Family and practice leave Federer ready for another slam
By Patrick Johnston
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 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.
"I am very happy that the year is starting. It's a bit of a different preparation for the Australian Open this year but I'm confident I am mentally refreshed, which I am, and physically I am fine and that I will play a good Australian Open," Federer told reporters in Singapore on Friday.
"I have been practicing really hard the last few weeks and 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."
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.
"It is key to always have a healthy schedule, it is difficult to do as they (the tournaments) are spread out basically from January to October-November," he said.
"It is hard to say I'm going to take one or two months off and practice hard while there are 10 to 15 new tournament winners on the Tour and you are sitting at home." Continued...