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Federer and Nadal to team up in Laver Cup

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have faced each other in eight major finals, plan to team up as doubles partners next year during the inaugural Laver Cup.

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Federer to start 2017 season at Hopman Cup in Perth

Roger Federer will kick off his 20th season as a professional at the Hopman Cup next year, returning to the international team tournament in Perth for the first time since 2002.

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Federer to miss rest of season, including Olympics, US Open with knee injury

Roger Federer will miss the Rio Olympics and the remainder of the 2016 season, including the US Open, in order to fully recover from the knee surgery he underwent earlier this year.

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Swiss street named in Roger Federer's honour

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has inaugurated a street bearing his name before 1,500 admirers in Biel, canton Bern.

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Roger Federer attends Oscars in Hollywood

Roger Federer stepped out onto the red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Federer floors Berdych in 90 minutes at Australian Open

Swiss marvel Roger Federer blitzed long-time rival Tomas Berdych in straight sets to storm into the fourth round with a vintage performance at the Australian Open on Friday.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 17th after an injury-hit 2016, downed the 10th-seeded Czech 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, in just 90 minutes.

Federer reached the round of 16 in Melbourne for the 15th time where he will face Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

"From the baseline, honestly I felt worlds better than in the first couple of rounds. Yeah, it's wonderful. I'm really happy of course," Federer said.

"I'm sure I've done some sort of a performance like this before. When you don't get broken, you don't have to save any break points, you're always in the lead, it's always easier to play."

Any concerns that Federer might be in for a tough night evaporated with a double service break to lead Berdych 5-2 in the opening set.

The Swiss maestro continued to put on a tennis masterclass to leave the big Czech floundering.

Federer breezed through the opening set in 26 minutes, made it 2-0 another 31 minutes later and cruised through the final set in 33 minutes to complete an astonishing demolition of one of his long-time rivals.

Federer broke Berdych's big serve four times and did not face one break point on his own service, while hitting 40 winners against just 17 unforced errors.

"I didn't expect it as such, to be honest, especially not this kind of a scoreline," Federer said.

"Especially having to save no breakpoints, just always rolling on the serve. That was a big surprise to me.

"I think it was a great mental test for me to see if I could stay in the match point for point, keep rolling.

"I was able to do that. That's where I'm just really happy that I was able to deliver that.

"I had no expectations really for tonight, but I did surprise myself."

On facing Nishikori in his next match, the 35-year-old Swiss legend said: "I'm a big fan of his game. He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or crosscourt.

"He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind.

"I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop."

It was the 23rd career meeting between the pair and their seventh meeting at a Grand Slam, and fourth at the Australian Open.

Federer extended his record to 17-6 over Berdych and has won their last six meetings. The last time the Czech defeated Federer was in the semi-finals at Dubai in 2013.

Earlier in the day, Kei Nishikori lost just eight of his first service points to beat qualifier and World No. 121 Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes.

"For sure it's not going to be easy facing Roger," said Nishikori. "He was playing great tennis today. I watched only a few points. But it's always great to play him. It's a big challenge for me. I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. I’m happy to see him back 100 per cent."

Date: 20 January 2017, Source: AFP and ATP

Federer struggles but roars back to reach third round

Roger Federer took another successful step in his highly-celebrated comeback on Wednesday at the Australian Open. The Swiss star prevailed past 20-year-old American Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to reach the third round for the 18th consecutive year, every time Federer has played at Melbourne Park.

“It was a difficult first set and a tricky third set, of course,” said Federer. “I had to save a couple of set points. I know it could have gone different. I think I was a bit more consistent than in the first match against Melzer, where I ended up losing that second set after leading. I think I had a little bit better concentration. I didn't know much about Noah Rubin going in except the info I got from my coaches. I was prepared and I was ready to battle. I was able to get the win, so I'm very happy.”

The Swiss star hit 17 aces and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points. Federer had to work in the third set, though. He fell behind 2-5 against the American, who failed to convert two set point chances on Federer's serve in the eighth game.

Federer faces a familiar foe in the third round: 10th seed Tomas Berdych, who beat American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 in just over two hours. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 16-6.

But the Swiss master said he would need to play better against big-hitting Berdych, despite winning their last five meetings, including a comfortable quarter-final victory at Melbourne Park last year.

“He's caused difficulties for me in the past on faster courts: Cincinnati, New York, Wimbledon, Olympics in Athens. I know what he's got and I've got to lift my game a little bit,” said Federer, whose 17th seeding ensured a demanding path to the second week.

