Federer eyes 7th Basel title

Roger Federer will aim to profit from the public adoration of his hometown crowd as he bids for a seventh title at the Swiss Indoors starting today.

The 34-year-old world number three will have certainly put aside his unexpected loss last week in Shanghai, where he was ambushed by Spain’s Albert Ramos in an opening match and went back to Europe only a few days after arriving to a hero’s welcome in China.

The player who got his start in the game at the tournament as a ballboy, owns six trophies from 11 Basel finals over a span of 15 years, standing 56-9 on home ground.

Federer opens tomorrow in the first round against Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin with his drive and confidence not particularly dented by his early Shanghai surprise.

Joining Federer in the field is double Grand Slam champion and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka (seeded second) and third seed Rafael Nadal, whose run to the Beijing final and Shanghai semis has helped the 29-year-old start repairing a poor season in the closing stages.

Wawrinka, winner of the Tokyo title this month, opens against Croatian serving king Ivo Karlovic while Nadal kicks off the week’s evening sessions when he faces Lukas Rosol today.

Rosol famously stunned Nadal in the Wimbledon second round in 2012.

Nadal lost in the Basel quarter-finals a year ago before revealing his need for an off-season appendectomy.

But the 14-time Grand Slam winner knows he is vulnerable on the indoor hardcourts which comprise the remaining fortnight of the ATP season.

“The bad news is that we go to indoors now until the end of the year. But at the same time I’m going to work hard to try to keep doing well, keep enjoying,” said Nadal.

South African Kevin Anderson, a Vienna quarter-finalist last week, takes the fourth seeding ahead of Frenchman Richard Gasquet and sixth seed John Isner.

Marin Cilic is seeded seventh ahead of 2014 finalist David Goffin.

The event lost former finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and Canadian Milos Raonic to injury pullouts.—AFP

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