Roger Federer became tennis’s first repeat champion of 2019 when he won his 101st career singles title on Sunday by beating defending champion John Isner in the Miami Open final, 6-1, 6-4. “It’s unbelievable. I played here in 1999 for the first time and here I am in 2019. It means a lot to me,” said Federer after sealing the victory.
The temporary stands inside the Miami Dolphins’ NFL stadium were almost full for the final, but Federer quickly defused any drama, breaking in the opening game and then twice more in a first set that lasted only 24 minutes. Federer neutralised Isner’s big serve and won 32 of 35 points on his own serve. The 6ft 10in Isner had to scramble desperately to stay in rallies and hurt his left foot late in the second set. He was barely fit enough to finish the match but managed to limp through the final few points.
Federer paid tribute to his opponent’s determination after the match. “John is a great player and a great person and I’m so sorry for your foot [injury],” he said. Isner, meanwhile, joked he wanted to see Federer play into old age. “Roger, we’re so lucky to have you and we want you to keep playing and literally never retire,” he said.
Federer was the Dubai champion on 2 March, and was runner-up at Indian Wells two weeks ago. He’s 18-2 this year, which stamps him as a serious threat in grand slams later this year, even at the age of 37.
The first 33 men’s and women’s titles this year were won by 33 different players, including Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open women’s final on Saturday.