Coming back from a knee injury, Federer conceded before the tournament that he had no idea whether he was ready to withstand the long four and five-set matches of a grand slam.

He was understandably thrilled to escape with only three sets before the Berdych battle.

“If I could have signed a contract to be in the third round, feeling this way, weeks or days or a month ago, I would have taken it,” said Federer.

“I'm still hoping to feel better and better and better as we go along.

“I'm getting tons of information out of these last few days now, which is big hopefully for the third round.”

Date: 18 January 2017, Source: ATP and Reuters

Federer makes winning return at Australian Open

Roger Federer made a winning return to competitive tennis after six months out of the game on Monday, thrilling a packed Rod Laver Arena as he beat qualifier Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the Australian Open second round.

The Swiss had to battle hard throughout the match against his fellow 35-year-old and only pulled clear of his dogged opponent when the Austrian tired in the final set.

Even Federer could be forgiven a little rustiness after his prolonged absence due to a knee injury and he made 36 unforced errors in his two hours and six minutes on court.

There were, though, plenty of reminders of the brilliant shot-making that have helped Federer to 17 grand slam titles and his 46 to 26 advantage over Melzer in the winner count told the tale of what was ultimately a comfortable win.

The crowd cheered every one to the rafters and, while that pleased Federer, he was clearly just delighted to be back doing what he does best.

“I definitely see things a bit different when you've been gone for a long time or when you've come back from injury," he told reporters.

“It was great to be out there. I really enjoyed myself, even though it wasn't so simple.

“Now being here, feeling like I'm part of this tournament. I wasn't just in the draw, I'm actually making strides. It's a good feeling.”

Although he hit 19 aces and increasingly relied on his serve to get out of trouble, Federer was surprised at how long it took him to feel comfortable with that part of his game.

“I thought my serve was on and off in the beginning, which surprised me a little bit, because in practice it's been going pretty well,” said Federer. “I was feeling nervous once the match actually started. I was actually fine all day, warming up, in the warm-up five minutes with Jurgen. I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, ‘Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.

“I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm and everything. Then you remind yourself how many times has it not been easy in the first round.

“I'm happy I was made to work today. Actually at the end I'm quite happy how I ended, which is most important.”

The secret to the improvement over the final two sets, he thought, had been relaxing a bit.

“I almost felt like I had to pace myself,” he said. “I didn't want to overthink every play. That was not the idea to come here and go mental about every point.

“I'm happy with the more relaxed attitude.”

Seeded 17th, Federer has much tougher battles ahead as he continues his bid for a fifth Melbourne Park title.

Next up in the second round on Wednesday, however, is another qualifier in American Noah Rubin.

It is Federer’s first appearance outside the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings at Melbourne Park since 2002 when he ranked No. 12 and his No. 17 seeding is his lowest at a Grand Slam championship since coming in unseeded at 2001 Roland Garros. Pete Sampras was the No. 17 seed when he won his final event, the 2002 US Open.

Date: 16 January 2017, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer plays the waiting game at Australian Open

Roger Federer’s return to tournament play at the Australian Open has fans buzzing about potential matches against the world’s top players, but the four-time champion said he can't look that far ahead when he doesn't know who he will play first.

The No. 17 seed opens up against a qualifier and is guaranteed to play another qualifier in the second round should he advance. Having not played a competitive match since Wimbledon, Federer said he can’t afford to take any of his opponents lightly.

“It would be good to know who I play. Once it's out, it's a good thing because then you can start actually mentally preparing for the Australian Open,” said Federer. “Is it a lefty, a righty? It's a big deal. Is he a big server, a grinder? A bit of an unknown here the first round. Having not been playing, that's the part of the draw I care about most.”

Should he advance past his difficult section of the draw that includes No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori, Federer could square off against top seed Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. The Swiss maestro leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 14-11 and has won their past five matches. But Federer acknowledged the Brit would be a much different opponent after reaching No. 1 in the ATP Rankings at the end of last season.

“It definitely feels different because everyone comes up to you and says you’re the best. You start walking around a bit differently. Just feel more confident overall in your shots. Usually when you win, it solves everything,” said Federer of becoming No. 1. “Then you come to a point where you have to remind yourself how hard you had to work to actually get there. It's going to require that plus more to stay there. But I feel like because Andy is not 18 years old, he knows all about that.

“I'm super happy for him. He deserves it,” added Federer. “He's been in there for a long time. He's had some tough losses, some great wins over the years. He never quite strung it together so that it would pay off, but this time it did. It's great for him and great for the sport.”

Federer is eager to get used to that winning feeling again, but has already enjoyed being back around the familiar atmosphere of tennis tournaments. Although he relished the time at home with his wife and their four children, returning to competition was always at the forefront of his mind.

“You do miss the matches. You miss the feeling of winning, walking onto a stadium, seeing the guys. It's like an extended family to some extent,” said Federer. “You walk around and you see faces you haven't seen in a while. It's just nice to see everybody again.

“I have a lot of friends on the tour because I'm the returning guest everywhere I go for 20 years,” he added. “It feels good to see those familiar faces every single year. It's something I couldn't quite enjoy the last six months. That's probably what I missed the most.”

Date: 14 January 2017, Source: ATP

Laver urges Federer to play three more years

Australian tennis great Rod Laver backed Roger Federer to extend his sensational career for another three years.

Federer said late last year he wanted to play at least two more years, with speculation over his future having increased after a knee injury in 2016.

But Laver, an 11-time grand slam champion, believes the Swiss maestro can continue to perform at the top for even longer.

"He's going to play another couple of years. I've heard him talk about it, he thinks two to three years," he told Omnisport.

"When I look at longevity, he's never had injuries, he's got a knee injury that gave him one little slip here in Australia last year.

"For me, without injuries, with his game, he can play well for a good three years.

"Not to put myself in his category, but I played until I was 37, 38 back in our era. I would love to see him play another three years."

Laver lauded Federer's contribution to the sport, with the 35-year-old having won a record 17 majors - although the last of those came in 2012.

"Federer has been a huge voice in the game of tennis with his ability on the court, the way he reacts to people off the court," he said.

"He's probably one of the most popular athletes, of all athletes, in the world. You see it everywhere.

"Looking at Perth and 6,000 people turn up to watch him practice at the Hopman Cup. That's unheard of."

Federer, who missed two grand slams last year, will be aiming for his first Australian Open title since 2010 when the event begins in Melbourne on Monday.

Date: 12 January 2017, Source: Sportal

Federer beats Gasquet, but Swiss lose at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer overwhelmed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-4 in under an hour at the Hopman Cup on Friday to signal his return to form following a long six months injury layoff.

Returning this week after six months out of action, the Swiss 17-times grand slam champion beat Briton Dan Evans before suffering a three-set loss to German teenager Alexander Zverev at the mixed team event in Perth, Australia.

Federer barely missed a groundstroke, getting his first break of serve in the fourth game of the match and dominating proceedings from that point on. He also sent down 11 aces in nine service games.

Federer's 58-minute masterclass against Frenchman Gasquet in front of more than 13,000 spectators, however, should reassure his fans ahead of the year's first grand slam at Melbourne Park later this month.

"It was completely different to the previous two matches," the 35-year-old said after putting Switzerland 1-0 up against France at the Perth Arena.

"Every opponent makes your life difficult in a different way, trying to make it as hard as possible. Today was great, I had many more swings on the ball... had a bit more time.

"It's the third match into the year so I am starting to feel the ball better and better and just moving around the court better, so I am really pleased.

"I'm surprised how I'm playing already. Could not be more happy right now."

The former world number one has slipped to 16th in the rankings but was happy with his form against Gasquet who is 18th on the list.

"It's only the beginning, hopefully many more matches to come. I'm just very pleased to be on court. I did enjoy the last six months out, I enjoyed the last 18 years playing, so I'll stay around for a little bit long, if I can."

But the singles masterclass from Swiss champion was not enough to stop the French pairing of Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic winning through to the Hopman Cup final.

Mladenovic squared the tie with a three-set win over Belinda Bencic, before the French claimed the deciding mixed doubles.

The doubles was played in the Fast4 format of four-game sets, no deuces, and no service lets.

Date: 6 January 2017, Source: AP and Reuters

Federer loses close match to Zverev, but Swiss take the tie at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer hit a road bump on his comeback trail from injury, losing to German teenage sensation Alexander Zverev in three sets at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Wednesday night. The 17-time grand slam title winner went down 7-6 (1), 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4) in 150 minutes.

The 35-year-old Federer was playing his second match since returning from a six-month layoff - having been sidelined since Wimbledon with knee and back injuries.He led 5-2 in the first set, but ran into an opponent whose first-serve percentage exceeded 80 percent midway through the final set.

There wasn't much between the two throughout.

In the second set, Federer only lost four points on serve, but found himself in a second tiebreaker.

In the third, he remained calm as he saved two break points in his second service game; and another before taking a 5-4 lead.

But Zverev wouldn't go away - and with first serves consistently over 200km/h he showed why he's gaining so much attention in world tennis.

He now he holds a 2-1 record over Federer, downing him in Halle, Germany before Wimbledon last year.

Yet Federer believes he got exactly the type of workout he needs to see where his game is right now, as well as his powers of recovery. The result was, in a sense, a secondary concern.

“Who really cares, as long as I am playing injury-free and feeling good,” Federer said.

“I actually pulled up really good after the first match and the mixed, the next day, so this one will feel different.

“I’ll feel muscle pain, which is also one of the reasons why I came here, to have that pain in my body, so hopefully if I do have a tough match at the beginning in Melbourne I don’t have to go through it as extreme over there.

“I’m very happy. I have played five good sets so far. I am very pleased.”

“It was good to play two and a half hours. It is a great number to compete in, which is why I was really pushing to win the second set, to extend the match and get me into a tough, long match.”

In the end it turned out to be a winning evening for Federer and Swiss partner Belinda Bencic against Germany. Bencic beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4 in their singles match, and then Federer and Bencic combined in mixed doubles to beat Zverev and Petkovic 4-1, 4-2 in the Fast4 format.

A place in Saturday’s final is now at stake for Federer and Bencic - the winner of the Switzerland and France tie on Friday night earns the opportunity to compete against USA.

Date: 4 January 2017, Source: AP and AAP

Federer wins 1st match on return, Switzerland beats Britain in Hopman Cup

Roger Federer returned from six months on the sidelines with a knee injury to beat Dan Evans 6-3, 6-4 on Monday and lead Switzerland to an opening 3-0 win over Great Britain at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament.

The 17-time major winner missed the French Open last year, ending a run of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, and hadn't played competitively since re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee at Wimbledon in July. But he showed no signs of rust in his 61-minute win over Evans.

''I would like to live it again. I'm a little bit sad it's over, because it was so nice out there,'' Federer said of his return. ''I was actually quite emotional. When I walked down, I was like, Oh my God, this is better than I thought it would be.''

The 35-year-old Federer said it was the kind of feeling he missed the most while he was sidelined.

"It felt good putting the match shirt back on, and serving first, and then trying to serve it out at the end.

"They are the moments I miss the most, even though those are the ones that make you nervous.

"That’s what you play tennis for. I thought for a first match it was great, because my expectations were obviously quite low."

Belinda Bencic held off Heather Watson 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 later Monday to give Switzerland an unbeatable 2-0 lead.

Federer and Bencic easily completed the sweep in the mixed doubles, beating Evans and Watson 4-0, 4-1.

Federer said he's looking for as many matches as possible in Perth ahead of the Australian Open, which starts 16 January in Melbourne. He hasn't won a Grand Slam title since 2012 at Wimbledon, and hasn't won the Australian Open title since 2010, but hasn't given up hope of extending his record in the majors.

''After all these years, it would be nice to win another one - of course I'd even take two or three or four,'' he said. ''We'll see. It's tough at the top. A lot of good guys are there right now, a lot of young guys are coming up too. The gap is definitely not very big but I'll give it a chance, and see what happens."

Federer said he had spent plenty of time on conditioning during his break from the game and felt pain free.

"For three or four weeks now I’ve stopped thinking of it, because I don’t have any reactions anymore," Federer said.

''I don't have any pain. It's been nice that I was able to get rid of that early.''

Switzerland is set to play Germany on Wednesday and France on Friday, with the winning team in Group A qualifying for Saturday's final.

France beat Germany 2-1 earlier Monday, with Richard Gasquet defeating Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 and combining with Kristina Mladenovic to win the deciding mixed doubles, which is being played in the Fast4 format, 4-2, 4-1. Andrea Petkovic had earlier beaten Mladenovic 6-2, 6-1 in the women's singles.

Date: 2 January 2017, Source: AP and Hopman Cup

Roger Federer hopes to play '2 to 3 more years'

Roger Federer says he hopes to play for at least another two to three years and that his "mindset is for the long term" in assessing his tennis future.

Federer, who has not played since re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee at Wimbledon in July, will make his tournament return in the January 1-7 Hopman Cup team event at Perth, representing Switzerland with Belinda Bencic.

The 35-year-old Federer said Friday he's not sure of the form he'll produce upon his return, but that retirement isn't part of his thought process.

"Only when I get asked do I think of things like this," said Federer, who has 17 Grand Slam singles titles, the most of any male player.

"I don't see it like this, that this could be my last Australian trip, even though it might very well be," he added. "I'm really positive. I took these six months off so I would be playing for hopefully another two to three years, not just another six months or so. So my mindset is for the long term."

Federer hasn't won a Grand Slam singles title since Wimbledon in 2012 and, with his injury, has slipped to No. 16 in the world rankings.

"Winning titles is a beautiful feeling; rankings at the moments... completely secondary," Federer said Friday. "As long as I'm healthy and injury free I think I can really do some damage."

Federer and Bencic begin play against Britain, represented by Dan Evans and Heather Wilson, on Monday night at Perth Arena.

Defending champions Australia, represented by Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova, begin play Sunday night against Spain.

Americans Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe take on Czech Republic's Adam Pavlasek and Lucie Hradecka earlier Sunday in the men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles format.

Date: 30 December 2016, Source: AP

Federer feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and ready for 2017 return

As he prepares for the 2017 season, Roger Federer said on Friday that he's feeling rejuvenated and is eager to come back to tour-level competition after missing half of the 2016 season.

Federer, speaking with reporters on a conference call, said he's played “very well” in practice matches with fellow players Lucas Pouille of France, Borna Coric of Croatia and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Federer also said he doesn't regret sitting out six months of the season. The Swiss legend last played in July at the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Raonic in five sets).

“I do believe it could be very beneficial for the future of my tennis career that I've had this six-month layoff,” Federer said. “I feel rejuvenated, refreshed. Maybe mentally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe also my body needed a rest more than I thought I would.”

The 88-time tour-level titlist had never taken off so much as a few weeks in a season before this year. But 2016 was far from a regular campaign for the 35-year-old father of four.

In February, for the first time in Federer's career, he had to undergo surgery. A day after losing in the Australian Open semi-finals, Federer tore a meniscus in his left knee while preparing a bath for his twin girls. The right-hander returned to competition two months later, in Monte-Carlo, and, the following month, played the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

But Federer then missed another month of the season before making his return on the grass in Stuttgart. He'd play only two more tournaments, including Wimbledon, before later announcing he wouldn't play again until 2017.

“It was really about taking a tough decision to say, 'I give myself time, I deserve to give myself time.' I take six months off in a 20-year career, it's OK. If you look at six months off in a 12-month season it sounds like there's no chance I'm ever going to take six months off,” Federer said. “But I tried to look at the big picture. At least one thing I know now is I have no regrets. I feel I did everything this year to get my body back in shape and now only time can tell.”

Resting for so long assured Federer that he wouldn't need a second surgery on his left knee. “That for me was No. 1 and crucial. I just needed it to rest really,” he said.

After Wimbledon, he tried to play again in August but decided against seriously testing his knee. “I played again, very quick. There was a bit of a reaction in the knee and that's when you realise... we knew it was too early,” he said.

Last month, Federer took a couple weeks off before resuming training for 2017. “The last six weeks for me have been crucial and obviously the last two weeks in November when I came back from vacation were really important for me to see how much load I could put on the leg,” Federer said. “Very quickly we realised at the end of November, early December, I was not at 100 per cent yet, let's be honest, because you always need more time, more reassurance. But things went very well. I didn't have any setbacks. In the end it all worked out according to plan.”

The time off had upsides as well. “It was great to spend more quality time with the kids, or me with more energy rather than having to worry, 'Careful, I have a match tomorrow' or 'I need to go to bed' or in the morning 'Don't wake me up' kind of thing because daddy needs to sleep a little bit,” Federer said.

Federer returns to action at the Hopman Cup, starting on 1 January 2017, which he will play in for the first time since he teamed up with his now wife Mirka in 2002. He will partner compatriot Belinda Bencic, 19, at the international team tournament in Perth.

Federer said his goal was to get fully fit and he was looking forward to a few matches in Perth before the year's first grand slam - Australian Open starts later in the month in Melbourne.

“This year is unique because maybe this is the year more than any time before where I do need matches at the beginning of the season. Matches have a different intensity about it and your body reacts according to it. I’ve played over 15 sets in practice the last few weeks and I feel I am there. It’s been a great preparation,” Federer said.

Federer, who has won 24 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and 17 Grand Slam crowns, said he thinks his 18th Grand Slam title could come next season.

“I do hope it's around the corner,” Federer said. “If it's not, it's not. My mindset is always very positive that it can happen or should happen or that I am doing everything that I can to possibly achieve that.

“I think I've been awfully close the last few years but that doesn't count because it wasn't winning.

“Time will tell if it's going to be possible or not.”

Date: 24 December 2016, Source: ATP and ABC