Federer Chasing Elusive Sunshine Double In Miami
The stretch remains one of the most intense on the ATP World Tour: Four weeks. Two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. Drastically different conditions.
At the first Masters 1000, the BNP Paribas Open, the dry heat of the desert that can befuddle even the best players. At the other, the Miami Open presented by Itau, the wretched humidity needs only minutes to turn your light T-shirt into a soaked towel.
But battle through the conditions, the tough draws and the world-class opponents, and you can walk away with one of the most impressive achievements of the season: Back-to-back Masters 1000 titles on hard courts.
Only seven players since 1991 have swept the March Masters and won back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami titles in the same year: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Marcelo Rios, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Jim Courier. Djokovic leads the elite group, having accomplished the Sunshine Double four times in his career – 2011, '14-15-16.
Over the next two weeks, Federer will go for the Masters 1000 sweep for the third time in his 20-year career. Federer, who beat Stan Wawrinka to win the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, won Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back in 2005-06.
The Swiss star, who at 35 became the oldest Masters 1000 champion on Sunday, said he thinks he'll be feeling fresh in Key Biscayne, where he'll be playing for the 16th time.
“I think I'm going to be fine on that front just because I'm feeling too good on the court, and I'm having too much fun. Winning creates a lot of good energy,” said Federer, who is 13-1 on the season and has won two of the three tournaments he's entered.
But that's not to say Federer will walk into the Miami Open expecting the title. “I know how hard it is to win back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami titles. That's why again I go to Miami knowing it's going to be really difficult,” Federer said. “As we know in Masters 1000s, draws are brutal early on already. There is no warming up and playing qualifiers ranked No. 250, which even they are not easy to beat sometimes on any given day and especially in the best of three sets, the margins are small.”
In 1998, Chilean Marcelo Rios became only the fourth player to pull off the Sunshine Double. The back-to-back titles helped him reach No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The left-hander became only the 14th man in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings, since 1973, to reach the top spot.
“Winning like this and beating [Andre] Agassi in the final, the former No. 1, I can't ask for more. It's really, really good,” Rios said after winning the Miami title. “I feel really proud, being Chilean, to be the only one to be No. 1 in the world.”