To paraphrase the great American newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer, Roger Federer has now become both the legend and the story. In what may be one of the greatest tennis comebacks of all time, Roger Federer is off to a phenomenal start in 2017. After missing most of the 2016 season with knee issues, the 35-year-old Swiss has made a dramatic return in the world of professional tennis. Another chapter was added to his mythic story when he defeated fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka today, 6-4, 7-5, in Indian Wells, capping off an amazing BNP Paribas Open Masters 1000 run. In the entire tournament, Federer lost only one service game, occurring today in the first game of the second set. His precision and shot-making was a marvel to behold. Not only are they singing Roger Federer’s praises from Bern to Basel, the sporting world at large is starting to take notice of what may well be the greatest sports story of 2017.
Today was the 23rd meeting of the Swiss gentlemen. Federer’s opponent, friend, and fellow countryman, Stan Wawrinka, has now lost 20 of those encounters. Wawrinka’s serve was broke three times, including the decisive last game of the match. Today’s loss not-withstanding, “Stan the Man” has turned in a performance to be proud of, making his deepest run in this Masters 1000 tournament to date. Fans saw an emotional Stan Wawrinka following the match. When asked about it, Wawrinka said: “Today after the match was tough, but in a positive way, also, because I’m really happy to be in the final here in Indian Wells. It’s still amazing result for me. I always want more, and I’m going to try to do everything possible to be the winner next time, but I need to take what’s positive.”
Throughout all of his press conferences this week, Federer has stressed how much he is enjoying tennis again. Not willing to just show up for tournaments for appearance’s sake, Federer plans to remain competitive and play in the tournaments which make the most sense. Right now it appears that the tennis gods are smiling down upon him.
So, looking ahead to Miami, both Federer and Wawrinka are gearing up for another run to the final. Defending Champion Novak Djokovic has withdrawn with an elbow injury. World #1 Andy Murray announced he will miss the tournament for the first time since 2005, also citing an elbow injury. Looks like the “Group of Death” will be replaced by a group of determined competitors with the Top 2 out of the path.