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Federer primed for Australian Open assault

AAP logoAAP 6/01/2017 Brad Elborough

Roger Federer would have preferred reaching the final of the Hopman Cup, but the former world No.1 says he has had a great preparation for the Australian Open.Federer and Belinda Bencic missed the opportunity of winning a third title for Switzerland at the mixed team event when they lost their final tie to France at Perth Arena on Friday night.A win would also have given Federer, who is returning from six months out of the game because of a knee injury, a fourth hit out in less than a week.Now the American team of Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe will play France in the final instead.And the Swiss champ, now ranked 16, will head to Melbourne early to finetune his preparation for the first grand slam of the year, beginning on January 16.Federer heads there satisfied that an intense pre-season in Dubai and the past week in Perth has him primed for a good showing."Three matches is great; four would be perfect," Federer said."Now the body has finally settled; I can play more freely with less thoughts behind it that you will hurt yourself again."I am super happy; yesterday I was slightly stiff, but I was surprised how well I felt."Today is the best I have felt since I arrived, so that's super encouraging."Federer had to come to terms with playing in the Hopman Cup, rather than competing for ATP points at the Brisbane International. He also had fears that the round robin format in Perth would provide him with too much tennis at this stage of his campaign."It's always hard to not play for ATP points, because at the end of the day that is what I have done for 20 years," he said."I am happy I took the decision now. In hindsight, I think it is the best decision to come here and have a perfect preparation for the Australian Open."Federer played three singles matches, beating Dan Evans of Great Britain and France's Richard Gasquet in straight sets, while losing to German young gun Alexander Zverev in three tight sets.

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