Federer focused on success at Indian Wells
By Greg Heakes (AFP)
INDIAN WELLS, California Roger Federer heads into the Indian Wells tournament riding a modest win streak and hoping to recapture the magic that saw him win three straight in the California desert from 2004-2006.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner has already clinched a pair of titles in 2012, winning the last two tournaments he has entered in Rotterdam and last week in Dubai.
"For me it has been good, my body has been taking a beating but it is holding up well," said Federer Wednesday as he prepared for his opening match in the Indian Wells men's draw which begins Thursday.
"I don't think I have over-played, but I have played enough. I have to be careful I do everything right not to get injured."
Federer clinched his fifth Dubai Open title and 72nd career ATP Tour crown Saturday with an impressive 7-5, 6-4 win over Andy Murray.
"I have been feeling really good out there and it is nice going on to the court on the big points and knowing exactly what you want to do and what you can do and what you can't do." Federer said. "If you don't play enough you forget all those things. It can be a bit of a blur."
The world No. 3 turned 30 last August and says with age comes wisdom and the realization that you can't go full speed off the court if you want to remain at the top of the rankings.
"I used to do skiing, playing tennis, squash and soccer and you are like 'I can't believe I just did that and now my knee hurts and I can't move anymore,'" adding he was a vegetarian when he was younger so has always watched what he eats.
"I did my fair share of mistakes earlier. As time goes by you don't have the same energy level so you start cutting back and getting other interests that aren't so brutal on the body. And eventually you get to the time, where I am in right now, and you just don't do any other sports except tennis.
"I have to protect my body. I just have to practise well and stay injury free. Every player goes through a phase like that where your career becomes too important to you and you don't want to get injured doing something stupid."
Last year at Indian Wells, Federer lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic. He reached the final of the French Open and the semis of the US Open and the Aussie Open but injuries also took their toll as 2011 marked the first time since 2002 the Swiss star did not capture at least one Grand Slam.
The third seeded Federer is in a tricky quarter of the draw that includes a number of players who could pose a threat to him.
Federer plays the winner of Russian Dmitry Tursunov and American wild card Denis Kudla in his second-round opener.
His section of the draw includes four of the ATP's top five match win leaders this season, comprising David Ferrer (18 wins), Federer (16), Juan Martin del Potro (16) and Milos Raonic (15).
He says his win in Dubai helped boost his confidence because he didn't go into it expecting to do all that well.
"I didn't expect to win in Dubai to be quite honest," Federer said. "I had a lot on my plate with the Davis Cup and Rotterdam. Dubai has always been the type of tournament where you play really well or not play well. It can be over really quickly.
"The first couple rounds were big for me and I ended up playing a great semis and a great final and really well in difficult conditions. I came out of Dubai feeling better than I felt at the end of Rotterdam."