Roger Federer out to prove he can still win grand slams
The Swiss star says having Sweden's Stefan Edberg as his coach is giving him fresh hope
Roger Federer says he's ready to prove he's not a spent force after making a winning start under new coach Stefan Edberg at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The Swiss 17-time grand slam winner made light work of Australian wild-card James Duckworth, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour 46 minutes in heatwave conditions on Rod Laver Arena.
Federer has more grand slam titles than any other player but only one, Wimbledon 2012, in the past four years. He is ranked at world number six.
He said he was excited teaming up with former world number one and six-time major champion Edberg and was ready to prove to himself and others he could rediscover his best form.
"I feel good, I'm excited. I'm not thinking about Wimbledon or the US Open so much, even though those were my last two slams which didn't go well for me," the 32-year-old said.
"I think the way I entered this tournament now is very different. I'm looking into the future, I have worked hard, so there's no regrets there.
"For me I want to show, prove to myself that I can bring it every match. I'm really excited. It's a tough draw, but I'm open for it and I'm ready to go."
He said it had been fun playing in front of Edberg.
"It's been a dream come true for me," said Federer, the latest star to tap a former grand slam title-winning player as a coach.
"I used to watch his matches and get inspired to play this great game so to have him in my corner through the year and this tournament is very special and I can't be thankful enough."
Federer said he was delighted to get his 57th record consecutive grand slam off to a secure start against the 133rd-ranked Duckworth.
"I'm happy I managed to beat the heat easily today, and I've entered the tournament, which is most important, first week as a whole. Hopefully I can move on from there," he said.
The Swiss great is bidding to become only the second man after Australia's Roy Emerson to win five Australian Opens. He has never lost in the first round in 15 appearances.
"It was okay. There was not much rhythm out there. It was a matter of getting the job done and not getting broken," he said of his match played in scorching temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius.
He will next play Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic, who got through after his Czech opponent Radek Stepanek retired while leading.
Federer broke Duckworth's service four times and only faced one break point in his 14 service games. He hit 30 winners with 17 unforced errors to ease through to the next round.
"Conditions were playing pretty quick, so we didn't have much rhythm, much rallies," he said. "I kept missing opportunities, which made it harder on me, because I think I could have been in a more comfortable lead."