Melbourne, Jan 14 (IANS) After last year’s inspirational five-set victory against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, tennis great Roger Federer looked cool, calm and confident when he addressed the media on Sunday, just one day before the 2018 tournament gets underway.
But the humble Swiss star talked down any suggestion that he should be considered the favourite for this year’s Australian Open, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he’s had, or Novak (Djokovic) with the six titles could very well be the favorites too,” Federer said.
Even at 36 years of age, Federer is still at the peak of his powers, taking out two Grand Slams in 2017.
The World No.2 believes that his extensive pre-season training should be enough to see him through the gruelling tournament schedule.
“The off-season is tougher than playing tournaments for me,” Federer explained.
“I work hard in the off-season to create a base that serves me well throughout the season, and then I rework the base time and time again throughout the season,” he added.
“I think that’s very important.”
With five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray’s withdrawal, and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic under injury clouds, Federer acknowledged that there is a price to pay when playing “highly explosive tennis.”
“I think attacking tennis also has a lot of wear and tear on the body,” he said.
“Playing more of a reactive game is maybe more physical in the sense that you play longer rallies, you spend more time on the court, but it’s always pretty much the same,” he added.
“It’s a similar rhythm, but there’s not that much sprints going on in this regard.”
When asked if tennis tournament organisers should do more to address the recent spate of player injuries, Federer disagreed.
“Whose responsibility is it at the end of the day? I think it’s the players.
“I’ve played thousands of matches in my life, and I’m sure I’ve gotten lucky throughout my career, but sometimes you have to take a minute and talk to the team about it, like how we’re going to approach these next three months, next year, next day,” he said.
“Everything needs to be perfectly planned, I think, to avoid as many injuries as possible.”
His first round match of the 2018 Australian Open will take place Tuesday, against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.