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Federer considering skipping Paris to prepare for Finals

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-29 09:15
Hometown hero Roger Federer hands out pizza to the tournament's ball kids after he defeated Australian Alex de Minaur in the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Sunday. REUTERS

BASEL, Switzerland - Roger Federer clinched his 103rd career title in Basel on Sunday but said he might skip the opportunity to win a 104th at the Paris Masters.

The 38-year-old won his 10th Basel trophy, smothering young Australian Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-2 to secure what the Swiss legend described as "an unbelievable" success at the hometown tournament where he used to work as a ball boy.

He is now just six short of the record 109 ATP titles won by American Jimmy Connors but might be tempted to skip Paris, the final event of the regular season, to conserve his energy ahead of the ATP Finals in London.

"I've got a team meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss not just Paris but next season. I guess by tomorrow I'll know If I'm going to Paris or not," Federer said after lifting his fourth title of 2019, adding to wins in Dubai, Miami and Halle.

"My fitness is fine, I'm happy with how I feel. I just don't know if I should play next week. I'll figure it out with the team."

Federer returned to the Paris Masters last year for the first time since 2015 and reached the semifinals, where he lost a three-set thriller to Novak Djokovic, who is top seed ahead of Rafael Nadal in the French capital this year.

On Sunday, Federer cut an emotional figure as he was presented with the trophy at the Basel tournament, where he once worked as a ballboy. In the crowd of 9,000 were his wife and four children.

"It might be remembering back at all that went into this week, the family or maybe the (coaching) team aspect," said Federer when asked to explain his emotions.

"People think I just go out there and do it at will - but it's not that way at all.

"Sometimes I stand there and look back at what I've gone through. The ball kids running onto court for the trophy ceremony - that can get me going. Also thanking the fans at the end."

Federer said his success at Basel, where he is on a 24-match win streak and has won 75 matches against just nine losses, had been "an incredible journey".

"It leaves a mark for me," he added after making an appearance at his annual pizza party with the tournament's ball kids immediately after the trophy ceremony.

"To be able to play in a stadium with people celebrating your tennis is a wonderful feeling. I've had an incredible journey, and it's hit me hard winning in Basel. This is not something that I take as normal."

Nadal's No 1 priority

Meanwhile, Nadal said "I prefer to be No 1 to No 2" on Sunday as he prepared to continue his rankings battle with Djokovic at Bercy in Paris this week.

If the 33-year-old Spaniard finishes the year at No 1, it would be the fifth time he has done so, which would tie Djokovic, Federer and Connors.

At the moment, Nadal trails his Serbian rival, but the race is tight.

"It's fantastic," Nadal said. "I prefer to be No 1 to No 2 and No 2 to No 3. And of course, finishing the year world No 1 is something special, and I would love to make that happen."

Nadal's only competitive tennis since winning his 19th major at the US Open in September was the Laver Cup.

"I had a problem with my hand after the US Open, so I couldn't finish the Laver Cup the way that I wanted. Then I had to stop for a while," said the 33-year-old.

"I am here with the goal to play at 100 percent, and that's what I expect to do."

Nadal also took some time off to marry his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Oct 19.

Nadal has never won at Bercy but he refused to accept that Paris is an unlucky city for him.

"If it's not good luck that I won 12 times in Roland Garros, it's not bad luck that I never won here," said Nadal, who has a 48-6 record this year, winning 28 of his past 29 matches.

His most recent loss came in this year's Wimbledon semifinals against Federer.

"I missed this tournament a lot of times in my career. Sometimes I just didn't play well and other times opponents have been better than me.

"As everybody knows, for me Paris is the most important city in my tennis career, so I love to be here. It always gives me good vibes."

Nadal has also won only two indoor tournaments on the tour over his career.

Agence France-Presse

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