Roger Federer said Thursday he was fired up after an intense off-season and ready for another “crazy good” year, starting with his Australian Open title defence next month.
Ranked third in the world, the Swiss great is aiming for his third straight singles title in Melbourne, having enjoyed a late-career renaissance to win the year’s opening Grand Slam in both 2017 and 2018.
Each of those victories came off the back of his appearance at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth, where he again starts his preparation for the new season by representing Switzerland this week.
Federer’s win in Melbourne in 2017 was his first Grand Slam title since 2012 and came when many had written him off as a contender.
At the age of 37 and with 20 Grand Slam wins in his back pocket, he can reflect on a “crazy good” couple of years, including an eighth Wimbledon title.
Federer will again be the crowd favourite in Melbourne, but he won’t be going into the event expecting another unlikely title, admitting logic suggested he faced a tough task.
“I think with my age people know that if I did something extraordinary that would be amazing,” he said in Perth Thursday.
“If that didn’t happen, maybe it’s logical you can’t produce that tennis every year. You also maybe need a bit of luck, and the draw to fall your way.
“A lot of things need to happen to win any slam. I hope that again it will be the start of a great season for me because the last two seasons have been crazy good for me.”
Federer said his body was continuing to hold up well and that he had been building his training towards the Australian Open over the last month.
“I’ve been very happy with how the off-season went,” he said. “The last three or four weeks have been very intense. I’m very excited and motivated for this next season.”
Federer opens his Hopman Cup account on December 30 with the tie against Britain.
On New Year’s Day he will partner Belinda Bencic as the defending champions face the United States represented by Frances Tiafoe and Federer’s fellow great Serena Williams.
The mixed doubles match will see an unprecedented battle between two of the greatest players the game has ever seen, with 43 Grand Slam singles titles between Federer and Williams.
Federer conceded it was a once-in-a-lifetime match-up and one that he was quietly looking forward to.
“We’ll probably play it down a little bit and say it’s not that big of a deal for us, it’s just another tennis match, but it really isn’t because it’s probably going to happen once and never again,” he said.
“That’s why I hope we’re both going to be injury free when that day comes around.”