Published: Wed, April 05, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Miami Open: Roger Federer will limit clay season after beating Rafael Nadal


"If I would've just played the Miami finals - no Indian Wells, no Australian Open, we would still be very happy right now", Federer said he told one of his coaches, Severin Luthi, before playing Nadal on Sunday.

Plagued by injuries in recent times, first of the back and then the knee, and written off as an ageing has-been, Federer should have been riding into the sunset at this age of 35 years and seven months. Never before in their fabled rivalry had Federer won three matches on the trot against Nadal.

"I think it was a close match", said Federer. "I'm not 24 anymore".

Plus, with 7-year-old twin daughters and 2-year-old twin sons, Federer has other things to do. But it would take the Swiss time to find the groove in the oppressive humidity and afternoon heat of this final, and it was Nadal who nearly drew first blood with two chances to break in the first game.

Victory over Nadal sealed a third Miami Open title and added to wins at the Australian Open and Indian Wells this term.

Masters events in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome precede Roland Garros but Federer is planning on skipping all three of them as he looks to give his body some rest and presumably save his energy for the grass court season. I feel very comfortable, very confident it is the right decision. Says Rafa: "I think I'm ready to win more titles". Humid weather didn't help. "A lot of points, a lot of confidence for the most important part of the season for me that's just in two weeks".

"It's disappointing that every time in my career I have stood here I get the smaller trophy", he said. "It has been a draining week".

Opening his shoulders up, Federer flashed a backhand return bolt down the line breaking for 5-4 and igniting an uproar from the crowd. He also won Key Biscayne in 2005 and 2006.

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Nadal was given hope when Federer opened with a double fault, but he restored parity with a glorious backhand pass and served out to secure victory. We have had some epic matches over the years which I didn't always enjoy, but mostly.

"I think I am close to what I need to be".

"You are too good not to win this one, so all the best for the coming years, of course". Federer took his sixth break opportunity and then drove home a comfortable hold to take the first set 6-3.

He exuded control throughout, breaking at 4-4 in the second and serving out.

"There was nothing in it, only a couple points, and Nick has shown he can match it with anyone now which is awesome". Before that, 2016 has been a write off for the Swiss player who missed most of the season as he recovered from injury.

Even so, Federer's resurgence is remarkable. "Wonderful start of the season, one of the best comebacks on the tour ever after a long injury".

"Amazing start to the season", Nadal said.

"(Roger has made) one of the best comebacks ever from a long injury so well done. With solid displays against both top-20 and players outside the top 20, Nadal has managed to reach three tournament finals already this year, and sits comfortably ahead of Wawrinka (1500) in the Race to London with 2235 points. Nadal did well to run down tape job and shovel a reply over net, but Federer improvised a forehand lob into the corner for break point. This time, though, he has been fretting over a three-match losing streak.

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