Roger Federer continues year-end surge with win at Paris Masters
The Swiss tennis star won his first Paris Masters title Sunday, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, 6-1, 7-6 (3), in Federer's first-ever appearance in the tournament's final. It is the 18th Masters title of his career but first of the year.
“I'm just ecstatic to have played so well this week,” said Federer, who pulls ahead of Andre Agassi and one behind all-time leader Rafael Nadal on the Masters win list. “I have had many attempts to win Paris, and for some reason I wasn't able to. It's a special victory.”
This will be the first year since 2002 that Federer has not won a Grand Slam title -- he has 16 in his career -- and he has dropped to No. 4 in the world rankings, falling out of the top three for the first time since 2003.
But he has been playing better since taking six weeks off after the Davis Cup playoff against Australia in mid-September, winning the Swiss Indoors last week and 12 straight matches overall.
“I have had some really tough losses this year, but I kept believing the year wasn't over,” said Federer, who has won only three tournaments in 2011. “I'm not playing to prove anything to anybody. I play for myself, I play for Switzerland [and] just to enjoy myself.”
The former world No. 1 will play in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London next week. “I can still finish this year on a high,” he said. “Now I have a massive highlight coming up in a week's time.”
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Roger Federer after winning his final match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday. Credit: Ian Langsdon / EPA