a little uncertain because I don't know him that well,” said Federer, who rued uncharacteristic unforced errors. “It's warm, it's hot, I'm a little bit tired. It was a difficult match.”

Federer saved four of the six break points he faced overall, while converting three of his five opportunities.

Federer had a busy start to the year including the capture of his 18th Grand Slam at the Australian Open. His decision to skip the clay-court season to recuperate appears to be paying off with a view to Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion.

“Everything has been geared toward Wimbledon for the past 12 months and I'm happy with how I feel at the moment,” Federer said before his match with Khachanov.

Date: 24 June 2017, Source: ATP and AP

Federer beats defending champ Mayer to reach Halle semis

Top seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semi-finals on Friday, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

“It was important to be aggressive off the baseline and make him feel my variation and the power I can bring to the court,” Federer said. “And then having good footwork, to see the short ball, the floater, where I can come in and knock it off with a volley. I think I did it very well. I had lots of chances to even go up a double break in the second set.

“I thought I was very calm out there, even in difficult moments. I was calm serving out the first and second sets. Those are always signs for me that things are slowly starting to fall into place nicely.”

Federer has yet to drop a set after three matches this week. He boosts his ATP Head to Head record against Mayer to 8-0, with five of those wins coming on grass. The top seed is through to the semi-finals in Halle for the 13th consecutive time, with his two quarter-final losses at this event coming in 2000-2001. The Swiss star also improves his Halle record to 57-6.

Federer scored the lone break of the opening set at 2-1. Mayer fought off three set points on his serve at 2-5, but the top seed comfortably held to love in the next game with an ace.

The second set was nearly identical to the first, with a backhand wide from the German allowing the top seed to take a 3-2 lead. Mayer bravely fought off two match points on his serve at 3-5, but another forehand winner from Federer on his first match point wrapped up the contest in 66 minutes.

The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will next face Karen Khachanov, who defeated fellow Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-3 in his last-eight clash.

Federer, who hit 11 aces and 32 winners, said facing Khachanov on Saturday will present a new challenge for him.

“It will be interesting. He plays a bit different on the serve and the forehand, which is different to the regular forehand technique we see. He’s big and strong and seems super excited to be on tour and he’s working hard. I don’t know him that well yet so it’s a match where I’ll most likely focus on my own game. Make sure I serve well, because he can go through spells where he can serve big. It could be somewhat similar to how I played today.”

Saturday's other semi-final will see German fourth seed Alexander Zverev face Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Zverev defeated Spanish seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6), 7-6 (1), 6-1 while Gasquet saw off Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Date: 23 June 2017, Source:ATP, Reuters and AFP

Federer beats Zverev for Halle quarterfinal

Eight-time champion Roger Federer reached the quarter-finals of the Halle grass court tournament for a 15th time on Thursday with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev.

Federer improves his ATP Head to Head record against Zverev to 4-0, including a win this year in the Australian Open quarter-finals. He has yet to drop a set against the German. The Swiss star improves to 56-6 in Halle.

Awaiting Federer in the quarter-finals is another German in defending champion Florian Mayer, who defeated sixth seed Lucas Pouille earlier in the day. Federer leads their Head to Head series 7-0, including three straight-sets wins in Halle (2005, 2012, 2015).

Both Federer and Zverev traded service holds throughout the opening set, with the German bravely saving three set points on his serve at 4-5. Little separated them throughout the tie-break, but Federer raised his level when it mattered most at 5/4, flicking two backhand passing shot winners to grab the early advantage.

Their serves continued to be in top form throughout the second set, but it was Zverev who blinked first. Federer laced a forehand passing shot at 4-4 for the lone break of the match and then comfortably held serve to prevail in one hour and 30 minutes.

Federer didn't face a break point in the contest and finished the day with 28 winners to 18 unforced errors. Zverev hit 18 winners to 23 unforced errors.

Federer was quick to acknowledge that today’s match bore no resemblance to the double bagel he handed out to Zverev when they met in Halle in 2013.

“It was totally different. He started serving great, which put me under pressure as I wasn’t getting many looks,” Federer said. “It was important to stay calm after missing chances to win the set at 5-4. And it’s important to win ‘breakers. They are the sets you need to win to win tournaments. It felt like a close ‘breaker that could have gone either way.

“After I got that in the bag I was really able to start to relax and really play and feel the way I want to feel out there. That’s the first time I’ve felt like that since Miami, so that’s a good sign looking ahead.”

