The Courier-Mail

FED EXPRESS DELIVERY

- EXCLUSIVE PAUL MALONE

ROGER Federer has agreed to headline the Brisbane Internatio­nal for a third straight year.

Federer will chase his elusive 18th Grand Slam title next week, arriving at the US Open with the confidence of a win in the final of the Cincinnati Masters over world No.1 Novak Djokovic last Sunday.

The Swiss champion’s Queensland Tennis Centre title in January was the first of five so far this year, in which he had also been runner-up at Wimbledon.

His results have encouraged him to plan the same season launch next year.

World No.3 Maria Sharapova has also committed to defend her Brisbane title.

Japan’s world No.4 Kei Nishikori gives the tourna- ment, which runs from January 3-10, three top-five players in their first group of announced players.

Australia’s top-ranked player Sam Stosur will also play in Brisbane.

Federer said his Brisbane final triumph last January to secure his 1000th career match win had “really echoed around the tennis world’’.

“I’m excited, especially after this year with the win and the

ROGER FEDERER 1000th match win, it was like a picture perfect moment,” Federer said in a statement to Tennis Australia.

“I’ve played there two years now and it’s gone so well.

“It was like a perfect scenario last time and (to reach) 1000, it really echoed around the tennis world.”

Tournament director Cameron Pearson said he had been hopeful for months there would be a return by the 34year-old, who has pledged to keep playing to the 2016 Rio Olympics in August at least.

“Players always want to go back to places where they have done well and Brisbane provides a package of a lot of things that work for Roger,’’ Pearson told The Courier-Mail.

“He got some tough matches and got to Melbourne with the preparatio­n he wanted.

“For him to come to Brisbane three times says a lot for the state of Queensland, the facility we have at the QTC and the wonderful fans who support the players.’’

“It was only recently (that Federer advised he would play Brisbane), but that we’d been talking throughout the year since he was here.’’

Behind Federer’s willingnes­s to promote Queensland recreation­al sites for overseas publicity as part of his appearance fee, his wife Mirka and toddler twin daughters have enjoyed their time in southeast Queensland.

“It’s a really nice week for us as a family… we really enjoy all of us being there,’’ Federer said.

“I really like Brisbane. The fans have been unbelievab­le there, the stadium is beautiful.

“There are so many things to like about it.’’

Federer’s two tournament­s in Brisbane have been its best- attended, with 105,730 through the gates in 2014 and 97,034 last summer.

Federer regained the world No.2 ranking by winning in Cincinnati and at the US Open will bid to become the oldest male Grand Slam tournament winner in 43 years.

Spaniard Andres Gimeno was 34 years and 10 months old when he captured the 1972 French Open.

“Djokovic is having an extraordin­ary year, so for Roger to beat him and go to the US Open with that confidence means he will be primed again,’’ Pearson said.

Tickets for the general public will go on sale in early October, while Tennis Queensland registered members can buy pre-sale tickets now.

It’s a really nice week for us as a family. I really like Brisbane. The fans have been

unbelievab­le, the stadium is beautiful. There are so many

things to like

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