Roger Federer to start 2014 season in Brisbane

Roger Federer will start his 2014 campaign at the Brisbane International next January, underlining the tournament's status as the biggest of the Australian Open warm-ups.

The Swiss, who has four Melbourne Park titles among his 17 grand slams, has never previously started the year in Brisbane and the announcement was billed as the “biggest ... in the history” of the event, which started in 2009.

In a break with his traditional Australian Open preparation at lucrative tournaments in the Middle East, the 17-time Grand Slam champion was today unveiled as the first big-name signing for the Brisbane event, which runs from December 29 to January 5.

The packed-house atmosphere of Pat Rafter Arena, the chance to acclimatise a fortnight ahead of the Australian Open and recommendations from other players were key to Federer's decision to visit Brisbane.

“I've heard many great things from the other players, they say it's a very friendly tournament, fan friendly, player friendly,” four-time Australian Open winner Federer said.

“For some time we've been in contact with Brisbane and I saw how the tournament got stronger and stronger ... and the connection with Pat Rafter, him having the arena named after him I think is great.

“I've always hoped that I could come there so I am happy we are all able to make it work. I'm not just coming to Australia for the Australian Open, especially when I commit so early in advance, it's also to win in Brisbane.”

It will be the first time he has been in Queensland since he was on holiday as a 14-year-old.

Tournament director Cameron Pearson said Federer wanted to play last year but his schedule changed as the year progressed. This time, he had made the decision to play in Brisbane prior to Wimbledon.

“It’s been a couple of years in the making. I think he was keen to come last year. It just didn’t work with his schedule,” Pearson said.

“He played a lot of matches in the first half of the year and changed his schedule in the second half of the year. I guess that’s why Roger has been at the top of his game for such a long time.”

“He is a global superstar and arguably the most accomplished tennis player in history. His attendance at this event will be a legacy for future generations," Pearson said.

“When Roger steps onto Pat Rafter Arena for the first time, it is going to be something special.”

Date: 24th July 2013, Source: Brisbane Times


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