“It’s probably expected that the three of us, and Nadal of course, would still be main candidates to win all the major titles. But, you know, I wouldn’t underestimate Del Potro, [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych, anybody who is in top 10,” he said. “I don’t think it’s nice for me to predict that us three will be champions of all Grand Slams this year.
Federer will also get an extra break before starting his 53rd consecutive Grand Slam event, second only to retired South African Wayne Ferreira’s mark of 57.
He didn’t play a warm-up event, preferring instead to rest.
“I can practice as hard as I want, make it feel also like a match,” said Federer, who has played every Australian Open since 2000 and has won the title four times. “I have a lot of experience. I feel like if I’m playing well in practice. Today, at this age, I know where my game’s at.
“I’m ready to go and eager. That to me right now dominates. It’s important to be fresh.”
Another 31-year-old with a long history at the Australian Open is former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt. The former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion first qualified for his national championship at age 15 and is due to start his 17th consecutive Australian Open campaign on Monday night against eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
Hewitt’s best result at Melbourne Park was a losing final against Marat Safin in 2005 and has he slid down the rankings to No. 81 due to age and injuries.
No Australian man has won the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.