Roger Federer during his first-round win against Aljaz Bedene.
Roger Federer during his first-round win against Aljaz Bedene. MARK CRISTINO

Federer warns Djokovic faces tough test

TENNIS: Defending champion Roger Federer is understandably looking over his shoulder for six-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic.

Having been out of action for six months, the Serbian is attempting to emulate the Swiss Master's incredible comeback at Melbourne Park last year.

The 14th seed swept past American Donald Young on Tuesday in his first game back after recovering from an elbow injury.

Federer made his return from injury in last year's Australian Open, marching to the title in his first official tournament back after six months out with a knee complaint.

Roger Federer fires back a forehand against Aljaz Bedene.
Roger Federer fires back a forehand against Aljaz Bedene. MARK CRISTINO

"If you put Rafa (Nadal), myself and Novak together, I think because we have margin maybe against a lot of the players normally, when we do come back, we can find that level,” Federer said ahead of his second-round clash on Thursday with Jan-Lennard Struff.

"Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more difficult.

"Then, because of our results, we just back ourselves.

"I think that's why it's very interesting to follow the comebacks of the great players that have been injured: Stan (Wawrinka), Novak of course this week.”

Novak Djokovic with coaches Andre Agassi (left) and Radek Stepanek in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic with coaches Andre Agassi (left) and Radek Stepanek in Melbourne. MARK CRISTINO

Djokovic faces Gael Monfils in the second round on Thursday and Federer suspects the classy Frenchman will pose a huge threat to the six-time champion.

"This is a big test to play Gael in the second round,” said Federer, who could face Djokovic in a semi-final showstopper.

"I think it's going to be very interesting. I didn't see much of Novak (on Tuesday) but the result shows he was breezing. But this one's clearly a big test.”



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