Federer believes "Rafa" and "Novak" will be toughest to beat at Australian Open

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-14 15:00:12|Editor: Yamei
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MELBOURNE, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- After last year's inspirational five-set victory against Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open, 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 Swissman talked down any suggestion that he should be considered the favorite for this year's Australian Open.

"I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, or Novak with the six titles... could very well be the favorites too," Federer said.

Even at 36 years old, the world No. 2 is still at the peak of his powers, taking out two Grand Slams in 2017.

He believes, his extensive preseason campaign should be enough to see him make it through the grueling 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."

"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 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."

"It's a similar rhythm, but there's not that much sprints going on in this regard."

When asked if tennis tournament organizers 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," he said.

"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."

"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 world number 51, Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.