BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Federer Walks Down Memory Lane
by ATP Staff|
After establishing a new record with his 40th match win at the season-ending championships, defending champion Roger Federer remembered highlights from his 10 previous appearances on Tuesday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Federer, who made his debut in 2002 with a straight-sets win over Juan Carlos Ferrero in Shanghai, shared: “I remember being extremely excited having qualified because I was somewhat close in 2001. So when I did qualify, and I played Juan Carlos, who was sort of my age, I was very excited. I played a great match, solid from both sides. I was just a bit better. And then I played well throughout.
“That was a big moment for me because I was hoping to do well, increase my ranking because I knew every match I could win possibly in the round robin stages could really help my ranking down the stretch. That's exactly what it did. I think I finished sixth in the world that year.”
The following year, Federer won his first of six circuit finale titles in Houston. He emerged undefeated from a round robin group including Andre Agassi, David Nalbandian and Ferrero, and beat then-World No. 1 Andy Roddick in the semi-finals and Agassi in the final.
“That was obviously a huge breakthrough for me because I thought I was in the toughest group with Nalbandian, Ferrero and Agassi, all three baseline players,” he said. “It's like the worst situation for me because I used to like to come in, keep the rallies short. I just lost to Nalbandian at the US Open before that; I decided that I'll try to play him from the baseline and see if it works, obviously make it through. Next thing you know, I beat Agassi in the finals as well. I realised I cannot just hang with them from the baseline but almost beat them from the baseline.”
The Swiss stated that the tournament played a pivotal role in his success to come. “That gave me an amazing confidence going to Australia, becoming World No. 1 there, beating Ferrero and [Marat] Safin in finals and semi-finals. That was definitely one of the big tournaments for me, turning it around, playing much better from the baseline than I actually thought I could.”
In addition to chasing his third straight title at The O2, the 31 year old will be honoured on court this week with two ATP World Tour Awards. He was selected by his fellow players as the recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award for an eighth time and as the winner of the ATPWorldTour.com Fan’s Favourite presented by RICOH for a record 10th year. Federer received 57 per cent of all votes cast online by fans.
“I'm very, very honoured, really, and very proud in some ways to be so well liked by so many fans around the world, just not in one particular place or one country,” said Federer. “It really seems to be everywhere I go I get a lot of fan support. For me that's a big thrill, probably one of the reasons also I'm still playing today. No doubt about it, they are inspiring me and motivating me to show up every day in practice, in the match courts, and give my best, because I do feel I have big support and I do feel I need to reward them for their support.
“Ten is an amazing number. I can't believe it's been that long. All I can say is thank you in a big way, and everybody knows that.”