- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Roger Federer has confirmed he will return to the Brisbane International in January to kick off his preparation for the Australian Open.

Federer was beaten in last year’s final by local favorite Lleyton Hewitt at the Queensland Tennis Centre and said he expected to be in top form for January’s tournament.

The world No. 3 said conditions in Brisbane are similar to Melbourne, where the first Grand Slam of the season will be played from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1. Federer will be bidding for his 18th Grand Slam title.

He said the Jan. 4-11 Brisbane International, is “an ideal preparation (for the Australian Open). It’s an important tournament on my calendar. When I sign up for a tournament it’s because I’m going to try to win it.”

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