Roger Federer ‘can’t wait’ for Australian Open because of this | Tennis | Sport

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Federer is, for the first time in seven years, the defending Australian Open champion after bouncing back from a six-month injury lay-off to win the title in January.

And Australian Open director Craig Tiley believes it is his affection for the tournament itself that keeps the Swiss coming back.

“Roger has won five titles from the last nine tournaments he’s played and he can’t wait to come back, step out on Rod Laver Arena again and begin his title defence,” Tiley said.

“He loves playing here, loves the Aussie fans, and has said his Australian Open win this year was one of the most meaningful of his career.”

Federer will be chasing a 20th Grand Slam title, something never achieved in the men’s game, after taking two in 2017.

The other two, the French and US Opens, were taken by a resurgent Rafael Nadal and the pair will resume their rivalry at the Australian Open, where they met in the final last time around.

“It would be almost unbelievable to think that Rafa has taken the No 1 spot in tennis unless you know how driven and committed he is to not just the sport, but continuously improving himself and his game,” Tiley added.

“He’s the ultimate competitor and brings so much intensity to every match. He’s made history with his tenth title at Roland Garros and is on track to finish the year in the top spot.”

But Tiley also believes that tennis’ two biggest names will not have it all their own way, with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka all having targeted the Australian Open during spells recovering from injuries in 2017.

“With the return of Novak, Andy and Stan, who will all have lower rankings, there’s also a real chance we’ll finally see a breakthrough from one of the rising stars like Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem or David Goffin,” Tiley said.



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