Federer continues winning run, but needs break

Federer also defeated Nadal in the Australian Open final in January, and two weeks ago en route to the Indian Wells title.

The first set was a set full of missed chances from both.

But with the way he is playing - Federer is leading the ATP Race to London with almost double the number of points (4,045) that second-placed Nadal has (2,235) and triple Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic's combined total (1,315) - it is hard to question any decision he makes.

That Kyrgios match had followed another three-set, final-tie-break thriller of two hours against Tomas Berdych, which followed a two-hour, two tie-break victory over Roberto Bautista Agut. That was a shock, but so far it's been one-off for the tennis wizard.Federer went 33-2, losing twice to Nadal twice in the first third of the 2006 season.

This was another day Roger Federer was never supposed to have, never supposed to win, never supposed to celebrate in a manner even he seemed to understand as he took the winner's trophy.

It was the third time they have faced off this year, and their 37 all-time meeting. "If I am ready for that, I think I am very excited about playing back on clay again".

In his on-court interview, Federer backed Nadal, who has himself been hampered by injury, for clay success.

"I want to stay healthy and enjoy myself because - when I am healthy and feeling good - I can produce tennis like this."

Federer's latest win propelled him to 91 tour-level titles. "I played the right way, like I have so often done this year, just very committed, and it paid off at the very end". "Even if I lost for the third time this year with Roger, it was a good start of the season, playing already three finals, disappointing for me that every three years I am here, in this position, but always with the smaller trophy".

"That is why this break is coming in the clay court season, focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that".

"I was more in fight-mode today, just trying to stay afloat". The back and forth continued as Federer had another break point in the following game, only for Nadal to save it with another big serve.

Federer said: "I think it was a close match". More than a match point for Federer, it was a moving punctuation mark, a yellow dot, a period. But he plans to skip all of the clay tournaments leading to the French.

"Yes, I would think so", he said.

At the beginning of 2017, if someone had said Roger Federer would go on to win not only the Australian Open, but also the Indian Wells and the Miami Open tournaments - popularly known as the Sunshine Double - we would have probably dismissed it. The French Open starts in 56 days' time on May 28.

"He was incredibly supportive and he always reminded me that the good times are going to come around", Federer said.

Nadal wouldn't come right out and say it, but he implied that if the three tournaments he played this year had been on clay, the results might have been different.

"I lost, by the way", Nadal started his answer, before the reporter tried to correct herself by saying, "I know, but it's a win anyway", - whatever that was supposed to mean.

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