Home Sports Experts said that Federer started Australian Open 2018 as ‘clear favourite’

Experts said that Federer started Australian Open 2018 as ‘clear favourite’

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 13: Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on against Alexander Zverev of Germany during day ten of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Uniprix Stadium on August 13, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

(G.N.S) Dt. 12
Experts maintain it would be no surprise to see Federer go the distance in Melbourne
Federer surprised everyone by winning the 2017 edition beating Nadal in the final
On the women’s side, the absence of defending champion Serena Williams left the draw wide open
Roger Federer’s impressive start to the season at the Hopman Cup dovetailed with question marks over the fitness of his key rivals makes the Swiss legend a ‘clear favourite’ to retain his Australian Open title, tennis analysts believe.
Possibly for the first time ever, Federer finished a surprise winner of a Grand Slam last January, mainly because he was returning from a six-month injury layoff. Barring a back injury that plagued his US Open campaign, the 36-year-old was in sublime touch for the rest of 2017, adding a record eighth Wimbledon crown and five other titles to his fairytale triumph in Melbourne.
He appears to have carried that form into 2018 which Federer began by winning all four of his singles matches, including a scorching display against promising German Alexander Zverev, enroute to steering Switzerland to a third Hopman Cup triumph.
With Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori out injured and the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka all starting the year with some degree of uncertainty hanging over their physical condition, experts maintain it would be no surprise on this occasion to see Federer go the distance in Melbourne for the sixth time.
“It’s just amazing. He just keeps doing it,” Patrick McEnroe, an analyst with ESPN, told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. “He looks younger than ever. He’s moving as beautifully as ever. He’s hitting the ball brilliantly. Wins four or five matches at the Hopman Cup against high-level competition. To me, he’s the clear favourite.”
Thursday’s draw that saw Federer pitted in the same half as Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro, David Goffin and Tomas Berdych would suggest the World No.2 has his task cut out in his quest to land a historic 20th major title. “He could always get picked off early, then it becomes a little more wide open. But based on what I’ve seen so far, sort of what we saw not just last year but even the tail end of last year, I don’t think there’s anybody else that you could say is a favourite other than Roger at the moment,” McEnroe, a former professional, added.
Former World No.1 and fellow ESPN analyst Chris Evert said Federer’s fluid style of play and his ability to switch off from competitive mode had a significant role to play in helping him dominate the game for as long as he has. “The way he plays in a relaxed way, there’s no strain,” said Evert. “He doesn’t muscle anything. He kind of glides around. He’s so efficient. I think it just doesn’t result in a lot of injuries. “I think mentally and emotionally, having kids, having a family, he gets away from the game, he knows how to compartmentalize really well. He lets the losses roll off his back.
“There’s never been anybody like him with that attitude, as far as I know, in any sport,” Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion herself, added.
On the women’s side, the absence of defending champion Serena Williams left the draw wide open according to Evert. “It’s probably more intriguing because you have 20 players that can win a Grand Slam. Certainly you couldn’t have said that 10 years ago or even five years ago,” said the 63-year-old as she backed Williams’ decision to withdraw from the opening Slam of the season. “I think her decision not to play the Australian Open was a smart one because now she’s just going for Grand Slam titles. She wasn’t ready.
“I mean, this is the type of tournament where there’s so much talent that Serena could not have played her way into the tournament any more because she probably would have gotten tough matches the first and second rounds. I don’t think she would have won this tournament anyway.”
Pushed to name her pick among the women, Evert revealed she would have to reluctantly go with current world number one Simona Halep. “I say this without a lot of conviction, but I feel like Simona Halep had such a disappointing 2017 in the majors, and I feel she is determined to turn that around.”

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