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Federer: "I enjoyed clay court season and Roland Garros"

“I think I surprised myself maybe with how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout. I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and Roland Garros.”

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Federer wins fourth Miami Open title

Roger Federer produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win his fourth Miami title.

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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 becomes oldest ATP World No.1

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

Federer beats Cilic to win 20th Grand Slam

Roger Federer added another chapter to his phenomenal career on Sunday when the Swiss superstar captured his 20th Grand Slam championship crown to retain his Australian Open title with a thrilling 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic in the final.

Twelve months on from beating Rafael Nadal in a pulsating five-set final, the 36-year-old once again drew upon his great skill and ingenuity to build upon his legacy as the greatest player in tennis history by winning a record-equalling sixth Australian Open crown (with Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic), coming through a draw that respected observers thought would be problematic.

“I’m so happy, it’s unbelievable,” Federer said, trying really hard to keep his emotions in check. “I’m happy it’s over, but winning is just an absolute dream come true. The fairytale continues for me. After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.”

Federer has now won three of the past five major championships and the victory, secured over three hours and four minutes, in his 30th major championship final, ensures that Federer is now just 155 points behind World No. 1 Nadal in the ATP Rankings. He was last No. 1 on 4 November 2012.

Federer has now won 96 tour-level career crowns, with only American Jimmy Connors (109) ahead. His 20 major crowns moves him four ahead of second-placed Nadal (16) in the all-time Grand Slam singles title list.

At 36 years, 173 days, Federer has become the third man in the Open Era (since April 1968) to win four or more Grand Slam championship trophies after turning 30, following in the footsteps of all-time great Australians Rod Laver (1969 Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open) and Ken Rosewall (1968 Roland Garros, 1970 US Open, 1971-72 Australian Opens).

Federer improved to 9-1 against Cilic in their ATP Head to Head series, having also won their 2017 Wimbledon final clash. The Swiss hit 41 winners to Cilic’s 45, but it was his stronger service consistency - 67 of 84 first-service points won and 32 of 55 second-service points won - that ensured he was able to remain in contention, despite surges in match-momentum for Cilic. Federer also hit 24 aces to Cilic’s 16, converting six of his 13 break point opportunities on the Croatian's serve.

“I didn't see that through my thick tears, that Rod Laver was taking a picture of me crying,” Federer said. “I don't know what to tell you. I think what happened is I got to the finals very quickly. The semis was cut short. I had a lot of emotions left in me because I didn't have to go to extreme like last year against Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, so forth.

“When I start thinking about what I was going to say, every subject I touch actually is very meaningful and very emotional. Thanking your team, congratulating Marin, thanking the people, thanking the tournament. At the end it's like one big party.

“But I hoped over time in the speech I would start to relax a little bit, but I couldn't. It was what it was. I wish it wasn't so sometimes. At the same time I'm happy I can show emotions and share it with the people. If I got emotional, it's because it was a full crowd again. No people in the stadium wouldn't make me emotional, I'll tell you that. This is for them really also.”

The emotions show that Federer - however hard it is to believe sometimes given his accomplishments - is human. He even admitted battling nerves ahead of his record 30th Grand Slam championship final.

“I was so bloody nervous all day. It was eating me up inside,” Federer said in his post-final press conference. “That's why, when it was all over, I was just so relieved.”

First Set

Federer got off to a flying start under the roof on Rod Laver Arena, racing out to a 4-0 lead against Cilic, in what is a repeat of last year's final from The Championships at Wimbledon. Cilic netted a smash in the opening game to hand Federer the initiative and was broken again in the third game of the match after firing a backhand into the tramline. Cilic only managed to win four points in the first four games, and until winning the fifth game of the match was totally outrallied and outplayed by Federer. Sublime serving from Federer saw the 19-time Grand Slam champion lose just two points on serve all set as he cruised to a one-set advantage, sealed by another backhand error from his opponent.

