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Federer sounds confident warning on eve of Australian Open defence

MELBOURNE, January 13: Ageless Roger Federer said on Sunday he was in a confident mood and warned his rivals he was “playing good tennis” as he aims for a third successive Australian Open title.
The Swiss master enjoyed a successful Hopman Cup warm-up in Perth and knows that at even the grand old age of 37 he has a great chance of a record seventh Melbourne crown and 21st major victory.
“I’m playing good tennis. I’m confident that I think it needs a good performance by my opponent probably to beat me,” said the third seed, who opens his defence against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in Monday’s night match on Rod Laver Arena.
A buoyant Federer revealed he had enjoyed a successful break coming into the 2019 season.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been very lucky that in the off-seasons I never had any setbacks,” he told reporters at Melbourne Park.
“What I can say is the off-season was great for me. I think maybe it showed a little bit at the Hopman Cup already. Again, look, I’m playing tomorrow. We’ll see how it’s going to be here in Melbourne.”
Federer’s first-round opponent Istomin caused a massive upset in Melbourne two years ago when he knocked out defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second round, outlasting the Serb over five sets.
“I think the focus really is on those early rounds, especially tomorrow,” said Federer, whose victory against Marin Cilic in last year’s final was his 20th Grand Slam title. (AFP)

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