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Federer downplays Australian Open chances: 'No doubt about it, Novak is the favourite'

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 6 Jan 2019
  • Federer says Djokovic is the clear Australian Open favourite
  • Swiss legend is going for his third straight title at Melbourne Park
Roger Federer (Photo by TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer has played down his chances of winning the 2019 Australian Open, with the two-time defending champion declaring that World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the clear favourite.

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Aiming for an Australian Open three-peat after taking home the title at Melbourne Park in 2017 and 2018, Federer warmed up for the opening Grand Slam of the year by defending his Hopman Cup title for Switzerland with Belinda Bencic, winning all four of his singles matches in Perth.



However, the World No. 3 doesn’t see himself as the favourite to lift the Australian Open trophy later this month, saying fellow six-time champion Djokovic is the man to beat - despite the Serbian suffering a shock loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in Doha this week and losing his last two finals to Karen Khachanov and Alexander Zverev in Paris and London to end 2018.

"No doubt about it, Novak is the favourite," Federer said. "Regardless of what happened in Doha, he had a super, super strong last five or six months of the year.
"With his class once he gets his groove back he is hard to beat."

Federer stopped short of completely downplaying his chances, with the 37-year-old placing himself amongst the top contenders for the title.

"I'm one of the top 10 favourites and so are many others. I don't know the draw yet, I don't know who my first round opponent is, I don't know if I play on Monday or day or night.
"In terms of who is going to win it, we know who the usual suspects are and I am part of that bunch."

Federer defeated Marin Cilic in five sets to capture the 2018 Australian Open title - part of a career-best 21-match winning streak to start the season (including the Hopman Cup), that also yielded a title in Rotterdam, which saw him become the oldest World No. 1 in history.

However, that would be the last major Federer would win in 2018, with Rafael Nadal securing an 11th French Open before a resurgent Djokovic dominated the second half of the season, taking home the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles before returning to No. 1 in the final weeks of the year.

The 2019 Australian Open is live from Melbourne Park between January 14-27.

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Federer downplays Australian Open chances: "No doubt about it, Novak is the favourite"

Roger Federer has played down his chances of winning the 2019 Australian Open, with the two-time defending champion declaring that World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the clear favourite.

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