Although Federer leads Mayer 7-0 in their Head to Head series, the unorthodox German did push Federer to two tie-breaks when they met on grass in Stuttgart last year. And after combatting very different playing styles in his first two rounds, Federer expects further contrast Friday.

“I played against a right hander from the baseline in Sugita, a left hander who serves and volleys all the time (Zverev) and Mayer plays very different to everyone else. He uses slice, he comes in, he chips and charges, he loops the ball and serves / volleys a little bit, so he’s really going to throw everything at me. I know he wants it badly, so it will be a tough one. I played my best match today and that will give me some confidence for tomorrow.

“I think he’s most dangerous on the grass. He’s a tough customer, plus he’s the defending champion. He hasn’t had the best season so far, so there is a lot riding on the match for him as well as for me because we both want to go deep into this tournament.”

Date: 22 June 2017, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer claims 1100th match win in Halle

Roger Federer added another milestone to his historic career on Tuesday, celebrating his 1,100th match win to start his Gerry Weber Open campaign in Halle. The eight-time champion breezed past lucky loser Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-1 in 52 minutes to move into the second round at the ATP World Tour 500 event.

“The milestone was mentioned in Stuttgart but I had forgotten about it. I appreciate these numbers way more today than ever before. I think I can embrace them more. It’s a big number and I’m very happy to have a chance to hopefully add some more wins to that number,” Federer said.

The 35 year old rebounded nicely from his early exit last week at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Federer led by a set and a break and had a match point against longtime friend Tommy Haas but fell to the German 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.

Against Sugita, Federer started smoothly and stayed aggressive. He hit eight aces, converted five of his 13 break points and won 90 per cent of his first-serve points (26/29).

“I played some good tennis, some nice points. I played the way I wanted to play: aggressive, took charge from the baseline and served well. Overall, I’m very happy,” Federer said.

The top seed was scheduled to play Yen-Hsun Lu but the 33 year old had to withdraw because of a right arm injury. Sugita made the main draw despite falling to Russian Mikhail Youzhny in qualifying. Youzhny won their match in three tie-breaks and on his 12th match point.

“I found out around the same time that everybody else did, around 12 o’clock,” Federer said. “Then I wasn’t sure if it was going to be Sugita or somebody else. I had to wait and see if there were going to be any more changes and a different opponent coming my way. I saw the third-set breaker between Sugita and Youzhny. I saw the last 20 points of that match.

“I had a little bit of an idea how Sugita plays. I’ve seen him practise here and he’s really made a run recently. I got some info from coaches and other players and coaches, so I got the full scouting report. But of course, I tried to play on my terms.”

A single break in the first set proved enough for Federer - an eight-time champion in Halle - to open up an advantage he never looked in danger of relinquishing, his impressive groundstrokes making life difficult for the Japanese.

Federer raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set but failed to serve out despite having three match points at 40-0 - a long and a wide forehand meaning Sugita avoided the bagel.

Federer improved to 20-2 on the season. He will next face the serve-and-volleying Mischa Zverev, who dismissed Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head series 3-0, including a double bagel the last time they played on grass, 2013 Halle. Federer also beat Zverev earlier this year during the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Date: 20 June 2017, Source: ATP, Omnisport and AP

Federer draws confidence from Halle return

If Roger Federer is looking for a little confidence pick-me-up early in his comeback, there’s no better place to be than the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Federer has won this grass-court ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament eight times, more than any other event.

“It's like coming home. I feel good, relaxed and can't wait to serve in Halle. The history I have here, having come and played well so often, definitely should help me to play good tennis this week,” Federer said Sunday. “I love playing here. Yes, I think I can come in here with good confidence.”

Federer opens against World No. 68 Yen-Hsun Lu, against whom he has a 3-0 ATP Head to Head record, winning all seven sets they have played. Lu has a 28-34 tour-level record on grass and enjoyed his most memorable moment on the surface in 2010, when he stunned Andy Roddick 9-7 in the fifth set in the Wimbledon fourth round.

Federer will be a heavy favourite against Lu, but after his surprise defeat to former World No. 2 Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, the Swiss won’t take the match lightly. “It’s important for me, especially after Stuttgart, to come here and make sure I win my first-round match and get going. I want to take the right decisions on the tennis court. I don’t want to question myself too much. I’ll have the right focus and mindset, that point-by-point mentality. That was a little bit off in Stuttgart, understandably so. I have to learn from that week and move forward in a better way.”

