Federer praises Murray on comeback success, plays 1500th match

ATP Swiss indoors, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, 1500th career match, 10th title, Peter Gojowczyk, career-saving hip surgery, Radu Albot, Dusan Lajovic
Switzerland's Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd after winning his first round match against Germany's Peter Gojowczyk at the Swiss Indoor tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: PTI

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer praised former world number one Andy Murray’s weekend Antwerp title just 10 months after the Briton underwent a hip resurfacing.

Federer praised Murray after opening his bid for a 10th title at the ATP Swiss indoors in Basel on Monday (October 21), crushing German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in what was the Swiss legends 1,500th career match.

“Andy’s achievement was great,” Federer said after rolling through into the second round of the ATP Swiss Indoors in Basel.

“I was a little bit torn, since he beat (fellow Swiss) Stan (Wawrinka) in the final, but it was a great way for him to come back,” he added.

Federer said that Murray’s perseverance to regain match fitness after his major surgery was admirable.

“He’s been playing to try and get close to his old level,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner added of Murray, who competed on the circuit for four straight weeks ending in Antwerp on Sunday (October 20).

Also read: Murray wins European Open, first singles since return from surgery

“It’s nice to see Andy healthy again. I remember in the locker room of the Australian Open (when a tearful Murray played in pain and lost in a five-set first-round match in January). It was very confusing for him and for all of us. I’m extremely happy for him,” Federer said.

Federer’s landmark 6-2 6-1 success in his hometown set Federer up for his tilt at a 103rd title. “I thought the match was good,” the Swiss said.

“I felt a nice spring in my step. I was quick to the ball and it didn’t take me long to get used to the conditions, that’s positive. There is a danger in playing Peter indoors since he’s already had two solid qualifying matches. He also serves great indoors. But I was able to control things,” he added.

Federer is defending the 2018 title at his hometown event. The victory improved his career record at the tournament to 72-9 and increased his Basel win streak to 21 straight matches.

Also read: In a career of landmarks, Federer set for 1,500th match in Basel

Federer, who has made the Basel final on all of his last 12 visits, owns ATP titles this season in Dubai, Miami and Halle.

The Monday rout took just 54 minutes with Federer forced to break back in the second set before sprinting to the win.

He will face the winner from Radu Albot and Dusan Lajovic in the second round. Federer, the winner of the previous two editions, last lost here in the 2013 final to Juan Martin del Potro.

Australian Alex de Minaur beat Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-1, 7-5, a victory which sends the wild card into a match with the winner from second seed Alexander Zverev and American Taylor Fritz.

Henri Laaksonen knocked out French eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5 for the evening’s second Swiss victory and German Jen-Lennard Struff defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2.

(With inputs from agencies)