Roger Federer Says He's Too Old To Be Australian Open Favourite

Updated: 14 January 2018 20:54 IST

Federer, who had an incredible 2017 after returning from injury, winning not only a fifth Australian Open but a record eighth Wimbledon, opens his title defence against Slovenia's 51st ranked Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.

Roger Federer Says He
Roger Federer will be aiming to win a record 20th Grand Slam. © AFP

Defending champion Roger Federer, who is aiming for a record 20th Grand Slam title, said on Sunday that he is too old to be considered a favourite and rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic should be seen as leading contenders for the Australian Open title. However, the 36-year-old is in a fine form unlike Nadal and Djokovic, who are entering the tournament with injuries. But the father-of-four said at his age and in his 19th Australian Open, he liked to play down his chances. "With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament, it should not be the case," the world number two said.

"That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career.

"I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites, too."

But he added "at the end of the day, it's all just talk beforehand. The draws are always tough".

Federer, who had an incredible 2017 after returning from injury, winning not only a fifth Australian Open but a record eighth Wimbledon, opens his title defence against Slovenia's 51st ranked Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.

He faces a potential quarter-final against David Goffin if he stays on track to become only the fourth player ever to win 20 or more Slams - joining Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf.

His preparations have been good.

He comes into the tournament on the back of winning the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth with fellow Swiss Belinda Bencic, before his entourage touched down in Melbourne for the usual commitments that come with being a legend of the game.

"Busy. A lot going on with media, sponsors, practice. It was intense," he said when asked if everything was going as planned.

But he added that he had been able to get in as much practice as he wanted.

"It's been constantly playing, practice how hopefully I can play during the Australian Open.

"The Hopman Cup went very well," he added. "I think it's going to be helpful again for me this year because the court plays exactly the same in Perth and here in Melbourne.

"Yeah, practice is perfect. Nothing to complain about."

- Tournament of the year -

Against all expectations, as he returned from injury, Federer blitzed the field to win at Melbourne Park last year, crowned champion again after an epic final against Nadal.

It kickstarted a memorable 2017, and he said it was his highlight of the year.

"It was the tournament of the year for me, no doubt about it. All the five-setters, as well," he said.

"Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations, like now this year again."

Federer, who can return to world number one if he wins the title and Nadal loses prior to the quarter-finals, said he wasn't getting ahead of himself and was only taking it one step at a time.

"My focus needs to be early because I have my own problems, you know, to get through my section of the draw, my game," he said.

"That's my focus, not the other players really further down the line."

He added that it was "just great to be back".

"I'm so, so happy the Australian Open, it's time again. I can't believe it's been a year, but it's OK. I'll make the most of it."

(With AFP inputs)

Comments
Topics : Roger Federer Tennis
Highlights
  • Roger Federer will be aiming to win a record 20th Grand Slam
  • I Don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite, said Federer
  • Nadal and Djokovic could very well be the favourites too, said Federer
Related Articles
ATP Rankings: Rafael Nadal Holds Top Spot, Novak Djokovic Overtakes Roger Federer To Become No. 2
ATP Rankings: Rafael Nadal Holds Top Spot, Novak Djokovic Overtakes Roger Federer To Become No. 2
Novak Djokovic Wins Shanghai Masters To Close In On Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic Wins Shanghai Masters To Close In On Rafael Nadal's No.1 Ranking
Watch: Sensational Rally Between Novak Djokovic, Borna Coric During Shanghai Masters Final Wows Fans
Watch: Sensational Rally Between Novak Djokovic, Borna Coric During Shanghai Masters Final Wows Fans
Roger Federer Stunned By 13th Seed Borna Coric In Shanghai Semi-Finals
Roger Federer Stunned By 13th Seed Borna Coric In Shanghai Semi-Finals
Alexander Zverev Blames
Alexander Zverev Blames 'Superstition' For 'Ridiculous' Use Of Towels
Advertisement