Roger Federer warned he was still a force to be reckoned with on Saturday as he heads into the Australian Open armed with a new, bigger racquet and with Stefan Edberg in his corner.
The 17-time Grand Slam-winner, now 32, said World No 1 Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic should be wary of the other top 10 players at the season’s first major.
“It’s normal that they are considered, the one and two favorites for the tournament,” said Federer, emphasising the word “considered.”
“Of course, we do believe we can knock them off, yes,” he added, referring to the other members of the world top 10.
Federer has more Grand Slam titles than any other player but only one, Wimbledon 2012, in the last four years. He is currently ranked at World No 6.
But Federer is hoping a switch from a 90-inch to a 98-inch racquet, and the arrival of boyhood hero Edberg, will pay dividends.
Switzerland’s Roger Federer plays with a giant racquet at a promotional event in Melbourne ahead of Monday’s Australian Open. Pic/AFP
“Look, my life on tour is pretty much settled. It’s always solid routines. He (Edberg) will just fit into that nicely,” Federer said of the six-time Grand Slam title-winner.
“I’m just excited that he’s taken up the offer because I didn’t think he would because he’s got a life. He doesn’t need this. It’s very exciting to have him as part of the team. I’m looking forward to every week I’ll spend with him on tour.”
Federer won the Australian Open in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, and has not failed to reach the semi-finals since 2003. He will be competing in a record 57th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, beating the mark of 56 set by South Africa’s Wayne Ferreira.
The Swiss first plays Australian James Duckworth, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all lurking as potential opponents.