Australian Open

Fresh Federer ready for 2013

2013-01-12 08:39
Roger Federer (AP)

Melbourne - Swiss great Roger Federer warned on Saturday he was fresh and eager for more Grand Slam glory as he prepared for his 53rd straight major, defending his quiet start to the year.

The 31-year-old has been playing Grand Slam tennis since 1999 and shows no signs of slowing down, but has altered the way he prepares for the big events and skipped any warm-up tournaments ahead of next week's Australian Open.

He said it is all part of his plan to keep competing at the elite level for as long as possible and overtake South African Wayne Ferreira's record of 56 consecutive Slams.

"I purposely didn't play a lead-up tournament so that I'd be fresh for the beginning, hopefully going deep into the tournament. That's the goal obviously," he said.

"I think it's nice sometimes doing it slightly different than every year the same thing. Otherwise it feels like a deja vu and that's not always a good thing.

"It's been very relaxing, the last one-and-a-half months," he added.

"Not many appearances, no press almost. Just focusing on getting ready mentally and physically really."

Bidding for an 18th Grand Slam title and a fifth in Melbourne, Federer is enjoying the game now as much as he ever has - even the endless gym work to stay fit enough to compete with the young guns of the tour.

It is not something he used to savour.

"Today I take much more pleasure out of doing the gym work than I ever have," he said. "Today things for me make sense. I know why I'm doing them. I know they're necessary.

"I have a lot of experience," he added.

"I'm ready to go and eager. That to me right now dominates. It's important to be fresh going into a new season because the last couple years have been tough on tour."

Federer has indicated he wants to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, when he will be 35, an age when most tennis professionals have retired, with longevity a key motivation for him now.

As part of plans to extend his shelf life, he will play fewer tournaments in 2013, focusing on the majors.

"Longevity has always been something that's been important to me," he said.

"I've planned the season accordingly this year again, that I will not miss the majors because of injury."

The Ferreira landmark is one he is focused on, with the South African a good friend and inspiration. He used to ball-boy for him when he was young and they played doubles together.

"I hope I can make it, I was thinking back how many times I've played already in the main draw of a Slam," he said of the 56-Slam target.

"It's been a lot. For many years I also came here for qualifying, back in '99, for the juniors '98. I go back 15, 16 years already I've been coming here every single year.

"I'm excited that I've played so many in a row and I hope I can keep the streak alive and see where it stops. We'll see how it goes."

Other than Ferreira, only Stefan Edberg has played more straight Grand Slams at 54.

Federer's key threat to further Grand Slam glory in Melbourne are Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, but he also warned any of the current top 10 was capable of breaking through.

"Obviously with Rafa (Nadal) not in the draw, that might mean for some of the players they only have to beat one of us, of the top three, maybe none," he said.

"Who knows what the draw is going to do to us. But I think so, that there could be some guys making deep runs at this tournament."

Read more on:    australian open  |  roger federer  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Czechs reach Fed Cup final

2014-04-20 14:43

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.