Federer, who missed most of last season, dropping rapidly down the world rankings, knew he needed a revival in form, but most observers had know idea what was going to happen next.
With Djokovic and Murray going out early in Australia, it enabled Federer to come through some top opponents and beat his old foe – Raphael Nadal – in the final to land another big grand slam.
Coming into Indian Wells, the first big 1000 Masters tournament of the season in searing hot Californian weather, Federer again served noticed that he can mix it with the best of them. Similarly to Melbourne, Djokovic was defeated by Nick Krygios, whilst Murray was ousted early to leave the path clear once again.
En route, Federer met Nadal again and dispatched the Spaniard in just over an hour, followed by a slightly harder semi-final against American Jack Sock.
In the final, Federer met his compatriot who he had beaten 20 out of 23 meetings, of which none of Wawrinka’s wins had come on the hard court. As well as Wawrinka was hitting the ball, throughout the tournament, Federer seemed to be one step ahead, and two breaks in both sets enabled the Swiss legend to take the final 6-4, 7-5 to land his 5th 1000 Masters title.
Afterwards, Federer, 35, who said he was aiming to be in the top 8 going Wimbledon, has surprised himself.
“This has been a fairy tale week. It’s a beautiful feeling. Maybe it’s not as surprising as Australia but it’s still great to back it up by winning in America. I have totally exceeded my expectations. It’s been an unbelievable start to the year,” added Federer who becomes the oldest champion in the history of Indian Wells, beating Jimmy Connors to the honour who was 31 when he won it in 1984.
Before the men’s final, the capacity crowd were treated to a thriller in the women’s event, where Elena Vesnina beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, in a match that lasted beyond 3 hours in play to land her first big tournament win of her career.
The ATP and WTA players move onto the Miami Open next in another Masters tournament. Andy Murray has pulled out of this event with injury to get prepared for the clay season, whilst Novak Djokovic has an elbow injury which means he will not be taking part.