INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Though Roger Federer has not won a grand slam singles title since he claimed the Wimbledon crown in 2012, the Swiss master believes he is playing some of the best tennis of his career at the age of 33.
He outclassed his long-time rival, Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic, with a brilliant all-round display in the final of the Dubai Championships earlier this month and cannot recall ever serving better.
“I feel like I am playing very well,” Federer, a 17-times grand slam singles champion, told reporters on Wednesday while preparing for the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Well Tennis Garden.
“I am serving as good as I ever have, I am playing very good attacking tennis and I am playing very committed, which is maybe something I haven’t always done throughout my career.”
Asked if there was anything he could no longer do on the court as he approaches his mid-thirties that was effortless for him a decade ago, Federer replied: ”Not really.
”I have a hard time remembering back how I felt in 2002,“ he added, sparking loud laughter in the interview room. ”(Ten years ago) I felt like I was more insecure with my game, I was more worried about a bad day.
“Today I don’t feel like I have that many bad days any more. Maybe sometimes you just come out and it’s just not working. That sometimes happens and it happened very few times in the years when I was very dominant.”
Federer returns this week to one of his favourite venues, having claimed four titles at Indian Wells, including a unique run of three in a row from 2004-2006.
Asked why he felt no one had managed to match his feat since by winning at least two consecutive BNP Paribas Open crowns, Federer replied: ”I just think it’s a coincidence.
“If you are playing well here, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to win this one a few times in a row, to be honest.”
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is the first of back-to-back Masters 1000 events on the ATP Tour, with the Miami Open scheduled to follow from March 25.
Though the two tournaments are extremely well run and attract the best players in the world, Federer has never been a big fan of them being squeezed together.
“I don’t mind the 10 days but when it’s back-to-back 10 days there’s a lot of time that gets wasted, especially for those who lose (in the) first round,” he said.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney