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Australian Open: Roger Federer says he should not be favourite at 36

Australian Open: Roger Federer says he should not be favourite at 36

Playing his pension card, Roger Federer is refusing to accept title favouritism as he prepares to defend his Australian Open crown and land an astonishing 20th grand slam singles crown.

"It's not entirely different, but at the beginning even those small tweaks and changes have made a lot of difference mentally", he said.

"The depth in women's tennis has got so strong in the last few years", she added.

"I'm not at 100 per cent, but you never know in a week's time what's going to be happening".

But the father-of-four said at his age and in his 19th Australian Open, he liked to play down his chances.

His progress has marked him out as the most likely of the current crop of youngsters to translate his talent into major titles and while he made the fourth round at Wimbledon past year, he is yet to push on further. "But right now it's at the level where I can compete, and every day is getting better", he said. If they meet in the round of eight, it would be a treat. Nadal could meet Grigor Dimitrov in a rematch of their epic Australian Open semifinal past year. All the five-setters, as well. "Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations".

"I think a year ago there were periods where I was really good and really bad", he told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday. A Raonic-Del Potro-Djokovic/Zverev-Nadal run might be even steeper than the one he overcame previous year, but Federer too is even more in his zone than he was 12 months ago.

"You know, 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". "Obviously I've achieved certain things that I've always wanted to".

Ashleigh Barty headlines the Aussie assault on day two in Melbourne
Ashleigh Barty headlines the Aussie assault on day two in Melbourne

"I think we're professional, we know how to warm up, we know what to do". "It is nothing new for me that I get an injury". In addition, many other players have been hit by niggles and sickness during the first two weeks of this season.

Federer begins his quest to match Djokovic's six Open wins against Slovenia's world No.49 Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.

Federer appeared typically relaxed - and well prepared - ahead of his 72nd major. I feel ready to start, " Halep said. She said it didn't leave her enough time to feel confident about winning a major. This year that's not going to happen. "Past year was an wonderful final and it's great to be back", he said. Venus Williams is a threat again at 37 years old, and 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber is playing well after a subpar year, capturing the Sydney International title on Saturday.

This is despite saying the lead-up to the opening major of the year had been "intense" with feverish interest from sponsors and media in one of the world's most marketable athletes. The main issue for Nadal is fitness; he hasn't played a competitive match since mid-November and pulled out of a recent warm-up event in Brisbane, citing a knee injury. Andy Murray was unable to play in this event and will try to make a comeback in the summertime, exercising patience and caution.

Zverev determined to end Grand Slam jinx Giant German Alexander Zverev has been widely tipped for greatness but has so far failed to go beyond a Grand Slam fourth round - something he plans to fix at the Australian Open.

The Hopman Cup went very well.

Stephens didn't play last year's Australian Open because of a left foot injury that kept her out of action until Wimbledon.

More news: Mourinho: Mkhitaryan is very good player, he will play against Stoke City


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