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Federer aims for top spot

Saturday, March 10, 2012

INDIAN WELLS, California - Roger Federer heads into the Indian Wells tournament riding a modest win streak and hoping to recapture the magic that won him three straight in the Californian desert from 2004.

The 16-time grand slam winner has already clinched a pair of titles in 2012, winning the past two tournaments he has entered in Rotterdam and last week in Dubai.

"For me, it has been good. My body has been taking a beating but it is holding up well," said Federer on Wednesday as he prepared for his opening match in the men's draw which begins on Thursday.

"I don't think I have overplayed, but I have played enough. I have to be careful I do everything right not to get injured."

Federer clinched his fifth Dubai Open title and 72nd career ATP Tour crown on Saturday with an impressive 7-5 6-4 win over Andy Murray.

"I have been feeling really good out there and it is nice going on to the court on the big points and knowing exactly what you want to do and what you can do and what you can't do," Federer said.

"If you don't play enough, you forget all those things. It can be a bit of a blur."

The world No.3 turned 30 last August and says, with age, comes wisdom and the realisation that you can't go full speed off the court if you want to remain at the top of the rankings.

"I used to do skiing, playing tennis, squash and soccer and you are like 'I can't believe I just did that and now my knee hurts and I can't move anymore'.

"I did my fair share of mistakes earlier. As time goes by, you don't have the same energy level so you start cutting back and getting other interests that aren't so brutal on the body. And eventually, you get to the time, where I am in right now, and you just don't do any other sports except tennis.

"I have to protect my body. I just have to practise well and stay injury-free. Every player goes through a phase like that where your career becomes too important to you and you don't want to get injured doing something stupid."

Last year at Indian Wells, Federer lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic. He reached the French Open final and the semis of the US and Australian opens but injuries also took their toll as 2011 marked the first time since 2002 the Swiss star did not capture at least one grand slam.

The third-seeded Federer is in a tricky quarter of the draw that includes a number of players who could pose a threat to him.

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