AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014
Federer Embraces Tough Path To Title
by ATP Staff|
Roger Federer has made easy work of his first four matches at the 2014 Australian Open, not dropping a set. Now comes the tough part: To win the title Federer may need to beat Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in three consecutive matches.
But, armed with a new racquet, the 32 year old is undaunted by what may be needed to lift a fifth trophy in Melbourne, a task that begins Wednesday against fourth-seeded Murray.
"It's good to see [that Murray] took care of his draw, and here we are again. I'm looking forward to the match, I must say. I wonder how it's going to play out."
The pair's last meeting was in the semi-finals of the 2013 Australian Open, which Murray won in five sets. "That was a great match," said Federer, "I hope we both can reproduce something similar.
"It will be interesting, because we have had an interesting year last year with some ups and downs," referring to ailments that hampered both players' performances in 2013. "We have both had good starts to the [current] season."
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The Swiss No. 1 attempts to improve his 9-11 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Scot with a new weapon in his arsenal. This larger, 98-inch racquet has already helped Federer in his fourth-round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Monday.
"Tonight things were just clicking," said Federer about the racquet. "It was smooth for me. I do believe I have easier power with the racquet on the serve. It might help me on the return, as well. I hope it is the case.
"I still need to put many more matches and hours on it, but so far so good. It's a great start to the season with the racquet and with my body. Everything is going really well. I'm very happy."
Along with the upcoming clash against Murray, Federer could also face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and Novak Djokovic in the final. Federer is eager to take on the challenge. "You need to be able to come through some matches quickly, probably. You need to be mentally and physically ready for five sets [against each of them].
"It's a tough thing to do. You need to change your game depending on the players, because Murray plays different than Djokovic, Djokovic plays different than Rafa and so forth. You are always also a bit dependent on how good their form is and how good yours is," said Federer.
"Can you do it three or four times in a row? It's a tough thing to do. I don't know if it's been done before. It's definitely a tough task. Then again, if you don't embrace that challenge, you might as well not enter the draw. You might as well stay at home and watch other guys battle it out.
"That's what I like. I like playing the best, for me personally. And you need to take it to them. You need to play aggressive against the top guys, me included. You don't want to wait for stuff to happen. I think that usually is good for success."