Roger Federer records 70th Australian Open win; Aims aggressive approach

Roger Federer won his 70th match at the Australian Open on Thursday as he defeated Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(4) to reach the third round at Melbourne Park.

With the Extreme Heat Policy in effect, the roof was closed on Hisense Arena as Federer prevailed in his first contest with Kavcic in one hour and 47 minutes. The Swiss hit 52 winners and limited Kavcic to just 11. He broke the Slovenian six times from 11 opportunities. Up until today, Federer had played 63 successive matches on Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm happy on a hot day like this," said Federer. "It was a good first two sets I thought. I played really aggressive and it worked out. Third set I think he was more consistent. He served better. In the process, it got closer. I'm happy I got it done in three.

"It was nice, I enjoyed playing on Hisense. It's not really different to Rod Laver Arena. Just dimensions feel the same. I don't feel like you need to make an adjustment. The crowds were really nice. Great atmosphere over there. I was happy playing there."

"It’s been 10 years since I played here last. I was supposed to play here a couple of years ago but my opponent pulled out. I came over early so I made sure I didn’t get lost, so I was on time," he joked, after it was suggested his wife Mirka had to use satellite navigation to find the venue.

Four-time former champion Federer is the first player to reach the 70 wins milestone at Melbourne Park. He lifted the trophy here in 2004, 2006-07 and 2010. It is the eighth time that a player has won at least 70 matches at a Grand Slam tournament.

Next in Federer’s path as he bids to win an 18th Grand Slam championship will be Teymuraz Gabashvili who defeated Fernando Verdasco in five sets.

Aggressive Approach

Entering his 57th consecutive Grand Slam with a bigger racquet-head and debutant champion coach Stefan Edberg, Federer has congruently adopted a new approach to his ball-striking: be aggressive. And after one of his most dominant wins of the season, dropping just three games in the opening two sets against Blaz Kavcic today, it appears to be working.

"I think in these conditions and on the hard courts it's what we want to try to do, especially early in the tournament, without taking stupid chances," Federer said about his more attacking game style. "I was overly aggressive at times, but I'd rather be that than overly passive. But the error counts started mounting as well.

"It was something I was trying to do a little bit today, mix it up, swing the serve around a little bit, also come in. I was in command on my serve. That was for me most important, that is there I'm rock solid."

Success isn’t finite and Federer, slipping to the sixth seeding at the Australian Open this year for the first time since 2003, is hoping a transition to a more attacking game style will turn the tide against his younger foes, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, breeding a new era of success. His passion for the tennis tour is the one constant in his approach to tennis.

"I like the check ins at airports. Packing the bags is good fun. What else? Playing in 42 degrees heat," the Swiss joked.

"It's like a traveling circus in a way. You put up your tents, stay there for some time. Tennis is something I really enjoy, and doing all of that with my wife and kids is something that I'm very happy about, that it's all working out. That we actually make it work and enjoy it, all of us, going to different places."

Despite hiring Edberg, one of the prolific serve-volleyers of the game, an attacking transition to the net was never the focus.

"He was probably one of the greatest of all times in terms of serve and volley," Federer said of Edberg. "He moved so smoothly and he did it so well. So, sure, if he can give me some input on the serve and volley and the volleys in general, that would be a good thing.

"But I worked a ton with Tony Roche on my volleys as well, throughout my career anyway, so I didn't hire Edberg just because of my volleys or because of the transition game."

While Federer admitted he didn’t feel pressure playing in front of his childhood idol turned coach, a line of tennis greats might just be the answer to getting the Swiss to the net.

"Of course, if they'd all be sitting in a line, like 20 guys, it's a different story. I'd think, I better improve my volleys a little bit because they all used to volley better than me. So that would make me feel bad. But maybe I got other things. I don't know."

Date:16th January 2014, Source: ATP


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