Roger Federer believes early Grand Slam exits are easier to deal with earlier in the season.
Roger Federer says he has no issues if he suffers an early exit at the Australian Open – but a problem could arise later in the season. The Swiss star has continuously played down his hopes of winning the first Grand Slam of the season.
But Federer showed he is a force to be reckoned with by comfortably beating Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 this morning.
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The world No 3 eased himself back into action without getting out of second gear in his first competitive match in two months.
However, such a dominant performance has not raised Federer’s hopes of clinching a 21st Grand Slam title of his career.
And the 38-year-old would not be concerned by suffered a shock defeat but he feels that could become a big issue if it happened later in the year.
“When you win it’s all good, you know,” Federer said.
“Or even when you make a semis and beyond, you know you’re in good shape, plus you’re just coming off the off-season so you have the confidence.
“You have practice, you know, flowing through your body, too.
“The problem is sometimes when you play too many matches and you don’t have that practice block, in a way you’re just playing to win, just trying to weasel your way to the next victory and you forget how to properly play tennis.
“So I think the Australian Open, it’s nice if you play well, but there is no drama as if it doesn’t go well for the rest of the season, in my opinion.
“It’s worse if later in the season success is not there and you’re missing that block of practice and you can’t rely on it anymore because it’s too far back.
“That’s why I like to have sort of longer extended practice sessions, probably twice a year, because I think that helps my game.”
Federer has not lost a first-round match since he becomes a Grand Slam champion in 2003. And he feels changes to the seeding formula have helped him maintain the impressive run.
“I guess there is a few reasons that you know, some were close, let’s be honest. There are a few that pop up in my mind right away,” he explained.
“I think also I became a better player. 32 seeds helped, you know, to keep more of those better-ranked players away, as when I came upon tour there was only 16 seeds and all that.
“Yeah, then I guess I created a game which allowed me to manage may be all kinds of opponents, you know, that were ranked outside of the top 30 in a first-round like that even if there is rust or there is nerves and so forth.
“Look, I’m happy that I was able to manage those first rounds.
“As we know, they can always be very tricky. That’s why Masters 1000 are tough sometimes.
“You can play a top-20 player in the first round and that’s when it gets tough.”
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