Federer eyes fresh ‘fairytale’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Jan 2018 10:37:45


 

THE prospects of an unprecedented 20th Grand Slam victory have strengthened for ageless wonder Roger Federer as his main rivals flounder ahead of the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, and there could be yet more glory with a depleted field of top contenders in Melbourne.
Andy Murray and Japan’s Kei Nishikori are already out of the year’s opening Grand Slam with injuries, while 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic is troubled by an elbow complaint and hasn’t played for six months.


The 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka, who hasn’t played since last year’s Wimbledon and subsequent knee surgery, has had little warm-up work and is no longer with his four-year coach Magnus Norman.
Yet amid it all Federer keeps going, winning all his matches at the mixed-teams Hopman Cup in Perth this month and seemingly injury-free.


“I just have to pace myself all the way up to the tournament in Melbourne, and I’ll be ready,” he said after his Hopman Cup final victory with Switzerland team-mate Belinda Bencic.
“I’m just excited going back to Melbourne where I had my fairytale run last year. It was crazy. It’s great to be the defending champion.


“I take it the right way. I won’t put extra pressure on myself, regardless of who’s going to play, or not play. For me it’s just important to be in a good mindset, well prepared, and ready to go.


“And I feel like I am ready.” Nadal, who lost to Federer in five sets in a vintage Australian final last year, has opted to join Djokovic at the Kooyong Classic exhibition event for some match practice in the week before the Open.