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Roger Federer’s March to the Top Begins at Indian Hills This Week 113

Posted on March 07, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won his first championship at Indian Wells in 2004.

No doubt the anti-Federer-contingent cannot be happy with the recent results of the tennis star who will not die or fade away—even after turning 30.

Just when they think the Swiss fountain of youth has congealed into lumpy cheese fondue, Federer revives his game and comes back free-flowing as he did during his dominating best.

Such was the case recently in Dubai. The hard, fast courts in the United Arab Emirates desert suited Federer just fine as he rebounded from predicted obscurity to reclaim his fifth title in Dubai 7-5, 6-4—much to the shock and dismay of Andy Murray and the Scot’s camp.

Murray had pulled his own coup d’etat by upsetting the No. 1 seed and reigning world champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Murray, however, was not able to arrest the development of the Federer forehand on the hard courts of Dubai, losing in straight sets in the final.

No other man has won five tennis titles in Dubai. The courts there suit Federer’s game—which may explain why Nadal has been absent from the Dubai desert since 2008.

Once the world No. 2 figured out that he had to ration his playing time, Dubai was sacrificed because the hard courts, especially the faster hard courts, took too much out of Nadal’s vulnerable knees.

Just as well for Federer’s fans. Playing Nadal often becomes a non-productive exercise for the 16-grand slam champion.  Before each major, Federer’s backers sink to their knees praying to play Djokovic or Murray before Nadal. Much of it has to do with the “confidence level” Federer spoke of after his recent victories over top ten opponents.

After winning 33 of his last 35 matches, Federer will enter the contest at Indian Wells with renewed confidence and vigor. Since losing his semifinal battle with Novak Djokovic at the US Open, the world No. 3 has captured titles at the World Tour Finals in London, overcoming Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

Prior to Dubai, Federer claimed the title in Rotterdam over Juan Martin del Potro. Now the Swiss has captured this outdoor title in Dubai defeating world No. 4 Andy Murray.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

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      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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