Roger Federer says Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are favourites to win Australian Open
"With age I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament"
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 24/05/18 2:27pm
Roger Federer admits he "should not be favourite" at this year's Australian Open with the five-time champion tipping Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the title.
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Federer returned from a lengthy injury hiatus 12 months ago to win a stunning 18th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, while this time his preparation has been virtually perfect.
His rival Rafael Nadal he has not contested a match since November because of knee troubles while the fitness of six-time champion Novak Djokovic is even more uncertain after six months out with an elbow injury, but Federer said of his expectations: "It's totally different.
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I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak, with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites, too.
"This year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win [a match]. It was more of a 'let's see what happens' kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year.
"If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That's what happened for me last year. And it ended up way better than I thought it would.
"It was the tournament of the year for me, no doubt about it. Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations, like now this year again.
"With age I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament.
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"I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak, with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites, too.
"It's just great to be back, I'm so, so happy. The Australian Open, it's time again. I can't believe it's been a year, but it's okay. I'll make the most of it."
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Federer will open his campaign on Tuesday against former British player Aljaz Bedene, now back representing Slovenia.
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