Roger Federer says he is still riding the wave and is yet to recover from the surprise of winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open.
The 35-year-old missed six months of the 2016 season due to a knee injury and came into the first major tournament of the year as the 17th seed. The Swiss ace was not labelled as one of the favourites ahead of the tournament, which caused a considerable amount of surprise when he made the summit clash.
Federer beat higher ranked players during his run to the final and had to channel some of the best ever attacking tennis witnessed to overcome long-time nemesis Rafael Nadal in the final. The Swiss maestro however has warned that he will not be at the same level when he takes to the court for the first time since his win at the Dubai Tennis Championships this week.
The former world number one revealed that he is still not back to his best and will only make an assessment after the Miami Masters at the start of April. He is still unsure of how his body will react to the exertions as it will be just his third ranking tournament in almost eight months.
"Like I said early on in this season, or at the end of last year, it's going to take me some time, until probably April, to feel my best because then I would have played best-of-five set matches in Australia, back-to-back matches in Dubai and maybe some in Indian Wells and Miami, and then after Miami, I would really know where I am at," Federer said, as quoted on news.com.au
"So I feel like maybe it's still a work in progress for me — just getting to understand how the body is going to react, how much load can the body take. In the mind, I'm fresh again.
"Look, I know the first round is tough. I don't see myself as a favourite here in this tournament (in Dubai) even though I have a great track record. It all starts from zero here. The break is too big for me to come in and just play like I did in Australia. Conditions are a bit different here — it's still fast and when it's fast, the margins are small. So I have to take it one at a time," the former world number one explained.