Roger Federer becomes oldest player to win ATP Masters 1000 title with Indian Wells victory

By @saihoops on
Roger Federer, Indian Wells
Mar 19, 2017; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Roger Federer (SUI) poses with the championship trophy after defeated Stan Wawrinka (not pictured) 7-6, 6-4 in the men's final in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. USA TODAY Sports/Jayne Kamin-Oncea

At 35 years and 7 months, Roger Federer became the oldest player to win an ATP Masters 1000 title Sunday when he overcame fellow Swiss star Stan Wawrinka during the finals of the BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells. Andre Agassi, at 34 years and 3 months, had won the Cincinnati Masters in 2004.

Federer also became the oldest winner in the desert tournament's history, surpassing American Jimmy Connors, who was 31 years and 5 months when he won the Indian Wells title in 1981. Federer, with 90 career ATP titles, is now third in the all-time list behind Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) for most championships in the Open era. Though Federer isn't admittedly chasing Connors' record, the Swiss master acknowledged that "it's a nice goal to have" when reminded of the feat a day before Sunday's final. 

With Sunday's victory, Federer also improved his head-to-head record against Wawrinka to 20-3, continuing the domination of his fellow countryman. Federer breezed past his competition at Indian Wells, dropping just on serve in five matches, during the first game of the second set against Wawrinka. He never dropped a set. On Sunday, he slammed 23 winners, including 16 off his "new-and-improved" backhand during the 80-minute match against Wawrinka, who didn't do himself any favours with 21 unforced errors. 

Roger Federer explains why he loves returning to Indian Wells

Federer, who missed last year's Indian Wells event due to injury, acknowledged that the tourney is one of his favourites due to the atmosphere and scenic setting. "I was very sad when I couldn’t come here last year so just being here is a beautiful feeling. It’s been just a fairytale week. I’m still on the comeback. I hope my body is going to allow me to keep on playing. I came here for the first time 17 years ago so to be here again as the champion is an amazing feeling. And I can’t tell you enough what it means to me," Federer, who captured his record-tying fifth Indian Wells title Sunday, said during an emotional trophy presentation, via Fox Sports.

Meanwhile, Wawrinka, who lost the 2017 Australian Open semi-finals to Federer earlier this year, jokingly referred to the 17-time Grand Slam champion as an "a**hole" during the ceremony. “I’ve lost some tough ones against you (Federer), but when you played the final in Australia (earlier this year), I was your biggest fan... I want to congratulate Roger. He’s laughing. He’s an asshole but it’s OK.”

Roger Federer will now set his sights on the Miami Open, another ATP Masters 1000 event. With top seeds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray pulling out due to injuries, Federer enters the tournament as the prohibitive favourite.