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ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals)

Renaissance man Roger Federer makes winning start to new campaign and reflects on his great year

After winning two grand slam titles in 2017, the world No 2 returns to the Hopman Cup, where his unlikely comeback started a year ago

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 8:13pm

Swiss master Roger Federer began his new campaign in style, winning his first match at the Hopman Cup in Perth against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita before reflecting on his phenomenal year, which he described as an “absolute dream run”.

Federer, who turns 37 in August, won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017 and the Hopman Cup was the tournament that started his great comeback after six months on the sidelines following knee surgery in 2016.

After defeating Sugita 6-4, 6-3 in his first match after his winter break, the 19-time grand slam champion was pleased to get off to a winning start at the Perth Arena.

“It’s tennis time next month and I’m happy to be here to kick it off,” he told spectators after his straightforward victory against the Japanese world No 40.

“It’s been an absolute dream run,” said the world No 2. “It’s gone by too fast ... while you’re having fun. What a year it has been. I couldn’t be happier. It was such a huge surprise and I’m healthy and I had a great off season. I’m so pleased to have had the year I had and hopefully I will get another good one this year.”

Asked how close he was to his best, the 36-year-old Federer had to correct the emcee with his age.

“I’m 37 next year,” he said to laughter from the crowd. “Last year I was young at 35. Look, I feel the game has evolved again in the last 10 years and I made a few adjustments in my game. I think I’m playing very well otherwise I won’t be having the results I’m having. I’m still playing at this level.”

He was also asked how he managed to get quokkas to stay still for selfies when he made a trip to Rottnest Island during the past week.

Federer said: “It took me 10 seconds [to take the selfies]. Those guys were moving around you know. I was crawling in the sand for about 20 minutes and I think it was the best one of the 150 selfies they wanted me to take. It was worth it and it made the news and everybody knows about Western Australia. It’s a wonderful place.”

The Swiss is using the Hopman Cup as preparation for the Australian Open in Melbourne and is hoping to steal a march on his rivals with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all battling to return from injuries.