Second Set

Looking to respond quickly to the disappointment of losing the first set, Cilic held serve in the opening game and manufactured two break points on Federer’s serve. At 15/40, Federer fired down an ace out wide to save the first before unleashing on a run-around forehand down the line to level at deuce before holding for 1-1. Time and time again throughout the set, Cilic served his way out of tricky situations. The 6’6” Croat staved off single break points at 1-1, 2-2 and 4-4 to maintain his lead with two aces and an unreturned serve to keep Federer at bay. After comfortable holds through most of the set, Federer double faulted at 4-5 30/30 to hand Cilic set point, but the soon-to-be World No. 3 could not capitalise as he dumped a cross-court backhand into the net.

After Federer escaped for 5-5, two service holds would force the set to a crucial second-set tie-break. Federer made the first move with a rifled backhand, opening up the court for an easy winner to go ahead 3/2. But was immediately pegged back by Cilic, who hammered a forehand return for a winner to reach the change of ends back on serve. The decisive move came at 4/5 with Cilic hitting a backhand return at Federer’s laces, before hammering a looped ball into the corner off the forehand to set up two set points. On the second, the 2014 US Open champion banished the memory of his error in the opening game of the match to smash his way to a second-set success.

Third Set

Set three was decided by one game. The sixth game was to be the only game of the set featuring break points, and it was Federer who grasped control of the final here. Cilic netted two groundstrokes and failed to control a Federer passing shot on the volley, to hand his opponent three break opportunities and Federer happily obliged at the second time of asking. The five-time champion stepped in on his backhand return, taking time away from his opponent to force another error and move ahead 4-2. Three games later, Federer closed out the set to love, with his 19th ace, to move to within a set of an incredible milestone victory.

Fourth Set

After leading 30-0 in the first game, Cilic hit three errors to hand Federer an opportunity to seize immediate control. Federer sliced a short return to Cilic’s backhand wing and forced his opponent into a fourth consecutive error to inch even closer to his 20th Grand Slam title. Federer had a chance for a double break in the third game, but could do nothing to stop Cilic’s aggressive play on the forehand wing. The sixth seed pummelled a forehand winner down the line to stay in contact. Cilic threw caution to the wind in the sixth game, stepping up with more aggressive play to force Federer into errors, which led to getting back on serve. Two games later, Cilic threatened Federer’s serve again and crucially found another breakthrough. The 29-year-old attacked the Federer forehand and stepped into the court to dispatch a short reply for a winner, before serving out the set to love for his fifth consecutive game, sending the year’s first major to a final set.

Fifth Set

Cilic’s big chance came in the first game with two break points on Federer’s serve, but the Croat failed to get either of his returns into play after strong Federer serving. After the relief of surviving his opening service game, Federer went on the offensive to break Cilic for a 2-0 lead with a deep cross court backhand return which Cilic ran around, but could only push into the net. From there, Federer surged to victory. A single love hold for Cilic in the fourth game was the only interlude to the charge of Federer. who won 12 of the last 13 points and sealed the title, for the second successive year on a Hawk-Eye challenge, with an unreturned serve out wide.

He may be 36, he may have won everything there is to win - and won it many times - but he still wants more. Another fantastic two weeks in Melbourne has not satisfied him, it has merely whetted his appetite for the rest of the season and beyond.

“I've won three slams now in 12 months,” he said, looking impressed with himself. “I can't believe it myself. I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don't think age is an issue, per se. It's just a number.

“But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that's what's going to dictate how successful I will be.

“Exciting times ahead.”

Date: 28 January 2018, Source: ATP and Australian Open

Federer into Australian Open final as Chung retires injured

Roger Federer is one win away from a "special 20" in Melbourne. The Swiss will face Marin Cilic in Sunday's Australian Open final, with the opportunity to win his 20th Grand Slam championship and sixth at Melbourne Park.

