Roger Federer is preparing to kick off his 21st Australian Open campaign, seeking the third title in the last four years against the rivals like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Swiss opted to skip the ATP Cup and shape up his strokes at home in Dubai, traveling to Melbourne early and feeling the court and the atmosphere ahead of the first Major of the season that starts next Monday. Asking some questions on Monday, Roger was asked about world no.
1 Ashleigh Barty and her chances at the upcoming Australian Open, seeking the first title for the Aussies at home Majors in more than 40 years. Barty lost to Jennifer Brady in Brisbane and will try to bounce back in Adelaide and Melbourne, hoping to win at least one title in front of the home fans and defend the WTA throne ahead of Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and others.
Sharing his thoughts about the young Aussie, Roger suggested she may need a different mindset that would help her to explore the full potential. In his opinion, Barty has to act like the player to beat and not like a contender like others, something he felt after winning the first Major crown at Wimbledon at the age of 21 in 2003.
Federer missed a chance to become world no. 1 in the rest of that season, taking the throne after the Australian Open 2004 and staying there for four and a half years before Rafael Nadal passed him in August 2008. "Ashleigh needs a different mindset, maybe," said Federer.
"You can explore all the potential you have. That's what happened when I won my first Major and rose through to world No.1. After that, I thought, 'I'm the guy to beat.' I prefer to be in this position than being a contender.
I hope Ashleigh is also going to see that way. So it wasn't just decided five years ago that hopefully I'd still be playing at 38. It was probably decided a long long time ago after I won my first Australian Open here in 2004 and I got to world No.1 for the very first time. I hoped to have longevity. I worked hard for it really."