Roger Federer delights fans at Kids Day

Roger Federer had another busy day on Monday at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, where he is making his debut. After an early two-hour practice with Kei Nishikori, the top-seeded Swiss played mini-tennis with lucky competition winners at Kids Day before addressing the media in his pre-tournament press conference.

Talking about renewing his rivalries with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the impending Australian Open, Federer commented, “I think Murray, we hope he's going to come back strong. It's nice that he already played a few matches this year now, even though it was an exhibition match. It's a big step forward for him in his mind.

“I'm eager to see him again. I haven't seen him since the US Open, so I'm hopeful for him that it's going to be fine for the Australian Open, which is going to be a huge test for him now because it's a best-of-five-set matches and so forth.

“I think Rafa and Novak are going to be the ones who are going to be the ones to beat this season, particularly in the beginning,” continued Federer. “Then as we move forward, you have to see if they stay injury free and keep on winning. I kind of expect them to go deep in most of the tournaments they'll enter, of course.”

As well as implementing a new coaching arrangement in 2014, Federer will also debut a new racquet. He trialled a larger racquet head after Wimbledon and after testing another version in Dubai during the off-season, is ready to play matches with the new frame.

“It's one again that Wilson worked on and adjusted after my comments,” said Federer. “They wanted to do some more work on that racquet anyway.  They sent me one round of racquets after the US Open, and now another one after the World Tour Finals. I tested again a couple and chose the one I'm playing with now, that I've been practising with two and a half straight weeks in Dubai.

“I feel very comfortable, more comfortable than I did with the one after Wimbledon, which felt very different but very good as well. This one feels more of an extension that I had before, but it's more futuristic in form, I guess. I'm actually very eager to see how it's going to react in the matches now.”

The 32-year-old Federer also expressed his pleasure at seeing more former legends back involved on the ATP World Tour, following Djokovic’s appointment of Boris Becker and his own involvement with Stefan Edberg. With Murray about to begin his third season under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, the thought of ‘80s rivalries renewing themselves from the stands is a thought that excites Federer.

“I'm happy seeing former greats and legends excited to be doing such a job and wanting to help the next generations,” said Federer. “To bring them back into the game, I think it's a good thing.

“Maybe they get a taste of it and other greats and stars see that as well, that they're very welcome and we're so happy to see them.  Not just you guys, but also the players and everybody involved, the tournaments. I think it sends out a good message. It's going to be a good Australian Open, I'm sure.”

Date: 30th December 2013, Source: ATP


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