Federer, the defending champion at Melbourne Park, booked his place in a 30th major final when leading 6-1, 5-2 against South Korea’s Hyeon Chung, the Next Gen ATP Finals winner, who retired due to blisters on his left foot.

"20 times special," said Federer. "It would be amazing. I can't believe how fast now the week has turned out to be. It ain't just an easy trip to the finals. There's always a lot of work that goes into it during the tournament, focus, and also preparation beforehand. For many weeks and months before, you try to put yourself in the position, are you going to be ready in case a good semi-finals or quarter-finals match at the Australian Open, so forth.

"This is something you sort of plan from a long time ago. That's why when it does happen, it's a great feeling. Rewards the hard work in my team. It shows us that we did a lot of things right in the off-season, as well. That always gives you confidence, especially moving into the semis and finals when you're starting to hit the ball very nicely after the first few matches where it's always a bit more difficult."

The 36-year-old Federer will contest his seventh Australian Open final (5-1) against sixth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic on Sunday night. It will be a repeat of last year’s Wimbledon final, which Federer won in straight sets against Cilic. Federer has an 8-1 ATP Head to Head series lead over Cilic, with the Croatian's lone win coming in the 2014 US Open semi-finals, when he went on to win his only major title (d. Nishikori).

Twelve months ago Federer was preparing to face his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, in the final at Melbourne Park, both at the climax of a wonderful comeback from their respective injuries and time away from the Tour. The past year has seen Federer take his Grand Slam tally to 19, with victories in Melbourne and Wimbledon, and come close to reclaiming No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

The Basel native has returned to this position in Melbourne with a near-perfect run through the draw, not dropping a set in his bottom half passage. There was much excitement around his semi-final with the 21-year-old Chung, who had upset Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic to reach his maiden Grand Slam semi-final. The Next Gen ATP Finals champion was thwarted by his blisters, but not before Federer had a chance to glimpse the right-hander's potential.

"I thought the first set was normal," Federer told Jim Courier, in an on-court interview. "I couldn't tell what was going on with my opponent. In the second set I felt he was getting slower. He's had a problem with the blister. I've played with blisters in the past a lot, and it hurts a lot. At some point it's too much and you make things worse. Clearly I'm happy to be in the final but not like this. He's had such a wonderful tournament.

"Fighting was a problem today. I could tell something was wrong, but he has a great composure. I think he's going to achieve next level excellence - Top 10 Rankings for sure. I can see why he beat Novak and Zverev. He's going to be a great, great player."

Date: 26 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer beats Berdych for 14th Australian Open Semi-final

Roger Federer continued his pursuit of a 20th Grand Slam championship crown on Wednesday night when he booked his place in the Australian Open semi-finals. The Swiss superstar, bidding to retain his crown and lift a sixth trophy at Melbourne Park, fought back from Tomas Berdych’s promising start to record a 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Berdych, the No. 19 seed, took a 3-0 lead and missed out on two set point opportunities at 5-3 and 6-5 in the first set, only for Federer to apply the pressure and regain control of the pair’s 26th ATP Head to Head meeting. Federer now leads 20-6.

"I hung around, got a bit lucky, a bit angry, a frustrated, maybe at the umpire, but I actually thought the call was good anyway," Federer told Jim Courier, during an on-court interview. "I was just frustrated and a bit antsy. I'm happy I got out of that first set. It ended up being key to the match. Tomas was great."

The 36-year-old Federer, who is through to his 14th Australian Open semi-final, is the oldest player to reach that stage since Australian all-time great Ken Rosewall (42 years, 68 days) in January 1977.

"It was a good start," said Berdych. "I had good chances, a couple set points. Then I think he just got more confident after he saved the first set. Then it was very difficult with him again. After having been basically a whole set down, it gives you a big boost. Especially with him, I think it was just the deciding thing. I mean, everything is 'if'. But winning a first set would be completely different story."

