Forget the comeback talk. Roger Federer is back.
He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title in an all-Swiss final on Sunday to go with his record 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January after missing most of last year with various injuries.
“For me, the dream run continues,” Federer said.
Federer kept reminding everyone during the tournament in Indian Wells, California, that he was “on the comeback” and, wanting to see how he felt, had not planned anything beyond the first three months of the year. He might want to think bigger now.
“This was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells. The goal was to be top 8 by after Wimbledon, so I’m there much, much faster,” he said. “I will make the plan for the remainder of the season, especially for the clay, after Miami, and then see also what the goals are because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”
Federer tied the tournament record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th ATP Tour title, keeping him third behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.
At 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history, surpassing Connors, who was 31 years, 5 months when he won in 1981.
“It’s an absolute huge start to the year for me,” he said. “Last year didn’t win any titles. The change is dramatic and it feels great.”
In an all-Russian women’s final, Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6/8), 7-5, 6-4.
Vesnina had never advanced beyond the third round of the singles and last year she lost in the first round of qualifying, although she has won three doubles titles at the tournament.
She beat second seed Angelique Kerber and 12th seed Venus Williams on her way to the biggest final of her career at age 30.
At age 31, Kuznetsova was the fifth-oldest woman to reach the final, but the two-time Grand Slam champion struggled playing the lead as the eighth seed in front of hundreds of empty seats.
“I didn’t feel good today because she was very aggressive and I was a little bit out of my game,” Kuznetsova said. “I couldn’t figure out a lot the wind and stuff like that.”
“She had so many break points on my serve,” Vesnina said. “She was 30-love up couple of times on her serves and I always keep coming back.”