A decade ago when Roger Federer was a sprightly 25 he rolled into Miami Open as the two-time defending champion. Back then he simply expected to win. “I was winning 90 percent of my matches and eventually you’re on this train where you keep rolling and expect yourself to win a lot,” he told a smitten press corp before the 2017 Miami Open.
No one then could have predicted that Federer, even considering the unique beauty of his game, would still be elite in 2017 at age 35. (That used to be over-the-hill by far in tennis, but don’t tell Roger or that Serena Williams character either — they don’t seem to know.) Federer shocked the tennis world in January by winning his 18th Grand Slam in Australia. Then he beat Stan Wawrinka to win at Indian Wells and suddenly Federer is World No. 6 with two wins in 2017. It’s made even more unthinkable because he sat out the second half of 2016 injured. And the great Swiss champion knows his good fortune. “This is very special for me,” he says. “I definitely see things different today than I ever have.”