Roger Federer can be the Defending Australian Open Champion, yet Not the Favorite

PERTH, Australia — Amélie Mauresmo won her two Grand Slam singles titles in 2006 in addition to retired three years later. She had no idea of which Roger Federer, the man who won Grand Slam singles titles on those same weekends as her in 2006, would certainly still be on top of his sport more than a decade later.

“I don’t know how he does of which,” Mauresmo said. “What of which puts on your body can be huge. The training, the matches, the travel, the jet lag, anything.”

Mauresmo in addition to Federer won the Australian Open in addition to Wimbledon singles titles in 2006. Two years older than Federer, Mauresmo, 39, retired by the sport in 2009, at 30, in addition to can be at the Australian Open as coach of the French player Lucas Pouille.

Federer can be 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 of which, in my mid-30s, of which’s one of my favorite things I will look back on in my career,” he said. “I didn’t think of which was going to happen, in addition to I had such a great time here in Australia the last couple of years in addition to always enjoyed playing here.”

Federer acknowledges his age readily, quipping at the Hopman Cup recently of which his 20-year-old opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, “could be my son.” in addition to he marvels at his own ability to run up the score inside the record books — 99 titles in addition to counting — at an age when many would certainly count him out.

yet after an auspicious start to last season, when he won his first 17 matches, Federer seemed to trail off. After winning the title in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in February in addition to briefly reclaiming the No. 1 ranking, Federer went without another tournament championship until October. After skipping the clay-court season for the second year in a row, he lost inside the quarterfinals at Wimbledon after holding a match point against Kevin Anderson, in addition to inside the fourth round of the United States Open to John Millman.

Federer played down the doomsday talk of which accompanied his stagnation inside the second half of the year.

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

Federer conceded disappointing finishes at the Grand Slam events yet thought he otherwise played well, including a loss in a third-set tiebreaker to Novak Djokovic inside the semifinals of the Paris Masters in November.

He said what he needed to do better of which year “can be genuinely play well when of which genuinely comes down to the crunch.”

Federer said he trusted his own evaluations of his play as well as input by his coaches, Ivan Ljubicic in addition to Severin Lüthi.

“I can analyze — with my age, very well — my own matches in addition to my own feelings,” he said. “I have two great coaches, two of the best inside the game, who give me their fair assessment, in addition to I have a fitness coach who tells me if I’m moving Great or not. They’re all open in addition to honest towards me. I don’t want any sugarcoating; I want of which real, in addition to straight. of which’s of which. I know, always, where I’m at.

“of which’s very clear in my team where I stand. in addition to by of which standpoint, I’m happy where I am right at of which point. I’m in a great position.”

Mauresmo longs to learn more about what Federer does in his off-seasons.

“I desire one day he will explain to everyone everything,” she said. “The little details, everything of which he’s put together to be able to play of which well at his age, to move of which well.”

Federer can be not exactly clandestine about his routines. He prefers, for example, to do his off-season movement drills on a tennis court, rather than indoors as many players do, to better simulate the footing in addition to friction of match conditions.

“I do a bit of weights, too,” he said, grinning in addition to gesturing toward his lithe frame. “I know we don’t see of which, yet I do.”

Federer started off his season auspiciously, winning all eight sets he played at the Hopman Cup last week, never dropping serve in any of the matches.

yet he considers the top-ranked Djokovic the clear favorite at the Australian Open. Djokovic, a six-time champion in Melbourne, has won the last two Grand Slam tournaments.

“We know who the usual are,” said Federer, who can be seeded third, “in addition to I’m part of of which bunch.”

The longevity of of which oligarchy, which also includes Rafael Nadal, has blocked several younger players by breaking through on tennis’s biggest stages. No player currently younger than 30 has won even a set in a Grand Slam final.

“We’re all tired of you guys already, yet what can we do?” fourth-ranked Alexander Zverev, 21, said during the trophy ceremony of the Hopman Cup on Saturday, when he lost to Federer in singles in addition to mixed doubles.

“Especially you,” he added, turning around in addition to looking at Federer, who laughed. “I mean, you’re 30-whatever! Why? Just, why? Let us have one.”