Second seed Federer, who beat Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, will next challenge South Korea’s Hyeon Chung, the 21-year-old Next Gen ATP Finals champion. Chung reached his first major championship semi-final with a straight sets victory over American Tennys Sandgren earlier in the day. Federer and World No. 58 Chung have never met before.

"I've never played Chung or Kyle Edmund so it's great to see new names on the scene," said Federer, during his on-court interview. "The way both of them made it to the semis is highly impressive. The Chung-Djokovic match was the match I watched the most. Chung is very talented. He's clearly got nothing to lose. I will tell myself the same, and we'll see what happens."

Later, during his press conference, Federer admitted, "'I'm very excited to play Chung. I thought he played an incredible match against Novak. I mean, to beat Novak here is one of the tough things to do, I believe... To bounce back from a Novak match and just somehow get it done today, this afternoon, that's tough. That shows that he's had good composure, a great mindset... I think it's an interesting match for me. I'll definitely have to look into how I need to play against him because he has some great qualities, especially defensively."

With his ninth straight win over Berdych, Federer improved to 92-13 at Melbourne Park and will now prepare for a record 43rd major semi-final on Friday night.

Should Federer retain the Australian Open crown he will move to within 155 points of his great Spanish rival, Nadal, who is currently No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

First Set

Berdych started aggressively to win the first three games, and didn’t put a foot wrong until the ninth game. But as the Czech served for the first set at 5-3, Federer appeared to be rattled, yet was subtly able to raise his game. The pressure began to tell and Berdych lost three of his first four service points, but recovered only to squander a set point chance. Federer broke on his fourth break point, then, when serving in the next game, made a subtle change of pace on a forehand at 30/40. Berdych’s eyes lit up. Needing to generate pace, the Czech struck a backhand long and a second set point opportunity disappeared. Federer refocused in the tie-break to win the first three points and clinched the 60-minute opener with a sliced backhand drop shot winner. Overall, Federer lost just three of his first-service points (25/28) and hit 24 winners in the set.

“I just tried to hang around, tried to play a bit more aggressive, get some rhythm going, because Tomas found that early,” said Federer. “That's why I was under pressure. It was definitely very close, the turning point was the first set, and it ended up being for the entire match. I played a great tie-break. Got off to a good start there. But coming back from 2-5 in the first set, it was clearly big tonight.”

Second Set

Berdych, contesting the 200th Grand Slam championship match of his career, gave himself an opportunity in the third game of the second set, when Federer was serving at 30/40. But the Swiss star, with improved court position, remained aggressive and ripped a backhand winner down the line. As the set wore on, Federer pounced, coming to the net to strike a backhand body shot at 4-3, with Berdych serving at 15/40. Federer soon calmly held to 15 to remain on course for his ninth straight victory over Berdych.

Third Set

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Berdych when a Hawk-Eye challenge on break point at 1-1, went Federer’s way. Federer gave a wry smile as the big screen showed the ball had clipped the line by a small margin. But credit to Berdych, the 2014 and 2015 semi-finalist, when he broke back immediately with a return winner. Federer subsequently raised his game once more with a third successive service break, after a backhand winner. From that moment on, Federer lost only one point in his next three service games. He has yet to lose a set at this year's championship.

Date: 24 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer makes light of day shift to ease into last eight

Roger Federer was a strictly nocturnal beast throughout the first week of the Australian Open but proved just as effective with the sun on his back as he sauntered into the quarter-finals for the 14th time on Monday.

The defending champion did not require his dazzling best against 80th-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in his first match scheduled during the day session but still emerged a comfortable 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-2 winner.

He made a bit of history as well on Monday. The 36-year-old Federer became the oldest man to reach the Melbourne quarter-finals since Ken Rosewall (43 years, 59 days) in December 1977, and Federer extended his Open Era record by reaching his 52nd Grand Slam quarter-finals.

The second seed will next face Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head series 19-6, including all four matchups at the Australian Open (2008, 2009, 2016, 2017), and has won their past eight contests.

