Moment of truth for Tomic as Federer showdown arrives

Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:04am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - It will be time for Australia's Bernard Tomic to put up or shut up when he faces 17-times grand-slam champion Roger Federer in the third round of the Australian Open tennis on Saturday.

Local favorite Tomic and Federer have traded barbs since the draw for the season's opening grand slam was made last week and the Swiss has been repeatedly questioned about the prospect of facing the brash 20-year-old in the third round.

"I feel so confident. This is the perfect time to play him," said Tomic who is unbeaten in 2013 after winning three matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth before taking his first ATP Tour title in Sydney. "I've got a good attitude to win.

"I've beaten a lot of good players over the last past two weeks, especially Novak," he added in reference to beating world number one Djokovic at the Hopman Cup.

"I'm ready. I mean, I'm not going to say I don't have the belief; I do have the belief now.

"It's possible. I showed that in Perth, that you can beat these players. Now I'm going to try to beat him."

Federer graciously deflected most questions put to him about the Australian world number 43 but did remind local fans that Tomic had a poor 2012, even though he was now playing well, and still had a lot to do to prove himself.

Before the tournament began, both men were openly skeptical about their opponents even making it as far as the third round.   Continued...

Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a return to Daniel Brands of Germany during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 17, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray