You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Federer confident injury won't cruel him

AAP logoAAP 27/01/2017 Darren Walton

Roger Federer is hopeful a nagging groin strain won't cruel his latest shot at sporting immortality. © Sydney Low/CSM/REX/Shutterstock Roger Federer is hopeful a nagging groin strain won't cruel his latest shot at sporting immortality. Roger Federer is hopeful a nagging groin strain won't cruel his latest shot at sporting immortality.

Federer planned a closed practice session on Friday at Melbourne Park, amid concerns the injury might hinder his prospects of ending a four-and-a-half year grand slam title drought in Sunday night's showpiece Australian Open final.

The 35-year-old is chasing an elusive 18th career slam, a magical number that would match Jack Nicklaus's record golf majors and confirm his status as the greatest player in professional tennis history - if not all time.

The father of four is also striving to become the oldest men's grand slam champion since Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

But the Swiss's rare medical time-out during his gripping five-set semi-final triumph over countryman Stan Wawrinka has raised questions about the extent of the injury.

"I just hoped that maybe having the physio work on it, that it would make me feel better. But it didn't," Federer said.

"The leg wasn't better or worse in the fifth. I felt tightness throughout the match, and I felt like it slowed me down.

"It's not something I'm necessarily really worried about in any way. So that's a good thing."

Asked directly if he thought the injury would affect him in any way on Sunday, Federer said: "I mean, no. If I had to say anything right now, no."

In an extraordinary comeback, Federer will be playing for grand slam glory in his first official tournament back after taking six months off following Wimbledon to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee.

The four-time Open champion entered the season-opening slam with only modest hopes - and certainly with no expectations to progress beyond the fourth round or quarter-finals.

But, in hindsight, Federer is convinced he had made the right call to end his 2016 season last July to simply rest his battered body before resuming training in November.

"What I've just come to realise is when you don't feel well, you have too many problems going on - you just won't beat top-10 players," he said.

"At some point, you reach a limit ... You just can't win back-to-back, just not feeling free enough, in your mind, in your body.

"That's where both, I guess, Rafa (Nadal) and myself said, 'Okay, enough of this already. Let's get back to 100 per cent, enjoy tennis again, enjoy the practice.

"Not just practice, treatment, practice, treatment, match, treatment. All the time, all you're doing is fighting the fire.

"From that standpoint, the six months definitely gave me something in return.

"I didn't go into a direction where I felt like I had to reorganise my life or reorganise my tennis in any way.

"I just wanted to get healthy again."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon