Federer unhappy about being considered favourite at Australian Open

Aubrey Yates
January 14, 2018

Federer said: "Well, totally different".

The women's game is starting the 2018 season in similar fashion to the open-door policy to the world No. 1 ranking that peppered all of past year.

And the elder statesman thinks Kyrgios is an exceptional player, however he must maintain his focus if he wants to challenge for the first Grand Slam of the campaign. With lazy fingers sending off nuclear-missile alerts in Hawaii, it is comforting to be in the presence of a tennis player who could probably save the planet if required.

Federer was seeded No. 2 behind world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has a seemingly simple opener against 51st-ranked Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, but he might be made to sweat after that.

No one is more aware of his own flaws than Kyrgios, which has made his failure to address them all the more frustrating. He has had his struggles, too, as he pointed out, winning this title a year ago after seven months out with a banged-up knee. I'm not at 100 per cent, but you never know in a week's time what's going to be happening.

I'm told he felt no pain in the elbow on Thursday, having played in two exhibition events the previous day.

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

Barty goes into the Australian Open as the highest-ranked home female player after a phenomenal 2017. And Nadal has plenty of previous when it comes to injuries. "When something is happening, you need to analyze why". If he gets through this minefield, then a 20th Grand Slam title might just suffice. Sometimes it's unexplainable how certain injuries happen. Wawrinka hasn't played since the first round of Wimbledon at the start of July, while Raonic's comeback last week wasn't almost good enough, facing 10 break points in defeat in his first match back against youngster Alex de Minaur. Whose responsibility is it at the end of the day?

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Numbers matter to him. Nobody is better at that. It won't get any easier in round two with Gael Monfils lurking. The Swiss 2014 champion has not been able to play a warm-up event, having resumed training in November following knee surgery. He could face John Isner in the fourth round, who has never beaten him in a competitive match, and Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic in the quarters, who hasn't defeated him in nine years.

Federer acknowledged he was a work in progress.

He has won five majors in Melbourne and is comfortable in a city where he has many friends outside the game.

Nadal has suggested the men's tour needs to look at the ijnury trend, but Federer is less convinced and insists his attacking style of play is demanding on the body just as the baseline grind associated with Djokovic and Murray.

As he pointed out: "I have a big family".

He added: "It's definitely great times. My wife (Mirka) is incredibly supportive". Is it the best ever?

"Some corrections, I guess, some improvements to the technique, which I think are allowing me to be more efficient with the serve, but also allowing me to release the load from the elbow, which is obviously something that I have to do because I have that injury". SuperSwiss: a hero for our times, to gobsmacked hacks, young children and ... well, maybe not those striving to bring him down here over the next fortnight.

As the service came to an end, a journalist - perhaps jet-lagged or still dazzled - banged his head on a low-hanging camera and fell to the ground.

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