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Ageless Federer sounds confident warning on eve of Open defence

AFP  |  Melbourne 

Ageless said Sunday he was in a confident mood and warned his rivals he was "playing good tennis" as he aims for a third successive

The Swiss master enjoyed a successful warm-up in and knows that at even the grand old age of 37 he has a great chance of a record seventh crown and 21st major victory.

"I'm playing good 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 in Monday's night match on

A buoyant 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 Park.

"What I can say is the off-season was great for me. I think maybe it showed a little bit at already. Again, look, I'm playing tomorrow. We'll see how it's going to be here in " Federer's first-round opponent Istomin caused a massive upset in Melbourne two years ago when he knocked out defending champion Novak 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 in last year's final was his 20th Grand Slam title.

"I know what Denis did to Novak. I watched basically the entire game a couple years ago when he beat Novak here.

- Slim margins -


"I've had some tough ones against him in the past. He can play well in fast courts, and that's what it's going to be a little bit here as well," added the world number three, who has won all six previous encounters against Istomin.

"Depending on how you match up with your opponent, who is going to win the big points, the margins are so slim nowadays that I'm just not thinking too far ahead.

"I don't think I should because I think that would be a mistake. I hope I can put myself in contention as the tournament goes deeper, but we'll see." has skipped the European clay court season in recent years as he tries to manage his workload to extend a remarkable career, which shows no signs of slowing.

He said he hadn't made a decision on whether to play on clay this year and wasn't sure why he had not suffered major like Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray, who will retire this year with despite being six years younger than Federer.

"I think you also need a little bit of luck. Maybe also the way I play tennis, maybe it's smoother than the other guys," said Federer, renowned for his flowing movement around the court.

"It just maybe looks that way. I work extremely hard in the matches as well. It just maybe doesn't come across so much.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 13 2019. 09:50 IST