A euphoric Roger Federer declared: "The dream continues" after he defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Miami Masters on Sunday (2 April) to add to his Indian Wells and Australian Open titles.

The Swiss ace has made the best start to a season since 2006 and is poised to rise to world number four in the ATP world rankings a far cry from the start of the season when he was ranked number 17.

It was the third meeting of the season between the two long-time rivals and Federer continued his dominance over Nadal following his triumphs in the finals of the Australian Open and the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Masters.

The 35-year-old has been in extraordinary form this season he was the favourite to win the title going into the final.

Federer came through tough matches against Tomas Berych and Nick Kyrgios, but showed no signs of fatigue in the summit clash. He rarely put a foot wrong during the one hour and 34 minutes he took to wrap up a 6-3, 6-4 win to clinch his third title of the season.

The Swiss ace hit 29 winners during the encounter, with 19 of them coming off his forehand wing. And despite the scoreline suggesting a dominating victory for Federer, he believes it was a close match in which Nadal had his fair share of chances.

"I think it was a close match," Federer said after the win. "Maybe if you didn't see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you're thinking it was straightforward with couple breaks and that was it."

"That's not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today," he added.

Federer also shed light on his future plans after his triumph in Miami and confirmed that he will skip the entirety of the clay court season except the French Open that begins on 22 May. The 18-time Grand Slam champion will be out of action for over a month before returning at Roland Garros.

The 35-year-old, who returned from a lengthy period on the sidelines in January, is aware that his body needs ample rest to perform at his best levels and has hence decided to skip the three Masters Series events in Monte Carlo, Paris and Rome leading up to the second Grand Slam of the year.

"When I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. When I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa," the former world number one said.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer beat Nadal for the third time in 2017 in the finals of the Miami Masters on Sunday (2 April) Getty

"That is why this break is coming in the clay court season, focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that.

"I'm not 24 anymore so things have changed in a big way and I probably won't play any clay court event except the French," he said, explaining his decision to take a lengthy mid-season break.