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Roddick sheds no tears for Federer

The American said the Swiss would recover for the year's opening Grand Slam, which starts on January 14.

sports Updated: Jan 08, 2008 16:51 IST
Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick backed world number one Roger Federer to mount a strong defence of his Australian Open crown despite pulling out of this week's Kooyong Classic with a stomach virus.

The American, who beat Federer in the final of the eight-man event last year, said the Swiss would recover for the year's opening Grand Slam, which starts on January 14.

"None of us are worried about his preparation for the Open," Roddick joked, drawing laughs at his press conference.

"I'll sleep OK tonight."

He added: "It's impossible for me to say how he might go, I don't know how he feels.

"But Kooyong seems to be good preparation for Roger. This (illness) won't help, but if anyone can play his way into form, that would be Roger."

Word from the Federer camp suggested the 12-time Grand Slam winner was resting under doctor's orders as valuable training time for the Open slips away.

The Swiss fronted up later in Melbourne at a sponsor appearance, saying he hopes to begin light training on Wednesday.

"I've felt better. It's not terribly bad but I cannot take a chance. Something in my stomach didn't feel good and it hasn't really left me yet.

"I'm sleeping OK and trying to rest. The doctors told me to take it easy," said the player, who visited hospital at the weekend.

Federer said the illness does not diminish his drive for another Australian Open title. "Otherwise, I would have left already," he added.

"I'm hanging around because I think it will all turn out for the good. I will be at 100 percent by the time the event starts."

Roddick meanwhile begins his summer campaign at the Kooyong event when he faces Croatian Ivan Ljubicic on Wednesday.

Nikolay Davydenko will take on Marcos Baghdatis in a battle of substitutes, Fernando Gonzalez will play Argentina's David Nalbandian and Britain's Andy Murray will play former Australian Open champion Marat Safin.