´Cautious´ Federer happy as underdog

Roger Federer may be a 17-time grand slam champion, but he has no problem being an underdog at this year’s Australian Open.

The Swiss great saw his 2016 ruined by a knee injury and the Hopman Cup was his first tournament since Wimbledon.

Seeded 17th and playing a qualifier in the first round at Melbourne Park, Federer is fine with the role of underdog.

“Why not for a change? I mean, I prefer to be the favourite. Underdog is OK. It’s fine,” he said on Saturday.

“As long as I’m healthy and I feel like I can go four, five sets, I can go many matches in a row, then I think it’s going to be fun.

“If I feel like I’m in pain in the matches, then obviously it’s no fun. Then it doesn’t matter what your seeding or ranking is, it’s always the same.

“But it’s a great draw because I’m in the draw. So for me I’m super pleased that I made it here, that I have an opportunity to win matches. How many rests to be seen.

“I’m cautious myself. So, clearly an underdog this time around.”

Federer’s most recent major title came in 2012, while the last time he won the year’s first grand slam was in 2010.

The 35-year-old said he had been happy with his preparation, insisting his decision to play in Perth was the right one.

“I felt great. I felt Hopman Cup was great preparation. We’ll see if it was perfect or not,” Federer said.

“But conditions felt virtually identical to me. Centre court in Perth was sort of similar size. Court speed felt the same. Obviously same continent, all that stuff.”

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