Roger Federer: 'I wanted to arrive early in Melbourne. Can't wait for the draw'

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Roger Federer: 'I wanted to arrive early in Melbourne. Can't wait for the draw'

The 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is ready to embrace his 21st Australian Open campaign in two weeks in Melbourne. The Swiss star opted to stay away from the inaugural ATP Cup and embrace some challenging matches in the first week of the year, practicing at his home in Dubai and flying to Melbourne early for the best possible preparation.

Confident about his game following another top-tier season in 2019, Federer sets eyes on the seventh crown at the Australian Open and to extend the gap ahead of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the GOAT race after failing tow in a Major in 2019.

Despite turning 38 in August, Roger delivered impressive tennis in the season behind us, lifting four trophies and passing that magic mark of 100 ATP titles in Dubai. Federer went all the way in Dubai, Miami, Halle and Basel, extending his record as the oldest Masters 1000 champion and playing well at Majors as well.

After the semi-final run at Roland Garros, Federer was the finalist at Wimbledon, squandering two match points against Novak Djokovic in epic title clash and hoping for a deep run in Melbourne, especially after the fourth-round loss a year ago.

The everlasting Swiss will make the record-breaking 21st appearance at the Australian Open, playing in Melbourne for the first time back in 2000 at the age 18 and never missing the first Major of the season. Federer was the champion in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, setting the course of becoming the greatest player in the history of the Australian Open before losing ground in the years to come mainly thanks to Novak Djokovic, returning stronger in 2017 and 2018 to stand on six Norman Brookes Challenge Cup trophies.

Hitting the practice court at one of his most beloved stadiums, Roger said he feels confident and determined to wait for the draw and kick off the action as soon as possible in front of the partisan crowd that has been cheering for him for the last two decades.

"I'm super happy to be back in Melbourne," Federer said. "I wanted to arrive very early, I love to be here and couldn't wait for the first hit at the Rod Laver Arena. I have been feeling good, practicing well and everything is excellent and I can't wait for it to start and to find out what the draw is later in the week.

I know it's been tough times for this country and it is good to see first hand and also to know we can do something about it; I'm excited to be part of the Rally for Relief. Every ace we are going to hit is going to be good for the people. Maybe there is going to be a roar every time there is an ace."