Time ticks on but Fed feels just the same

Sport360 - - Australian Open - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

Age­less Roger Fed­erer is in a con­fi­dent mood and warned his ri­vals he was “play­ing good ten­nis” as he aims for a third suc­ces­sive Aus­tralian Open ti­tle.

The Swiss master en­joyed a suc­cess­ful Hop­man Cup warm-up in Perth and knows that at even the grand old age of 37 he has a great chance of a sev­enth Mel­bourne crown and 21st ma­jor vic­tory.

“I’m play­ing good ten­nis. I’m con­fi­dent that I think it needs a good per­for­mance by my op­po­nent prob­a­bly to beat me,” said the third seed, who opens up against Uzbek­istan’s De­nis Is­tomin in Mon­day’s night match on Rod Laver Arena.

A buoy­ant Fed­erer re­vealed he had en­joyed a suc­cess­ful break com­ing into the 2019 sea­son.

“Through­out my ca­reer, I’ve been very lucky that in the off-sea­sons I never had any set­backs,” he added.

“What I can say is the off-sea­son was great for me. I think maybe it showed a lit­tle bit at the Hop­man Cup al­ready.”

Is­tomin caused a mas­sive upset in Mel­bourne two years ago when he knocked out de­fend­ing cham­pion No­vak Djokovic in the sec­ond round over five sets.

“I know what De­nis did to No­vak. I watched ba­si­cally the en­tire game a cou­ple years ago when he beat No­vak here,” said Fed­erer.

“I’ve had some tough ones against him in the past. He can play well in fast courts, and that’s what it’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit here as well,” added the world No.3, who has won all six of his en­coun­ters against Is­tomin.

“De­pend­ing on how you match up with your op­po­nent, who is go­ing to win the big points, the mar­gins are so slim nowa­days that I’m just not think­ing too far ahead.”

Fed­erer has skipped the Euro­pean clay court sea­son in re­cent years as he tries to man­age his work­load.

He hasn’t yet made a de­ci­sion on whether to play on clay this year and wasn’t sure why he had not suf­fered ma­jor in­juries like Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Mur­ray, who will re­tire this year with chronic hip pain de­spite be­ing six years younger than Fed­erer.

“I think you also need a lit­tle bit of luck. Maybe also the way I play ten­nis, maybe it’s smoother than the other guys,” said Fed­erer.

“I work ex­tremely hard in the matches as well. It just maybe doesn’t come across so much.”

Ev­er­green: Roger Fed­erer.

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