Roger Federer assured Rafael Nadal he will win the Miami Open one day after the Swiss beat the Spaniard to claim his third title of 2017.
The 35-year-old powered his way to a 6-3 6-4 final victory last night to add the crown to his Australian Open and Indian Wells successes since his return from a six-month injury lay-off.
Nadal, who was bidding for his first triumph under the Florida sun, was broken once in each set as he once again succumbed to a man who has proved his nemesis this year.
Speaking on court afterwards, Federer said: "First of all, congratulations Rafa on a great comeback yourself. I'm happy we are both here together. I enjoy playing against you.
"This is where it all started for us in 2004 when you were a little boy who grew into a big man and strong man. We have had some epic matches over the years which I didn't always enjoy, but mostly.
"We have had some great battles over the years and in 2005 when I beat you very luckily here in the final, I also probably told you, 'You are going to win this tournament' and I truly believe you are going to still win this tournament.
"You are too good not to win this one, so all the best for the coming years, of course. Also congratulations to (Nadal's) team – I know everybody is working very hard on your team to get you back in shape, and keep going. The clay-courts are around, so I'm sure you are going to tear it into pieces over there."
The victory was Federer's 26th ATP Masters 1000 title – only Novak Djokovic with 30 and Nadal with 28 have won more – and his 91st open era crown.
He said: "For me, the dream continues. It's been a fabulous couple of weeks here in Miami. Indian Wells was beautiful as well.
"Of course I'd like to thank my team as well. What a start to the year, I can't believe it. Thank you everybody who has been supporting me throughout this week and this year and also in my more difficult challenging times last year."
Nadal, who has himself been hampered by injury, was gracious in defeat, but determined to break his duck in Miami.
He said: "Congratulations to Roger and all his team for an amazing start to the season. I think it's one of the best comebacks ever on the Tour after a long injury, so well done. I am very happy for you.
"Miami has been a very good two weeks for me, even if I lost for the third time this year against Roger. It was a good start to the season, playing already in three finals.
"It's disappointing for me that I have been trying during all my career. Every three years, I am here in this position but always with the smaller trophy. I am going to keep trying."