"We have had some good ones over the years," said Federer. "I'm looking forward to playing against him. He seems in good shape, and I'm happy he's over his back issues that he also had at the end of last year. That's a good thing."

Fucsovics hardly lied down for Federer, though. The 25-year-old Hungarian was playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round, and he wasn't intimidated by the moment, particularly in the first two sets. The right-hander saved seven of 10 break points for the match against Federer, who showed a bit of everything against Fucsovics, including relentless defence and aggressive offence.

"I thought he was playing really clean, solid, bit of everything: serving, volleying, chipping - it was nice to see. I had a hard time really breaking through until I was two sets to love and a break. That’s when I really started to feel, OK now I’ve got the wind behind my back. I can cruise to victory. But until then it was tough. Credit to him for playing a great tournament," Federer said.

But Fucsovics, who had previously played best-of-five set practice matches with his opponent in Switzerland, couldn't touch Federer's serve. The second seed conducted a clinic with his racquet on Rod Laver Arena. His serve numbers by set: First Set: 80% (20/25), Second Set: 88% (28/32, including 18/18 on his first serve), Third Set: 71% (17/24).

Federer, speaking about their previous practice match experience, shed some light on how the meeting in his home country helped him in the fourth-round encounter. "He was not completely the unknown opponent that maybe people thought he was," said Federer.

"When you play multiple sets in a short period of time against somebody, you start to understand their strengths and weaknesses a little bit. The goal for me was really trying to be focused on my own game and take it to him and play tough, but he hung with me for a long time, so it was a good match."

The five-time champion never faced a break point, and although he'll want to shore up his play during break points - three for 10 - the Swiss will happily take another straight-sets win.

Date: 22 January 2018, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer eases past Gasquet into fourth round

Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet on Saturday evening that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title.

The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena.

“My head’s still spinning from the match point where I got so lucky so I’m just trying to get over that one,” Federer said with a laugh on court after the match. “I think I was able to maybe stay a little bit more on the offensive than he was and maybe I was protecting my own serve a little bit better than him, I don’t know. But the second set was tight, the match was close.”

A year after Federer won the title despite coming directly off a six-month layoff due to injury, the Swiss is attempting to tie the record currently held by Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic of six Australian Open titles.

To Gasquet’s credit, the Frenchman battled until the end. Federer appeared in cruise control serving at 4-2 in the third set. But the 14-time ATP World Tour titlist found some of his best tennis to save three game points and break back, before playing a solid service game of his own to even the set at 4-4.

But true to his good form, Federer found a way to bounce back and on his second match point in Gasquet’s next service game, scrambled to reach a Gasquet volley, flicking a backhand passing shot down the line to clinch the victory on his second match point.

"I was hoping I could play at that level. I'm very happy that I was able to rise to a level that I needed to beat Richard," Federer said in his press conference. "It was tough. The score shows it, as well. I could have done it maybe a bit faster. At the same time I'm happy to have done it the way it happened. I was pleased. I think I had some good shots."

Federer won 80 per cent of his first-serve points and knocked 42 winners past his opponent to advance. But he was not the only one who showed good tennis - Gasquet struck 27 winners on the evening.

"I enjoy when we have good points. I like to see, I don't know, the way he saved match point. The first one was a backhand down the line. Feels like he can do that in his sleep," Federer said. "I admire that. I take pleasure out of him making that shot even though for a second I thought that this could have been the match point I had and end up losing the match. That really went through my mind. But I do take pleasure out of his shot-making, my opponent's shot-making, because I know how much hard work has been put into it."

Federer will next face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who defeated World No. 93 Nicolas Kicker 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour, 56 minutes. The fourth-round matchup will be the first meeting between the pair.

Fucsovics, who is at a career-high No. 80 in the ATP Rankings, arrived at Melbourne Park without a main draw Grand Slam victory in three attempts. That has not stopped him from winning his three matches thus far, though. The 25-year-old, competing in his first Australian Open main draw, broke six times and captured 59 per cent of points in the match to triumph.

