Federer in familiar territory ahead of Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/federer_atp.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer has missed playing in only one of the last 18 Grand Slam finals and given his extraordinary consistency of performance it's hard to bet against hi

Updated: January 15, 2010 09:02 IST
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Roger Federer has missed playing in only one of the last 18 Grand Slam finals and given his extraordinary consistency of performance it's hard to bet against him winning the Australian Open.

Bookmakers have again made the Swiss legend the favourite to capture his 16th Grand Slam in the year's opening major tournament in Melbourne and given his 'renaissance' last year few, if any, are quibbling with his odds.

Just when doubts were starting to creep in that Federer's time at the top was coming to an end given the ascendancy of Rafael Nadal, he just kept on winning the big ones that mattered.

Federer finally broke through at Roland Garros, clinching the French Open at his 11th attempt and followed up with a sixth Wimbledon crown in seven years.

He became the all-time Grand Slam leader in men's tennis in the process, passing the 14 won by American Pete Sampras and retrieved the world number one ranking off Nadal after a period of 46 weeks at an unaccustomed number two.

While Nadal struggled with injuries and a dip in confidence, Federer's star was again on the rise and he finished the year-end ATP top-ranked player for the fifth time in six years.

As Federer, still only 28, prepares for his 43rd career Grand Slam tournament, he believes he may enjoy an even better year than last.

"I think I can definitely, if my body allows me, win many more tournaments than I did last year," he claimed this month.

"I really just had to focus on the big tournaments, the major events last year."

"Obviously, those are the hardest ones to win, and it reflects in the tournaments I was able to win. I hardly played any smaller events."

"But if I am healthy this year I can win many more tournaments. And that could also get me more confident, more momentum, and even more things could also become possible - even though last year was fantastic."

Federer has only missed playing in one Grand Slam final since his 2005 Wimbledon triumph, his sole blemish coming when he went down to Russian Marat Safin in the semi-finals of the 2008 Australian Open.

He lost to Russian Nikolay Davydenko in Doha on his way to Melbourne and altered his usual preparation by skipping the eight-man Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament, opting to practise in private in the final week.

Federer's longevity in the sport has been one of his strengths and he puts it down to his smooth court coverage, which is less destructive to the body as opposed to some of major rivals.

"It's just important to listen to your signals. I think that is also one thing I did really well when I became number one in the world," he said.

"I had all the things going for me and huge opportunities, to go and chase money or tournaments around the world I said 'I'm not going to do it'."

"I said I am going to look at the big picture and it's been paying off - so I'm very happy with my decisions over the years."

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  • Tennis
  • David Ferrer
  • Novak Djokovic
  • Bernard Tomic
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Andy Murray
  • Stanislas Wawrinka
  • Roger Federer

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