Federer won the tournament five consecutive years between 2003-07 and most recently in 2015. Last year he suffered a surprising semi-final loss to then World No. 38 Alexander Zverev, who one year later finds himself inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.  Federer has a potential second-round meeting with Zverev’s older brother, Mischa Zverev, whom he defeated 6-0, 6-0 five years ago in Halle. But Zverev is a far-improved player whose serve-and-volley game is well suited to grass. And the German on Monday will break into the Top 30 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career.

Despite his opening-round defeat to Haas last week in Stuttgart, where Federer returned after a two-month sabbatical, the Swiss said that he had not second-guessed his decision to skip the entire clay swing after beginning the season 19-1, with titles at the Australian Open and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level in Indian Wells and Miami.

“It could have been better in Stuttgart, but then again I had match point,” Federer said. “It wasn’t like I lost 6-2, 6-2 and everything was terrible. A comeback is never simple, especially on grass where margins are so slim. It’s a serve or a passing shot or a return that determines the outcome of the match. That’s what it ended up being against Tommy, even though I felt I should have found a way home, having been a set and a break up.

“Considering how well I felt going into Paris, it was surprisingly easy to take the decision and after making it I never had any regrets watching it or following the results. I never thought ‘If only I was part of the tournament.’ I was looking ahead to the grass season and enjoyed the time with my friends and family at home.

“It was a decision that was taken within a couple of days. It wasn’t something I saw myself doing weeks and months ahead of the tournament. For a long time the schedule was to play Paris but all of a sudden I just felt that I wouldn’t be comfortable doing it. I didn’t want to compromise the goal of the grass-court season, Wimbledon, the US Open and beyond.

“I felt that the French Open may potentially have a negative effect on what’s to come. It may have been helpful, but I felt there was more risk that it would go the other way. Based on health, that’s why I decided to skip.

“But it’s not a trend that I might follow in the future. I don’t know what the future holds. This was just a one-off decision.”

Date: 18 June 2017, Source: ATP

Rusty Federer ousted by Haas at Stuttgart

Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas successfully dialed back the years on Wednesday, saving a match point to shock Roger Federer 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

The loss is only Federer's second of the season, and the Swiss star held match points during both of them. The 35 year old had three match points against World No. 116 Evgeny Donskoy during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.

“I thought it was a typical grass-court match today. Rallies weren’t very long and it was decided on a serve there or a return here. If you don’t take your chances like I didn’t, leading a set and a break, you really only have yourself to blame at the end. You’ve got to acknowledge the fact that he was a bit better. It’s quite frustrating, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Federer said.

“It wasn’t all bad, not at all. There were definitely some good moments, but I definitely was not as sharp as I was hoping to be in maybe the big moments, or the moment when I had the lead and where I feel I should have been cruising from that moment on. I definitely made some crucial mistakes and judgment errors.

“Tommy definitely played well when he had to. He hung around and was able to push me in the second set. In the third set I couldn’t get up to the level I wanted. I should have somehow broken him once, but I wasn’t able to do that.”

For the 39-year-old Haas, this must have been what he had envisioned when he decided to come back for one more season, following his ninth surgery in April 2016.

The two-time Halle champion, who last beat Federer in the 2012 Halle final, looked as comfortable as ever on the grass in Stuttgart, outplaying Federer in the final two sets to gain his biggest win in years.

Haas hadn't reached a quarter-final since the 2014 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, and the right-hander had gotten off to a 5-8 start this season. But playing in front of his home German fans, He rallied to beat Federer, who fell to 19-2 on the season.

“I’m a little bit speechless that I beat him today. It’s been awhile since I have won back-to-back matches and to do it today against Roger is obviously one of my career highlights. It’s a very special feeling,” Haas said.

“At the same time he’s a very close friend of mine so it doesn't feel like such a celebration in that sense. This is my last phase, so the emotions are different from what they would have been a few years ago. This is sport. Unfortunately, one person has to lose and lately a lot of the time it has been me. I was happy to be out there in front of a German crowd playing against a friend, an idol, a legend, the greatest ever. It’s fantastic.”

