Free of favorite tag, Federer hopes to flourish in Melbourne

Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:45am EST
 
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By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Armed with a new coach and bigger racket, Roger Federer hopes being in the unusual position of underdog will help him add to his record tally of 17 grand slam titles.

The Swiss has been overshadowed by Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in recent years, winning only one grand slam title (Wimbledon 2012) since his 2010 victory Melbourne Park and dropping to sixth in the world rankings.

However, the 32-year-old told reporters on Saturday that he could fly below the radar.

"I definitely have less pressure this year, less to lose," he said. "I'm not the defending champion or any of that.

"So I should be able to play more freely, and other guys are supposed to make their move or defend again, all these things.

"Things are maybe a little bit more comfortable this year around. But at the same time maybe the draw becomes tougher in the process.

"But I'm happy I'm back here, I'm very proud of my grand slam streak (57 straight slams). I hope I can keep playing for a long time."

Federer is playing with a slightly bigger racket-head but it is the addition of former world number one Stefan Edberg to his coaching team which has caught the imagination of the tennis world.   Continued...

 
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a ball with an oversized tennis racquet during the Kids Tennis Day before the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 11, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray