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13 April 2024

Fed Express warns competitors, says his game is still developing

Federer overcame David Ferrer's challenge aat Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex. (JOSEPH J CAPELLAN)

By John McAuley

Roger Federer recorded his first victory in Abu Dhabi yesterday and then fired a warning to his competitors by claiming his game is still improving.

The world No1 emphatically overcame David Ferrer at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex – the match lasted little more than an hour – to finish third in the Capitala World Tennis Championship and admitted afterwards that he was particularly pleased with his form ahead of this month's Australian Open.

"My game's where it wants to be at the beginning of the season; the break hasn't been too long so it's not like my game's really far away," said Federer after his 6-1, 7-5 win against Ferrer. "It's been a good 2009.

"It could've been even better if I didn't have my back problems at the beginning of the season. That cost me a few matches and some confidence against some of the top players, but I gave it my best shot.

"This tournament is very good preparation – it worked last year because I finished the season as [world] No1."

The Swiss star arrives at the first Grand Slam of the year via Doha's Qatar Masters and will be keen to go a step further in Melbourne after Rafael Nadal denied him the opportunity to add to his 13 Grand Slam titles in a five-set thriller there last year.

Federer has since added two more majors to reach a record 15, and, although his game seemed in fine shape in the Emirates, he insisted he is stronger now than he has ever been since turning professional in 1998.

"I think I'm improving because the more practice I get the more I feel like I'm more complete as a player," said the 28-year-old, who also confirmed his participation at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.


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