Roger Federer shies away from Superman tag

“Everybody has their flaws. So do I,” says the Swiss tennis great.

Roger Federer won his 100th career title at the Dubai Tennis Championship.   -  Getty Images

Roger Federer is still savouring his latest remarkable milestone, but the Swiss great says his 100th career title isn’t a sign he’s super-human.

“The problem is, people always elevate the superstar athlete to like Superman status like we’re super-human and all that stuff,” Federer said on Wednesday as he prepared for his next challenge at the Indian Wells Masters.

“I don’t see myself like that. Being perfect doesn’t exist. Everybody has their flaws. So do I,” Federer added.

Federer, owner of 20 Grand Slam titles, a record, reached the 100-title milestone with a ruthless 6-4, 6-4 dismantling of Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Dubai Championship final last Sunday. Seeded fourth at Indian Wells, he will launch his bid for a sixth title in the California Desert exactly one week later when he takes on either Peter Gojowczyk or Andreas Seppi in the second round.

‘Incredible’

He could find himself taking on Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, in the third round in a quarter that also includes sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan.

“It is something incredible to see, how [often Federer] plays at a high level and does not have many injuries,” said Nishikori. “For sure, he works so much harder than everybody [else].”

Read | The full list of Federer's singles triumphs

Federer, 37, said he never envisioned winning 100 titles — becoming just the second player along with 109-time winner Jimmy Connors to hit triple digits. “It’s an achievement that I never thought I was going to make and one I only started thinking about maybe in the last nine months or year or so, ever since maybe I got to 96 or 97,” he said.

‘Happy’

Federer’s 99th trophy had come in October, 2018, at his home event in Basel. He missed out on the century at the Paris Masters, the ATP Finals in London and then at Melbourne — failing to make the final at any of those events, but when he got there in Dubai, there was no room for doubt.

“It’s nice to pass the hurdle [on the first attempt in the finals] and get to 100 rather than going to every single event from now on and going ‘Is this going to be the week where you’re going to reach 100?’ and going ‘Yeah, I hope so,’” he said.

Kei Nishikori (in picture) on Federer: “For sure, he works so much harder than everybody [else].” Photo: AP

“I think all the players would have gotten fed up with that too so I’m happy I got it out of the way. What I like about it is that it’s maybe also a little time to reflect on all these great moments and great titles that I’ve had,” he said.

Read | Indian Wells: Prajnesh enters the main draw

“For me, they’re all very important. Some were more important than others, some were nicer than others but at the end every one has a special meaning for me.”