Roger Federer prepares for the Australian Open.
Roger Federer prepares for the Australian Open.

Courier backs Federer to defy Father Time

Two-time Australian Open champion Jim Courier has tipped Roger Federer to continue to defy age and keep playing until at least the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

After Andy Murray's tearful admission last week that he would retire at Wimbledon - that's if his banged-up body let him go that far - discussion has turned to how long the other tour statesmen would continue to chase grand slam glory.

Federer, who turns 38 in August, will chase his 21st grand slam singles title at Melbourne Park and Courier said there was plenty more left in the Swiss great.

"He is pushing the boundaries for players age-wise playing at that level,'' the Channel Nine tennis commentator said.

"Roger has managed his schedule and his body and his life well and he loves playing and he is not burned out as well. 

"I certainly think he will be trying to at least make it to the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo."

Federer, the No.3 seed in Melbourne, will open his Australian Open campaign against Denis Istomin on Rod Laver Arena.

Courier said Federer's  Australian Open preparations had been faultless, but he still considered No.1 seed Novak Djokovic the man to beat.

"He (Federer) had a perfect build-up again, a wonderful Hopman Cup for him where he got through some good match-play,'' Courier said.

FOLLOW ALL THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY 1 ACTION IN THE BLOG BELOW

"So he is perfectly positioned again, which is great. Roger looks like he is in good form, but Novak is the man of the hour right now, he has won the last two majors and is certainly the man to beat from that end.

"(Djokovic) is the favourite. His draw can be a little tricky, but he certainly is the favourite.''

However, Courier did not have quite as much confidence about the prospects of top women's seed, Simona Halep.

Simona Halep training before the Australian Open.
Simona Halep training before the Australian Open.

"Simona had a tough end of the year last year with some back problems, she's not working with Darren Cahill any longer so she is coachless and doesn't have a lot of match play behind her coming into this tournament,'' Courier said.

"She has a very tough draw. She is going to potentially get through both Williams sisters if she wants to even get into the second week of this tournament. Her draw has not been kind to her, but she is certainly capable of fighting the good fight.''

DAY 1 SCHEDULE

ROD LAVER ARENA - Day session

From 11:00am AEDT

M. Sharapova (30) v H. Dart (Q)

J. Duckworth (WC) v R. Nadal (2)

P. Hercog v A. Kerber (2)

Night session

From 7:00pm AEDT

A. Van Uytvanck v C. Wozniacki (3)

D. Istomin v R. Federer (3)

MARGARET COURT ARENA - Day session

From 11:00am AEDT

J. Goerges (14) v D. Collins

S. Stephens (5) v T. Townsend

Not before 3:00pm AEDT

A. de Minaur (27) v P. Sousa

Night session

From 7:00pm AEDT

A. Barty (15) v L. Kumkhum

M. Cilic (6) v B. Tomic

MELBOURNE ARENA

From 11:00am AEDT

K. Anderson (5) v A. Mannarino

M. Sakkari v J. Ostapenko (22)

K. Edmund (13) v T. Berdych

Not before 6:00pm AEDT

R. Bautista Agut (22) v A. Murray

Not before 7:00pm AEDT

P. Kvitova (8) v M. Rybarikova

1573 ARENA

From 11:00am AEDT

J. Ponchet (Q) v C. Garcia (19)

G. Dimitrov (20) v J. Tipsarevic

A. Riske v K. Bertens (9)

Not before 5:00pm AEDT

M. Ebden v J. Struff

Court 3

From 11:00am AEDT

A. Kalinskaya (Q) v A. Sabalenka (11)

S. Tsitsipas (14) v M. Berrettini

E. Perez (WC) v Y. Wang

F. Lopez v J. Thompson

COURT 5

From 11:00am AEDT

C. Eubanks (Q) v N. Basilashvili (19)

M. Puig v A. Pavlyuchenkova

Y. Putintseva v B. Strycova (32)

I. Begu v A. