Federer raring to begin in Melbourne

Roger Federer declared he is “ready to go and eager” to begin his campaign for a fifth Australian Open title. The Swiss elected to prepare for the first major of the year through practice, rather than tournament play, but is confident in his game and experience to be sharp from the offset.

“Of course, maybe somewhere you do feel more pressure going into the first round,” said the 31 year old, who faces France’s Benoit Paire in his opening match. “I have a lot of experience.  I feel like if I'm playing well in practice today, at this age, I know where my game's at. There's not going to be any negative surprises because a lot is on your racquet: you do serve, you do move the way you do, and nobody can take away from you. I'm ready to go and eager. That to me right now dominates.”

The Australian Open has a recent history of being the stage for breakthrough performances, with the likes of Marcos Baghdatis (2006), Fernando Gonzalez (2007) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2008) reaching the final. Federer, who ultimately stopped both Baghdatis and Gonzalez on their giant-killing runs, believes 2013 could offer up another new name into the latter stages of a major championship. Not since Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open, has a player ranked outside the Top 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings won a Grand Slam title.

“There's always other guys just outside of the Top 10 who I feel can always make a run for it,” said Federer. “Obviously with Rafa not in the draw, that might mean for some of the players they only have to beat one of us, of the top three, maybe none.  Who knows what the draw is going to do to us? But I think that there could be some guys making deep runs at this tournament.

“I think many of the Top 10 guys have had a very good season,” continued Federer. “Look at how great David Ferrer's season was, we know the talent of Tsonga, Tomas Berdych won Davis Cup. Del Potro seems solid. He seems back as a contender for a slam.”

Federer played his part in one of the most openly contested seasons in recent years on the ATP World Tour in 2012. With all four majors boasting a different champion, Federer captured his 17th Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon as he reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings for 17 weeks. The Basel native also counted three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns among his haul of six titles in 2012.

“I'm hoping for another good year,” said Federer. “They're all different in many ways because this last one was very emotional.  Obviously getting back to World No. 1 was a major goal of mine for last year.”

“I know I won't win all the tournaments I'll enter, but it's important that I enjoy it and I try as hard as I can and put myself deep in the tournaments like I did last year really. I had very few early losses last year, and I hope I can keep up that good streak I have going.”

Date: 12th January 2013, Source: ATP


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