That combined with the fact that he is undefeated against Wawrinka on hard courts, it is hard to pick against the 18-time Grand Slam champ. Obviously can't celebrate too long this time around.
"The room for error is so little", he said of the challenge posed by Federer.
Then came the 2017 Australian Open. All of Wawrinka's wins have been on clay, with the 18-time grand slam champion beating his doubles partner from the 2008 Beijing games at all 14 hard court matches they've played, the same surface at Indian Wells.
Federer has won four of the pair's past 5 matches, with the exception of their quarter-final clash at Roland Garros in 2015, where Wawrinka would go on to defeat Novak Djokovic for his debut French Open title. Jimmy Connors now holds that record, taking the crown at 31-years-old in 1984.
Federer's renaissance continued last week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., where he was a favorite heading into Saturday's semifinals. With a stroke of luck, the Swiss number two only had to face one, with Djokovic falling to Nick Kyrgios before he pulled out.
"I'm going to go out and play on my terms, win or lose. It's totally about being healthy, enjoying the tournaments I'm playing and trying to win those". I would have been ok with that.
Almost two months after the reigning Australian Open champion stunned the world with their impromptu collaboration with music composer David Foster, they're at it again.
Instead, he kick-started his career, and took some pressure off his shoulders.
"I feel happy and fresh". I'm not running after anything.
Roger Federer's good times just keep rolling. Sock is already in the top 20 and is a strong, deceptively quick athlete with quite a trump card in his forehand.
After taking a bathroom break between sets, the 17th-seeded Sock, playing in his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal, raised his game in the second, holding serve six straight games and fighting off the lone break point the ninth-seeded Federer had. Both men know each other's game well.
Gilbert said there's no reason to think Federer won't do it again. I mean, I think the one thing that we're seeing is that athletes are figuring out what they can do in their training and technology and diet and they're pushing the envelope. I'm sorry to the fans but I have to put my health first and I hope you understand.
The 30-year-old has produced some of the best tennis of her career at Indian Wells, beating second seed Angelique Kerber and this year's Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams in thrilling style. His wife and two sets of twins will be with him - the kids love the beach, he said.
He had never made it to the semi-finals until this year, and he survived a close shave against lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka in the fourth round and needed a third-set tiebreaker against rising Austrian talent Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals to do it. I will definitely be back.
"In the second set, I had to rely a lot on my second serve", Federer said. "But I kept fighting".
"I don't take this decision lightly, these are the matches we train for but I'm in no fit state to take to the court".