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Tennis: No mid-life crisis as Federer enters new era with win

Roger Federer entered his 30s and a new era with a clinical 7-5 6-3 victory over Canadian Vasek Pospisil at the Montreal Masters on Wednesday, his sights firmly set on winning more titles

Reuters, Wednesday 10 Aug 2011
Roger Federer
Switzerland's Federer hits a return to Canada's Pospisil at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal (Reuters)
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 Playing his first competitive match since celebrating his 30th birthday on Monday, Federer did not look any older, or any the wiser as he strolled onto centre court to the usual applause impeccably attired in a blue shirt and headband.

In fact, it was business as usual for the Swiss maestro, as he began his tune-up for the U.S. Open playing his first event since a quarter-final loss to Frenchman Jo Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon.

 “It felt good,” Federer told reporters, when asked how his first match as a 30-year-old went. “I’m still able to move.

“It was my first match outdoors on hard courts…it was a bit tough.

“I believe I didn’t play so well, wasn’t aggressive enough but also I must say he didn’t give me the opportunity.”

While there were noticeable signs of rust, there was no evidence of a tennis mid-life crisis, as Federer brushed aside the 21-year-old Canadian, who grew up idolizing him.

Just three days into his third decade, a straightforward victory over the 155th ranked wildcard, who failed to qualify for his home tournament the last three years, will add little to the debate over Federer’s career arc.

But a third round meeting with Tsonga, his Wimbledon conqueror, could prove more telling of what the future holds.

TSONGA AGAIN

The 13th seeded Frenchman set up the Wimbledon rematch taming Australian Bernard Tomic 6-3 7-6.

“He’s still alive, otherwise he wouldn’t be here,” laughed Tsonga when reminded that Federer had just turned 30.

“Even if I beat him in Wimbledon, that doesn’t mean I will be able to beat him all the time.

“He’s still the best player of all time.

“I have my chances but it’s going to be difficult.”

To dismiss Federer as a fading force, especially on the Canadian hard courts where he is a two-time winner and finalist on two other occasions, would be a mistake.

Federer may have added just one title to his resume this year but he remains the only player this season to beat Novak Djokovic (48-1), who was making his competitive debut as world number one later on Wednesday against Russian Nikolai Davydenko.

After a nearly six-week layoff, Federer was not at his sharpest against Pospisil piling up unforced errors as his normally pinpoint groundstrokes sailed long or into the net.

But there was never any panic as the world number three slowly zeroed in, finally breaking the Canadian to take the first set.

Back in rhythm, Federer quickly put his stamp on the match, breaking his opponent at the first opportunity in the second on the way to a 3-0 lead before finishing off the young Canadian with a service winner followed by a wave to the adoring fans.

Other seeds moving on included seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who rallied to register a 4-6 6-2 6-3 decision over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, while Swiss number 14 Stanislas Wawrinka sped past American Michael Russell 6-3 6-2.

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