Federer back on track at Indian Wells

After a six-week break from competition, Roger Federer is back in action at the ATP Indian Wells tournament. The world number two may get the chance for revenge against Rafael Nadal who will defend his Californian desert trophy.


AFP - Roger Federer will shake off the rust following a six-week break from competition by playing in the ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament which begins Wednesday.

The world number two's last competition was the Australian Open final on February 1, which featured a teary trophy ceremony as the Swiss lost to Rafael Nadal.

Federer, who has 13 grand slam titles just one behind the all-time record of 14 held by Pete Sampras, is keen to kick start his spring season.

And he appears to be finally lining up another world-class coach in former Andre Agassi mentor Darren Cahill, who has been working with him over the last week in Dubai.

Federer has lifted three trophies on the trot in the Californian desert, the last in 2006, Since then, rivals Novak Djokovic and Nadal have taken the honours at the Tennis Garden.

The 27-year-old Swiss missed last weekend's Davis Cup due to a sore back. Switzerland was beaten by the US 4-1.

But his physio Pierre Pagannini says Federer will be ready for a month-long run of US hardcourt play in California and Florida.

The Indian Wells women's main draw begins Wednesday while the men start action on Thursday.

Top seed Nadal will defend his desert trophy after leading Spain into the Davis Cup quarter-finals over Djokovic's Serbia.

The Spaniard joined Federer in missing Dubai last month, but showed devastating touch at the weekend. "My game felt much more secure," Nadal said.     Third seed Djokovic comes to the Tennis Garden wondering what went wrong after losing both of his Davis matches.

He is adjusting to a new racket and yearning for the form which saw him win the Australian Open title at the start of 2008.

"I'm more comfortable with the racquet and comfortable on the court," said the 21-year-old. "I'm just trying to play the tennis that I played in the first part of the 2008.

"If I do so, I think I will be pretty successful."

British fourth seed Andy Murray is sure to play for the first time since withdrawing before a Dubai match with a mystery virus.

While missing the Davis Cup, the Scot did get the all-clear from doctors as he tries to close the gap on Djokovic.

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