Refreshed Federer Eyes Australian Open Campaign
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Weeks of practice and family time have left Swiss maestro Roger Federer fit and refreshed ahead of what the 17-times major winner believes could be an unpredictable Australian Open in the absence of old foe Rafa Nadal. Federer, 31, opted to skip his usual Australian Open warm-up tournaments in the Middle East this year and instead spent it working on his game and parenting, all part of a shorter 2013 schedule that he hopes will extend his career but has left him hungry for matches.

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SHOWS: SINGAPORE (JANUARY 4, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English)WORLD NUMBER 2 TENNIS PLAYER, ROGER FEDERER SAYING: "I didn't play a leading-up tournament this year just because I thought practice is very important for me, coming up in the next year, year and a half. That's what I've been doing. I haven't played a tournament yet so it's just a bit different preparation for the Australian Open this year. But I am confident if mentally I'm fresh, which I feel I am, and physically I'm fine, which I am too - that I will play a good Australian Open. I think it's an exciting one, we've had four different Grand Slam champions this last year and everyone seems to be in great shape. There's not one you can say, he's not playing so well except Rafa - who's obviously not playing. But the rest, even from five down to ten, all playing extremely well. So I think it's going to be an exciting one. Personally I hope I can play well there, I've never played a poor Australian Open so of course I'm hoping for a similar result down there." STORY: Weeks of practice and family time have left Swiss maestro Roger Federer fit and refreshed ahead of what the 17-times major winner believes could be an unpredictable Australian Open in the absence of old foe Rafa Nadal. Federer, 31, opted to skip his usual Australian Open warm-up tournaments in the Middle East this year and instead spent it working on his game and parenting, all part of a shorter 2013 schedule that he hopes will extend his career but has left him hungry for matches. The world number two's last match on Tour was back in November when he was defeated in the final of the ATP Tour Finals in London by Serbia's Novak Djokovic. With only some exhibition matches in South America since, some questioned the move to go straight to the Australian Open but Federer, who won the last of his four Australian Open titles in 2010, said rest was required. "I didn't play a leading-up tournament this year just because I thought practice is very important for me, coming up in the next year, year and a half. That's what I've been doing. I haven't played a tournament yet so it's just a bit different preparation for the Australian Open this year," federer told a news conference in Singapore on Friday (January 4). "I am confident if mentally I'm fresh, which I feel I am, and physically I'm fine, which I am too - that I will play a good Australian Open. I think it's an exciting one, we've had four different Grand Slam champions this last year and everyone seems to be in great shape, except Rafa. But the rest, even from five down to ten, all playing extremely well. So I think it's going to be an exciting one. Personally I hope I can play well there, I've never played a poor Australian Open so of course I'm hoping for a similar result down there." The world number two's last match on Tour was back in November when he was defeated in the final of the ATP Tour Finals in London by Serbia's Novak Djokovic.