Last August, Roger Federer turned 38 but that was just a random number for him, still playing on a high level and fighting for most notable titles of our sport. The 20-time Major champion couldn't match the level of his greatest rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in 2019, squandering a chance to beat Novak at Wimbledon final and standing just a Major in front of Rafael Nadal who added Roland Garros and the US Open to his tally.
Despite that, Federer was able to keep the echelon of the young guns behind him and finish in the top-3, earning more age records and hoping for more of the same ahead of the new season. 2019 brought four ATP titles to Roger, celebrating the 100th crown in Dubai and extending his record as by far the oldest Masters 1000 champion in Miami.
Returning to clay after three years, Roger was the semi-finalist at Roland Garros, shifting that momentum towards Wimbledon where he had those two match points against Novak Djokovic that could have brought another Major crown to his tally, also the most beloved one for the great Swiss.
Instead of that, he had to settle for the ATP 500 titles in Halle and Basel, standing on 103 ATP trophies at the moment and continuing to chase Jimmy Connors who is on 109. Following the semi-final run at the ATP Finals, the veteran embraced exhibition Tour with Alexander Zverev in South America and Mexico in November, deciding to skip the ATP Cup and adding more unofficial matches to his calendar in the closing days of 2019 in China, also with Zverev.
After intense practice sessions at home in Dubai, Federer arrived in Melbourne in high spirit, pumped and motivated about the record-breaking 21st appearance at the Australian Open and confident about his chances for a deep run.
"Last week I asked myself, 'Am I happy to go to Australia, or are you better off staying here and stopping pack immediately?'," Federer said. "I could easily stay at home nut that was never an option.
I was thrilled to go to Melbourne and kick off the season there. I've kept myself in good shape; I've had an amazing team around me."