Tennis News

Tennis-Smiles for Federer after winning start at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, California, March 16 (Reuters) - Swiss world number one Roger Federer, back in action after recovering from a recent viral problem, smiled broadly after easing through his opening match at the Pacific Life Open on Sunday.

The top seed crushed Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-2 in a second-round encounter at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden where he was champion for three years in a row from 2004.

“I’m happy the way it went today,” a beaming Federer told reporters after breaking his opponent three times on the Stadium Court to wrap up victory in 68 minutes.

“I came up with some nice plays at the right moments so I was very pleased with my performance today. I wouldn’t play too risky but I got off to a good start and could have taken many more chances, I think.

The 26-year-old Swiss said he moved pretty quickly on court.

“I was happy with that. No breathing problems, no pains or aches, so everything was fine.”

Federer had competed in only two ATP events this season after succumbing to mononucleosis (glandular fever) at the end of last year.

He lost to Serb Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January and was beaten in the first round in Dubai last week by Briton Andy Murray.

“I haven’t played much and I think this is the difficulty,” said Federer, a winner of 12 grand slam titles.

“But then again, every first round you play in a big tournament, or any tournament, is always a bit of pressure if you’re No. 1 seed.

“You just don’t feel at ease like you do feel in a second or third round. When you start a tournament and you start it well, you get on a roll. I guess for the second round I’ll be much more relaxed.”

Federer, who has spent a record 215 consecutive weeks at the top of the men’s rankings, will next meet Frenchman Nicolas Mahut who beat Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)