Roger Federer Is the Defending Australian Open Champion, but Not the Favorite




PERTH, Australia — Amélie Mauresmo gained her two Grand Slam singles titles in 2006 and retired three years later. She had no concept that Roger Federer, the man who gained Grand Slam singles titles on those self same weekends as her in 2006, would nonetheless be on high of his sport greater than a decade later.

“I don’t know how he does it,” Mauresmo mentioned. “What it puts on your body is huge. The training, the matches, the travel, the jet lag, anything.”

Mauresmo and Federer gained the Australian Open and Wimbledon singles titles in 2006. Two years older than Federer, Mauresmo, 39, retired from the sport in 2009, at 30, and is at the Australian Open as coach of the French participant Lucas Pouille.

Federer is at the Australian Open as the two-time defending champion. His bid for a 21st Grand Slam singles championship begins Monday in Melbourne.

“Winning back-to-back Australian Opens like this, in my mid-30s, it’s one of my favorite things I will look back on in my career,” he mentioned. “I didn’t think it was going to happen, and I had such a great time here in Australia the last couple of years and always enjoyed playing here.”

Federer acknowledges his age readily, quipping at the Hopman Cup not too long ago that his 20-year-old opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, “could be my son.” And he marvels at his personal means to run up the rating in the file books — 99 titles and counting — at an age when many would rely him out.

But after an auspicious begin to final season, when he gained his first 17 matches, Federer appeared to path off. After successful the title in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in February and briefly reclaiming the No. 1 rating, Federer went with out one other event championship till October. After skipping the clay-court season for the second yr in a row, he misplaced in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon after holding a match level towards Kevin Anderson, and in the fourth spherical of the United States Open to John Millman.

Federer performed down the doomsday discuss that accompanied his stagnation in the second half of the yr.

“I wasn’t too disappointed,” he mentioned. “I was more surprised to hear that there was sort of concern, or people were saying, ‘What a bad second half to the year.’ ”

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