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Federer enters familiar fray at ATP Finals
Photographers covering the tennis circuit coo over how easy it is taking pictures of Roger Federer such is his grace when he moves about the court or strikes the ball.
They will have potentially two more occasions to document his poise as the second seed plays a semi-final on Saturday at the ATP Finals against David Goffin.
Federer, 36, is in the last four of the competition for the 14th time in 15 appearances. For the 26-year-old seventh seed, it is all new.
While Federer emerged from the Boris Becker group unbeaten in his three matches, Goffin, who is making his debut at the 2017 competition, had to wait until his final encounter in the Pete Sampras group to book his passage.
The omens are not good for Goffin. The Belgian has lost all six of his meetings with Federer. The last was a particularly blistering affair. The Swiss thrashed him 6-1 6-2 in 60 minutes in the semi-final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel in October. Federer went on to claim the title – his seventh of the season.
Goffin was candid about the magnitude of the task on one of the most prestigious stages on the tennis circuit.
"Honestly, I don't know what to do. But I'm going to try something, something different, something that I've never done in the past."
An obvious tactic because Federer has had most of the answers throughout a spectacular year.
He returned from a six month injury lay-off in January and, seeded 17th, won the Australian Open beating fourth seed Stan Wawrinka and ninth seed Rafael Nadal in the semis and final. Each match went to five sets.
He went on to the American hard courts in the spring where he collected the ‘sunshine double’ of the Indian Wells and Miami Masters. He skipped the clay court season and reemerged to claim the Halle crown and his 19th Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon. It was his eighth overall success on the hallowed lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
And as he broaches the semi-final, having never lost a match to any of the remaining players in the draw, a seventh end of season championship is expected.
"When I first played in the tournament, it was like being a kid in a candy store, sharing the locker room with legends of the game, seeing them prepare, being able to practise with them, playing doubles with or against them," he said. "They were special times.
"But now I'm very calm. There's a deeper understanding of what I'm going through. So maybe the satisfaction is when I do show up at the best tournaments in the world, I know it's not normal maybe to be here, so I appreciate it maybe even more so now at this age."