Federer regains confidence after beating Sampras

March 12th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by admin  

Indian Wells (California), March 12 (DPA) Roger Federer flew cross-country to Indian Wells Tuesday convinced that his tennis is back on track following an exhibition win over tennis legend Pete Sampras. The world number one is off to his slowest start since 1999 as a youngster on the ATP. More than two months into the season, the 12-time Grand Slam champion is still without a title in 2008.

But that situation was caused in part by the mononucleosis virus, which prevented Federer from performing to his usual level. He only found out the cause of the condition that had handicapped his game last month after extensive medical tests in Switzerland and Dubai. However, now, things appear to be getting back to normal on court.

“It was like a dream come true for me,” Federer said after beating his idol Sampras for the third time in four matches in an informal exhibition series that began last autumn in Asia.

More than 19,000 fans - including Federer friend Tiger Woods - were in the audiences as tennis returned to the Madison Square Garden arena for the first time in 12 years.

“It was great to play against my childhood hero here at the Garden as I had never played here. We had lots of fun,” said Federer. “I felt great, now, I really need more matches. It’s nice to have been pushed to the brink.”

Federer takes the confidence from 19 aces against the former king of serve and more than 50 winners in the just-for-fun match which seemed dead serious. “There was lots of pressure for both of us,” admitted Federer.

“I thought I had everything under control, then he came back out of nowhere with some great serving. I hit some great shots when I needed to.”

Federer will face a weekend start at Indian Wells, where he has a chance of stretching his ranking points lead over number two Rafael Nadal and third-ranked Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.

Federer has room to gain after falling in the second round in California and the fourth in Florida, both times a year ago to Argentine Guillermo Canas.

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