Federer: "I feel I'm playing very well and ready for Australian Open"

Having just notched his 1000th match win as he simultaneously won the title at the Brisbane International, Roger Federer enters Melbourne as the second seed in a quest for his fifth title.

The four-time champion (’04, ’06, ’07, ’10) starts his 16th Australian Open campaign against Yen-Hsun Lu, against whom he owns a 2-0 ATP Head to Head Series record. Federer was drawn in the same quarter as No. 6 seed Andy Murray and the same half as 2014 runner-up and No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal.

“There were many changes that took place in the six months leading into the Australian Open,” Federer said, naming his racquet and coach, Stefan Edberg, as adjustments made leading into last year’s tournament. “This time around, I've played so well. Also I was able to win Brisbane last week. Makes me feel more secure this year coming into the Aussie Open.”

Admittedly not feeling his best last year due to a back injury, Federer reached the semi-finals (l. to Nadal). This year, the Swiss said he’s “very pleased how things have gone now the last six months”.

“I think I'm serving more consistent and stronger than I ever have,” said Federer. “I definitely think the racquet has helped me with that as well a little bit. I think my backhand is working better than it has in the past as well. My concentration is there - better than it's ever been - because I feel, over time, you always want to improve. I feel I'm playing very well. If it's the best ever, I'm not quite sure.”

The 33 year old with 83 ATP World Tour singles titles to his name acknowledged changes he has had to make in the recent part of his career when it comes to training and fitness, saying “less is more”.

“It's changed just because you're more careful not to get injured,” he said. “Quality is more important than quantity. Whereas when you're younger, you’ve got to put in the hours, you’ve got to put in the work. Doesn't matter if you're tired; you’ve just got to get through it, get match tough, go through the grind. Eventually you have experience, you know what you need to get ready for a tournament.”

Good quality practises is what the World No. 2 stressed as important, adding; “I am 33, so things are a bit different today than they were 10 years ago.”

Despite his numerous accolades, Federer joked there is one thing he doesn’t excel at - an Australian accent.

“No, I'm not very good at that.”

Coverage from Melbourne begins at 10am (11pm GMT and 6pm EST) on 16 January, and at 12:00pm (1am GMT, 8pm EST) on 17 January. The 2015 Australian Open main draw runs 19 January - 1 February.

Date: 17th January 2015, Source: ATP and Reuters


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