Roger Federer’s incredible comeback continues to generate monumental steam as the Swiss superstar captured a record-equalling fifth BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells, defeating countryman Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s final.
After missing six months of the 2016 season with injury problems, Federer added to his spectacular Australian Open triumph in January by securing a 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and 90th career title overall with a 6-4 7-5 victory over third seed Wawrinka in the Californian desert.
“What can I say? This has been a fairytale week once again,” Federer said in his on-court interview.
“I’m still on the comeback. I came here for the first time 17 years ago. To be the champion again, I can’t tell you what it means to me.”
Climbing to No. 6 in the world following the win, Federer is now the oldest player at 35 years of age to land a Masters 1000 title, eclipsing 34-year-old Andre Agassi’s road to glory at Cincinnati in 2004. Federer has won a staggering 22 titles after turning 30 - eight more than the next best (Jimmy Connors with 14).
The Swiss maestro also lifted titles at Indian Wells in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012, while he was a runner-up in 2014 and 2015.
Federer, after suffering a shock loss at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to qualifier Evgeny Donskoy, was in irresistible form over the past week at Indian Wells, producing multiple vintage performances on his way to the title, including a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over rival Rafael Nadal in an Australian Open final rematch in the Round of 16.
And Federer was confronted with another Australian Open rematch in the final, as Wawrinka aimed for revenge following the 18-time major winner’s five-set victory in the semi-finals in Melbourne.
Federer came into the final without dropping serve, and he continued his fine form behind his own delivery for multiple swift holds as he gradually built some pressure on Wawrinka throughout the opening set. Federer kept pressing and Wawrinka ultimately cracked in the 10th game when after a long rally, he fired a backhand long on set point.
However Wawrinka bounced back strongly, becoming the first man all tournament to break Federer at the start of the second set. But unfortunately for Wawrinka, he just couldn’t hold on as Federer broke back almost immediately, and from there, you got the sense it was only a matter of time until the 35-year-old would be able to engineer another break opportunity.
Once again Federer made his move with Wawrinka serving to stay in the set, sealing the win and title with a forehand volley winner on match point.
The two countryman and friends also created a memorable and endearing moment during the trophy ceremony, with an emotional Wawrinka calling out Federer after he caught him laughing during his speech.
Federer and Wawrinka will now make the quick dash to Florida for the second Masters 1000 of the season, the Miami Open
, which takes place from March 20 to April 2.