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Federer’s Next Feat: The 30s' Club

Melbourne, Australia

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer is chasing his 18th Grand Slam championship.

It is hard to believe that with an unprecedented 17 Grand Slam titles to his name, a name that carries the weight of the tennis world, that Roger Federer could still have records to break. 

But a title in Melbourne in two weeks’ time would make Federer the fifth man in the Open Era to win two or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30, and with the Swiss feeling less pressure than ever at World No. 6, he is set to be a force to be reckoned with at the Australian Open

“I definitely have less pressure this year, less to lose,” Federer said. “I'm not the defending champion or any of that. So, I should be able to play more freely.

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“I feel good.  My confidence is there.  I'm happy I played Brisbane, so I know where my game's at. I've practised.”

If Federer manages to reach the feat in Melbourne, he certainly will have earned it, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all lining up in his path to the trophy. 

“At the same time maybe the draw becomes tougher in the process,” said Federer.“ But, I'm happy I'm back here.  I'm happy I'm able to continue playing tournaments and [57] Grand Slams, a Grand Slam streak.  I'm very proud of that.  I hope I can keep playing for a long time.

“At the end of the day it all comes down to how well I play to see how big my chances are to go really far and win the tournament.  But, I'm very focused right now on getting through the first week.”

Andre Agassi was the last man in the record books, winning the Australian Open in 2001 and 2003—at 32 years and eight months. At 32 years and five months, with a settled new racquet in his hand for the first time since 2002, Federer is poised to match his predecessor. His trump card, set to make his anticipated arrival in the next few days, is new coach Stefan Edberg.  

“My life on tour is pretty much settled.  It's always solid routines.  He'll just fit in nicely into that,” Federer said of Edberg.  “I'm just really excited that he's taken up the offer because I didn't think he was going to do it because he's got a life. He doesn't need this.

“I'm looking forward to every week I'll spend with him on the tour this year.”

For Federer, who spent an unbeaten 237 consecutive weeks atop the world game, there was never any need to fix what was far from broken. But after slipping to the sixth spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, a bigger racquet head could be pivotal to his resurgence in 2014.

“I've wanted to change for a number of years, but I kept on playing well in the slams,” he said. 

“I was going to do some more [testing] after the US Open, but I wasn't in the mood for that, so I waited for the end of the year and did some more testing there.

“Now I've really been putting in a lot of hours on the racquet.  It feels good.  I'm really looking forward to playing now with that racquet here at the Australian Open.” 

Of course, Ken Roswell’s 1972 Australian Open victory at 37 is a distant thought for Federer, but with so many records already to his name, it’s worth a thought.

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