Federer celebrates 1,000 days at No 1 with first home-town title
Monday 30 October 2006
Soon there will only be Strictly Come Dancing left for him to win. Seven days after Roger Federer took the Madrid Masters for the first time, the world No 1 yesterday added one of the tournaments closest to his heart to his collection when he won the Swiss indoor championship in Basle.
Federer, who will decide today whether he is fit to play here at this week's Masters tournament in another city where he has never won, made up for failure in six previous attempts to win his home-town title by beating Fernando Gonzalez, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6.
"It's one of the most beautiful moments of my career," Federer said. "Although I always wanted to be a professional tennis player, I never dreamed as a ball-boy here that I would one day be the champion. It's also my one thousandth day as world No 1, so it's a very fitting day for this to happen."
Federer, who has won 11 titles this year, has lost only to Andy Murray in 44 matches since the French Open final, when defeat to Rafael Nadal effectively prevented him from winning the Grand Slam. He has had even less success on the other side of the French capital, having never gone beyond the quarter-finals on the indoor courts at Bercy, and after winning in Madrid and Basle it would be no surprise if he pulled out.
The Swiss still has to play in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai next month and three of the four confirmed qualifiers for that event, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Ivan Ljubicic, have already withdrawn from Paris, as has another likely participant, David Nalbandian. Nadal joined the absentees yesterday, blaming a rib injury which he aggravated in practice last week.
"I'm going to Paris tomorrow, no question, but whether it's to play or to pull out, I'll decide tomorrow," Federer said. In the wake of the withdrawals, Murray could be among those fancying his chances here. The 19-year-old Scot, who practised yesterday after recovering from a throat infection, has a bye in the first round and then plays Juan Ignacio Chela or Paradorn Srichaphan.
Murray's half of the draw also includes Richard Gasquet, James Blake and Tomas Berdych, the defending champion.
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