Roger Federer relishing challenge at Indian Wells

Roger Federer relishing challenge at Indian Wells

The Australian Open champion says he is not fazed by the draw and will approach each battle with the same mindset.

Craig Vickers

Australian Open champion Roger Federer says he is excited by the prospect of his star-studded quarter at Indian Wells.

The Swiss was drawn into the bottom quarter of the draw in California alongside players the caliber of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev.

It means the former world number one is set to meet Nadal in the fourth round of the Masters 1000 event – their first encounter since their epic five-set battle in the Australian Open final in January.

Djokovic, barring an impromptu exit, will await in the quarter finals but Federer instead is looking forward to the challenges in the early rounds.

Relishing challenge

“It doesn't matter. I've gone through so many draws. I came here to Indian Wells to play against those guys. So it doesn't matter if it's a semi, a final or actually a fourth round,” said the Swiss number two on Wednesday.

First and foremost, the 35-year-old will have to navigate his way past either Dudi Sela or Stephane Robert in the second round and a potential banana skin in Steve Johnson or Kevin Anderson, results permitting, in the third round.

“When you hear Rafa is in your section you’re like OK, then you hear that maybe Novak is in your section and you’re like OK, fine.”

Federer was stunned by Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai last week (Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images Europe)

Good to be back

Federer was forced to skip the event last year with a knee injury but says he is pleased to be back in the desert.

The Swiss star has won the crown four separate times but last tasted glory in 2012 when he dispatched the American John Isner in straight sets.

“It's good to be back here and still on the comeback,” he added.

 “I'm enjoying practice more than ever and can't wait for the matches to roll around.”