Federer, a 15-time grass-court titlist, hadn't played a tour-level match since 2 April, when he beat Rafael Nadal to win the Miami Open title, his third crown of the season after winning the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The 35-year-old Swiss skipped the clay-court season to rest his body and avoid any potential injuries to his back and knees on the clay. But the top seed started strong in his Stuttgart opener.

Federer deployed his entire array of shots - aces that kissed off the chalk, off-balance forehand winners and service returns that Haas could only watch. Federer, who finished with 23 aces, raced through the first after only 23 minutes.

But Haas, a 15-time ATP World Tour titlist, was not to be swept off the court during what he has said will be his final stop in Stuttgart. The German raised his level in the second set, breaking for the first time to get back on serve at 2-2.

At 7/8 in the tie-break, Haas had to deliver a second serve but fought off the match point when Federer lifted a backhand long. The 39-year-old German converted his fourth set point when Federer double faulted for the first time in the match.

Haas commanded the third set, battling Federer and coming out on top in the tight moments. The German erased three break points while serving at 1-2 and broke Federer in the very next game to gain the upper hand. Haas would erase four more break points in the set before converting his second match point. He improves to 4-13 against Federer in their ATP Head to Head series.

“Coming here and losing in the semis last year, now the opening round this year, it’s not what I was hoping to do. Especially on grass courts, close to home, in Germany, which has been a good hunting ground for me. It’s not good enough,” said Federer.

“I would have liked to stay here longer and given myself the best possible chance to win the tournament, so that’s a letdown,” he added. “I really enjoy my time here in Stuttgart.”

Federer next heads to Halle, where he will look to win his ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open.

“It gives me more time for Halle. As a positive thinker, that’s what I see,” said Federer. “I’ve been on grass for over two weeks. It’s good to play a match again. I really feel the body. It feels different right now than it does after practise. It just makes you tired. There are some positives to take away. It will give me good preparation going into Halle and then Wimbledon is soon.”

Date: 14 June 2017, Source: ATP

Federer done resting as he begins Wimbledon preparations

A rejuvenated Roger Federer is committing to a full schedule in the second half of the season, saying that he’s had enough of practice and is hoping to quickly recapture his stunning early-season form. Fresh off a two-month break to rest his 35-year-old body, Federer returns to the ATP World Tour this week at the grass-court event Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

“There are no more breaks now,” Federer told on Monday. “I’ve had enough breaks. I'm a practice world champion now and that's not who I want to be. I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I'm going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season. And this is the beginning here at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.”

After an unpredictable first half of the season that now sees Rafael Nadal and Federer in first and second place in the ATP Race To London, the Swiss said that he remains surprised at how the season has unfolded. When Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic played a pulsating final in Doha in the first week of the season, most tennis fans thought that last year’s No. 1 and No. 2 finishers would wage a two-man battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking again in 2017.

So far this season it has been a two-way battle for year-end No. 1 between Federer and Nadal, The Spaniard has now firmed as a strong favourite following a dominant clay-court swing that included titles No. 10 in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros, as well as a fifth crown in Madrid. But Federer will hope to close that gap during the next five weeks on his favourite surface, grass. He’s playing the next two weeks in Stuttgart and Halle before taking a week off before chasing an eighth title at Wimbledon.

“I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me,” Federer said. “I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he'd done it nine times before. I was hoping he was going to dominate the clay-court season like the old days.

“But I'm still surprised we were able to do it. It maybe had something to do with Murray having a bit of a letdown after his great finish to last year and Novak not playing his absolute best. We were able to take advantage of the fact that we were in great shape and came refreshed into the season after our injuries at the end of last year.”

Federer readily admits that Nadal is a hot favourite to finish No. 1 for the fourth time, but says that the second half of 2017 promises to be much more competitive than the first half.

“Obviously Rafa is in great position to finish World No. 1. For him it's going to be all about staying injury free. For me it's about getting back to winning ways, where I left off in Miami.

“I'm sure a lot of guys are going to start playing their best in the second half of the season, like Murray, Djokovic, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Kyrgios, Stan. We'll all be playing our best tennis. It's going to be an epic finish to the end of the season. Quite exciting actually for the ATP Tour.”

Federer, a winner of 15 grass-court titles will meet German veteran Tommy Haas in the Mercedes Cup second round. The Swiss right-hander is competing at an ATP World Tour tournament for the first time since capturing the 93rd title of his career at the Miami Open (d. Nadal) on 2 April.

Date: 13 June 2017, Source: ATP