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I have proved my critics wrong – Federer

Roger Federer

Roger Federer insists he still has the will and desire to compete at the highest level following his run to the final of Indian Wells.

The record 17-time grand slam champion was beaten by Novak Djokovic in a deciding set tiebreak on Sunday, and was denied a second title of 2014.

Federer, who defeated Djokovic to lift the title in Dubai a fortnight ago, says he currently has a “good balance” to his game having started the new season positively.

“A few weeks ago, months ago, a few people said I couldn’t play tennis anymore,” Federer told ATPWorldTour.com.

“So for me I need to focus on my own game, my own routines, hard work, make sure I keep a good schedule for myself, for my family and enjoy it. At the same time, that fire, wanting to win, is important and right now I have that. I think I have a really good balance right now.”

Federer struggled for form in 2013, winning just one trophy and suffering shock early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as battling with a back problem for the majority of the campaign.

Now playing with a new and larger racquet – one which he briefly tested out last season – the Swiss is pain-free. And he has returned to form by winning in Dubai, reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Brisbane, and losing out to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Despite being denied a record fifth title at Indian Wells, Federer is 19-3 this year, his best start since opening the season with a 23-2 mark two years ago. He’s 4-2 against top 10 opponents, the most wins of any player this year.

He moved up three spots to No. 5 in Monday’s rankings. That’s the closest he’s been to the top four since last June, when he was third.

“You don’t just forget how to play tennis. Age is just a number. It’s nothing more, really. That’s how I see it, anyway,” he said. “If you see the angle that last year was difficult, especially this time around last year in Indian Wells, that I’m able to turn it all around now and I’m really playing nice tennis.”

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