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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Tennis

Federer says fit, confident ahead of Australian Open
AFP
Sydney, December 28, 2013
First Published: 10:14 IST(28/12/2013)
Last Updated: 10:16 IST(28/12/2013)

Tennis superstar Roger Federer said on Saturday his confidence was up and his body energised as he prepares for the 2014 season with former world number one Stefan Edberg in his coaching team.

Federer, the record 17-time Grand Slam title winner, revealed on Friday that his childhood hero Edberg would work with him and coach Severin Luthi for 10 weeks, starting at the Australian Open in January.

Touching down in Australia on Saturday, where he will play at the Brisbane International from next week, 32-year-old Federer said he had had a rare off-season free of niggling injuries and was looking forward to challenging the world's best.

"I was able to do more than I thought which is very encouraging," he told journalists.

"I didn't play any exhibitions which allowed me to train extremely hard and for a longer period of time.

"It's the first time in a year that I could practice three, four weeks in a row without any setbacks which has been the problem the last one-and-a-half years.

"Every time I had training (in the past) I had setbacks, little aches and pains, especially in the back from time to time... which cost me confidence.

"These last few months have been important for me, feeling that movement is not an issue any more and I can go full out especially mentally more than anything."

Edberg had been hitting with Federer over the winter as the Swiss gears up for what could be a make-or-break season given the former world number one's ranking is now down at six after he failed to make a major final for the first time since 2002.

Federer, whose last Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon in 2012, split with longtime coach Paul Annacone in October. He will play the Brisbane International ahead of January's Australian Open in Melbourne.

"My goals are pretty simple for Brisbane and Melbourne - you want to do as well as you can and get into the groove again because the off-season was a bit longer this time around," Federer said.

"After that I will look at what my goals regarding rankings and tournament wins, but they are pretty much going to be the same - I want to be part of the best, and hopefully beat the best players in the game."

Federer revealed on Christmas Eve that he and wife Mirka are expecting another baby in 2014 to join twins Charlene and Myla who were born in 2009.

"We are just going to go with it. I am not going to reveal any dates or anything," he said.


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