Date: 20 January 2018, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer through to Australian Open 3rd round

Roger Federer barely put a foot wrong on Thursday night as he continued his quest for a sixth Australian Open trophy, which would represent his 20th Grand Slam championship crown.

The defending champion knocked out Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in one hour and 56 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, in the final match of the day, completed in 30°C temperatures.

"I've practiced with him, and played against him in doubles and singles," said Federer, in an on-court interview with former World No. 1 Jim Courier. "You know he can serve 215 or 220 kilometres per hour for five hours, so that's what you have to be ready for. I knew he was going to go for his shots. I had to protect my own serve and get the break with a good defence.

"It wasn't easy. There's an expectation on the underdog, but it was a good match and I wish him the best for the season."

Federer, making his 19th appearance at Melbourne Park, will look to maintain his momentum on Saturday against Richard Gasquet, the French No. 29 seed, in the third round. Gasquet proved too strong for Italian World No. 217 Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Federer leads Gasquet 16-2 in their ATP Head to Head series.

Federer wasn’t troubled by No. 55-ranked Struff in the first two sets - breaking serve at 2-2 in the first set, then at 3-3 in the second set - before the German started to make inroads. Struff came within one point of taking a 4-1 lead in the third set, only for Federer to regain his focus.

The second seed broke back immediately in the fifth game, then, at 5-6, struck three straight aces to force a tie-break.

At 36 years of age, Federer is looking to become just the second player to win three Grand Slam championship titles after turning 35, following in the footsteps of all-time great Australian Ken Rosewall.

Date: 18 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer breezes through Melbourne opener

Defending champion Roger Federer started his 2018 campaign for a sixth Australian Open crown on Tuesday night with a confident performance on Rod Laver Arena.

The World No. 2, who is competing in his 19th tournament at Melbourne Park, defeated Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes. The Swiss star is now 88-13 lifetime at the first Grand Slam championship of the year.

Federer will next challenge Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who hit 45 winners, including 19 aces, past wild card Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory in 77 minutes.

Federer had plenty of rhythm against the Slovenian, as he broke Bedene's serve in the fourth game in the first set and won 16 of his 20 first-service points, including three straight love holds. The 36-year-old seized control of the match with a break at the start of the second set to leave Bedene winless in six appearances in Melbourne.

Asked in his post-match press conference about the return of six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, who was victorious in his first match since retiring in the quarter-finals at 2017 Wimbledon, Federer said he was not surprised to see his great rival in good form.

"I do maybe think if you put Rafa, myself and Novak together, I think because we have margin maybe against a lot of the players normally, when we do come back, we can find that level," Federer said. "Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way and eventually play good again, whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more difficult."

Federer is attempting to retain his Australian Open trophy one year after beating four Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings en route to his first Grand Slam title in five years (2012 Wimbledon). He would go on to win two majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon) and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s (Indian Wells, Miami, Shanghai) among seven total trophies in 2017.

"I am hoping for another good year," said Federer, who has won 19 Grand Slam championships. "I am not sure it will go that well because I'm a year older, Rafa's looking in tip-top shape and other guys are coming back.

“Last year was a fairytale and I can't control everything. I am hoping to stay healthy and give myself chances and hope to play my very best in the big matches."

Date: 16 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer wins Hopman Cup for Switzerland

Switzerland are the Hopman Cup champions for the third time after Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic combined to topple Team Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-3 (3), 4-2.

19-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who lifted the trophy alongside Martina Hingis back in 2001, won all four of his singles contests, whilst a rejuvenated Bencic helped maintain an unbeaten Swiss record in the mixed doubles.

“After all these years I can’t believe I’m here again,” noted Federer. “It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve lost count of the years, I’m thrilled to win the Hopman Cup again with Belinda, it’s been a pleasure to partner you this week, well done.”

