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Federer wary of dangerous floaters in Australian Open draw; predicts 'something special' from young gun de Minaur

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 9 Jan 2019
  • Federer cautious of Australian Open ambush
  • Murray, Wawrinka, Kyrgios, Tsonga and Berdych among those unseeded
  • Swiss legend also thinks rising star de Minaur can make an impact
Roger Federer (Photo by ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer believes rising star Alex de Minaur can do ‘something special’ at his home Grand Slam as the Australian Open gets underway next week.

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After climbing from outside the world’s top 200 and into a position inside the top 30 within the space of 12 months following a whirlwind 2018 breakout season, de Minaur arrives at the Australian Open as the No. 1 ranked Australian man and the only player to be seeded, taking the No. 27 slot.

De Minaur finished runner-up at the Sydney International and ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington D.C. last season, along with reaching the third round of Wimbledon and earning plaudits for his relentless fighting spirit when he saved seven match points against Marin Cilic at the U.S. Open before succumbing deep into the fifth set.

Alex De Minaur (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Tasked with a tough opening round draw last season against two-time semi-finalist and eventual 2018 quarter-finalist Tomas Berdych, de Minaur will be gunning for a deep run in front of his home fans over the next fortnight - and 20-time major champion Federer believes the 19-year-old can make an impact and go on a run.

“Especially here on Australia on this type of court, Alex, this is his best chance to do something special,” Federer said.
“He had a tough draw last year, I think it was (Tomas) Berdych in the first round. We’ll see something from Alex now. He’s already doing something in Sydney … we’ll see plenty more in the years to come.
“We know what Bernie and Nick can do but I think maybe the eyes are going to be on Alex.”

Outside of de Minaur, the 37-year-old Federer is cautious of an Australian Open ambush in the early rounds, with so many dangerous floaters potentially in his path.

The likes of five-time runner-up Andy Murray, 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and two-time semi-finalist Tomas Berdych are all set to be unseeded at this year’s tournament - the first time since 2005 that neither of them have been among the top 32.

The explosive and unpredictable Nick Kyrgios is also at the mercy of the draw gods and theoretically could be pitted against Federer in the first round.

Federer says he won’t be looking past the first couple of rounds as a result.

“If you play Stan first round or Nick first round or Tsonga first round that changes things a little bit instead of playing a qualifier. From that standpoint we’re eager to find out the draw,” he said.
“All we look at, regardless of who you are, is the first or maybe the maximum second round.
“After that you don’t really mind who’s in your section because you have got to beat them all if you want to win here.”

The 2019 Australian Open draw will be conducted live on Thursday January 10 from 6.00pm local time at Melbourne Park.

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Federer wary of dangerous floaters in Australian Open draw; predicts 'something special' from young gun de Minaur

Roger Federer believes rising star Alex de Minaur can do ‘something special’ at his home Grand Slam as the Australian Open gets underway next week.

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