Federer in perfect shape for Open
WITH retirement looming and no plans beyond 2019, Roger Federer hopes he can conjure another Australian Open miracle after a flawless off-season.
Seeking a 21st singles major and 100th title overall at Melbourne Park from January 14-27, the Swiss maestro has conceded he was at the "back end" of a phenomenal career.
But, at 37, the superstar's ambitions burn fiercely as he bids to land a third consecutive grand slam crown at Rod Laver Arena.
"I've actually had a great build-up. I didn't miss any sessions in Dubai," Federer said ahead of Sunday night's Hopman Cup drubbing of Britain's Cameron Norrie.
"All the fitness stuff I wanted to do, got done. All the tennis sessions I wanted to do, got done. I actually did a bit more than I was planning to.
"I think I can be very happy there. I've worked hard. I don't talk about it, but I work extremely hard.
"This time, we really went to the edge of what's possible for me.
"Nowadays with my age, I have to be careful not to push it every single day or too many days in a row, or whatever it may be. "But when I worked, I worked extremely hard just on length of practice, intensity of practice, on length of rally and all these things. So I will be ready to play tough rallies, tough matches this year."
Federer, astounded even his peers with a blistering 21-match winning streak to start the 2018 season - a feat he draws strength from as he bids to bury frustrations from the second half of the season.
"I think it was actually the most wins in a row ever to start the season for me, so the season was fantastic," he said.
"Yeah, I couldn't carry it through.
"There were several reasons but, at the end, I have to judge the whole season and it was a great season."
Federer suffered a hand injury during the grasscourt season, which ended with a surprise loss from two sets to love up against Kevin Anderson. And his US Open quest was terminated in hot, heavy conditions by John Millman.
Federer, who cruised past Norrie 6-1 6-1 in his Hopman Cup opener and will face American Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday night before lining up against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, is optimistic of venturing to the Australian Open in a rich vein of form.