“I want to congratulate Team Germany for making the final,” said Bencic having lifted the trophy. “You played a great tournament and Angie was just too strong for me today. I’m so glad we made it in the mixed this time.

“Thanks to Roger for playing with me. It really is a dream come true. I couldn’t wish for a better partner,” she added with a beaming smile. “I’ll never forget this week, it’s been unbelievable.”

Earlier, Federer outplayed Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-2 to begin an enthralling final. The contest was levelled by Kerber defeating Bencic 6-4, 6-1.

“I couldn’t be more happy, I thought I played great throughout,” said Federer. “Sascha definitely dropped his level a bit in the second and third sets, but I was able to take advantage of it and most importantly put Team Switzerland ahead.

“I was trying to play as aggressive as possible. I’m maybe better when we’re closer together,” explained the reigning Australian Open champion.

“The court plays fast, so it helps if you approach the net and do it the right way. It was working out well, so I thought I’d keep going until I had to fix it. That never happened, so I was able to cruise all the way through.

“It’s nice. I work part time now,” quipped the 36-year-old, suggesting he attacks frequently to avoid long baseline rallies. “I work in the morning, I’m off in the afternoons. It’s good being a dad, it’s good being a husband and it’s good being a tennis player.”

Walking into meet the media after the final, both smiles were drawn from cheek to cheek, it was evident how much this meant to both players.

“It’s kind of surreal. When you first play Hopman Cup you think you’ll be back every year, then all of a sudden, your plans change, your life changes and you have different preparations,” reflected Federer.

“It was already amazing to be back last year. We had a great time. This year round, getting it done is an incredible feeling.”

Perth is a unique place for Federer. In 1999, he was a hitting partner for national tennis treasure Martina Hingis and Ivo Heuberger. In 2001 he lifted the trophy alongside Hingis and in 2002 he teamed up with his now wife Mirka.

“Every trip has been very memorable for me,” recalled the world No. 2. “It’s a totally different feeling to when I won with Martina because I was the apprentice and she was the Master. Maybe this time it’s the other way round.

“There is just a lot of positivity. It was a great week as a team, but also personally in singles I played great. I just have to pace myself in the lead up to Melbourne and I’ll be ready,” claimed the reigning Australian Open champion.

“I’m just excited to go back to Melbourne, where I had my fairytale 2017 run.

“It’s great to be the defending champion, but I will go about it the right way, I won’t be putting any extra pressure on myself.”

Date: 6 January 2018, Source: Hopman Cup

Federer in fine fettle as Switzerland beat Russia in Hopman Cup

Roger Federer subdued a feisty Karen Khachanov while Belinda Bencic outlasted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to help Switzerland beat Russia 3-0 in the Hopman Cup on Tuesday.

Federer won 6-3, 7-6 (8) as his Australian Open preparation gained momentum but the 19-times grand slam champion was pushed hard in the second set by the 21-year-old in front of a record crowd of 13,943 at the Perth Arena.

Playing with little inhibition and plenty of power, Khachanov broke Federer early on before the Swiss switched gears to march ahead and take the opening set in 29 minutes.

Federer, who beat Khachanov in straight sets at Halle last year in their only previous meeting, showed his experience in the second-set tie breaker that swung back and forth and clinched the contest on his third match point.

"It was nice to see him free swinging the entire match, which isn't easy to do," Federer said of his opponent.

"I remember those days, match point down, you go for it, you don't care. That is what you have to remind yourselves sometimes when you're older, to go for it. He mixed up the play well, so it was a tough match for me.

"The tiebreak was close, it was good to play that early on in the season, to play those nervy situations with the pulse up high, you're sweating loads. The match had a bit of everything, so I'm very happy with the performance."

Bencic had a tougher outing against world number 15 Pavlyuchenkova but prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 before teaming up with Federer to win the mixed doubles dead rubber and will face USA on Thursday to vie for a ticket to the final.

Date: 2 January 2018, Source: Reuters