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Federer: The Fire Still Burns

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesRoger Federer is content with his performance in Indian Wells following a run to the final.

Roger Federer’s fire to win is burning once again.

Novak Djokovic may have successfully exacted revenge on the Swiss maestro in Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final, after a three-set defeat in Dubai two weeks ago, but an upbeat Federer was not discouraged and expressed his desire to continue building on a great start to the season.

“A few weeks ago, months ago, a few people said I couldn't play tennis anymore,” Federer said.  “So for me I need to focus on my own game, my own routines, hard work, make sure I keep a good schedule for myself, for my family and enjoy it.

“At the same time, that fire, wanting to win, is important and right now I have that. I think I have a really good balance right now.”

A four-time champion in Indian Wells, Federer was seeking to claim his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and join Marin Cilic as the only players with 20 match wins in 2014. While his 11-match win streak was halted on Sunday, the 32 year old’s morale was far from broken. Following a start to the season that exceeded expectations, Federer says he’s “just happy to be playing well again.”

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Federer added: “You don't just forget how to play tennis. Age is just a number. It's nothing more, really. That's how I see it, anyway.

“If you see the angle that last year was difficult, especially this time around last year in Indian Wells, that I'm able to turn it all around now and I'm really playing nice tennis. I truly believe that playing good tennis it's maybe sometimes a little easier to lose this way. Because I really did believe I was playing good tennis. It was a solid match. It was good also movement wise. My serve was around. It was an overall good performance.”

Federer is projected to ascend to No. 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. As the Basel native embarks on a cross-country journey to Miami for the second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year, the Sony Open, he admits a return to World No. 1 would be “a big deal,” but remains focused on the task at hand.

“I got very, very close,” Federer said about the final. “It's encouraging for Miami and for the rest of the season, no doubt."

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