By Jane Voigt
March 20, 2017 — Roger Federer won his fifth title from Indian Wells yesterday, defeating friend and compatriot, Stan Wawrinka. The victory marked two more milestones for Federer — his 90th career title and his 25th Masters 1000 title.
As a result of the Indian Wells win, his ranking moved upward 4 spots to number six, which is one in front of Rafael Nadal. Considering Federer wanted to be ranked in the top ten by the time Wimbledon started, he might have to adjust his goals. And although he’s now won 25 Masters’ tournaments, he remains third on the all-time list, following Novak Djokovic with 30 and Rafael Nadal with 28 of these prestigious titles.
Federer’s blockbuster season continues to surprise him, as much as it has surprised fans and sport worldwide. He returned to tennis in January, after a six-month injury time off, describingbhis “latest completed chapter as a ‘fairy tale,’” according to The New York Times. His backhand, which has gone from a functional and fluid stroke to a weapon of mammoth ability, is one reason his game has moved into unchartered court land.
“Listen, I’m as surprised as everybody else,” Federer said. “Because this was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells, I can tell you.”
Federer now becomes the odds-on favorite as The Miami Open gets underway this week in Key Biscayne. With Djokovic and Andy Murray out of the tournament, another Masters 1000, the pressure rests on Roger’s shoulders. Not fond of the back-to-back 10-day tournament formats, he believes his comeback won’t be complete until after Miami.
Federer’s win over Wawrinka, 6-4, 7-5, marked only the second time they’ve met in a final. They are now tied 1-1.