Roger Federer: Playing Novak, Andy, Rafa, Stan the ultimate challenge, but…
He “enjoys playing” the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, but Roger Federer admits he prefers not to face them early during tournaments.
Nadal, Murray and Wawrinka all skipped the Indian Wells Masters as they are recovering from injury while Djokovic made an early exit as he was shocked in the round of 64 by unseeded Taro Daniel.
It means Federer’s passage to a sixth BNP Paribas Open title appears to be quite easy with so many top-ranked players not in the draw.
“Many times I have looked at the draw and, ‘Oh God, Rafa is my second round,’ or something,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner said. “So I prefer if Rafa is not in my second round. At the same time, I enjoy playing the guys, just because it’s one of the ultimate challenges to play Novak, Andy, Rafa, Stan, you name it, all these guys.
“But of course there is a different vibe when all these guys are not around. It’s not in your control. You can only beat the guy who’s opposite to you.”
With second seed Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem also bowing out early, Juan Martin del Potro looks to be his only biggest threat.
Next up for Federer is unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, but he is not looking too far ahead.
“I haven’t really checked out my draw entirely,” Federer said. “I really do go day by day. I wasn’t playing that good in my first round. So when you play that way and you feel that way, you can’t right away think, Oh, who would I be playing in the semis or in the finals? I think that would be a major mistake by myself.
“There is still plenty of good enough players around me to cause an upset. So I’m on a good run right now, and I try to maintain that, and you only maintain that if you respect every opponent, to be quite honest.”
Former British No 1s lead Cameron Norrie plaudits, saying ‘it doesn’t get much better than this’ for GB tennis
From wondering to what would happen when Andy Murray retired to having a first-ever men’s champion in Indian Wells.
The rise of Cameron Norrie: From feeling tennis was ‘too much’ to being Britain’s new leading man
Cameron Norrie has had a rise to prominence in 2021.
Filip Krajinovic reveals Novak Djokovic will play in Davis Cup Finals as they have ‘an agreement to play’
Novak Djokovic to feature at 2021 Davis Cup Finals?
‘I don’t know what people have against Brits with stealing shoes,’ jokes Cameron Norrie after shoes go missing
Brits and their shoes in Indian Wells.
‘If you fight, if you work, you can achieve anything,’ says Paula Badosa after winning BNP Paribas title
Paula Badosa is the 2021 BNP Paribas Open champion after beating Victoria Azarenka.
Indian Wells delight for Cameron Norrie as he caps brilliant year with BNP Paribas Open title
New British No 1 beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets for his second title of 2021.
Cameron Norrie gives his verdict as he storms into the Indian Wells final
The new British number one triumphed 6-2 6-4 and will take on either Taylor Fritz or Nikoloz Basilashvili on Sunday.
Get to know Britain’s new number one Cameron Norrie as he closes in on a rankings breakthrough
Norrie is guaranteed to overtake Dan Evans in the ATP rankings after reaching the semi-finals in Indian Wells.
Victoria Azarenka’s return to form sweeps her into the Indian Wells final
Paula Badosa will play Victoria Azarenka in…
Defeats for Zverev and Tsitsipas ensure shock final four at Indian Wells
Taylor Fritz saved two match points as he stunned world number four Alexander Zverev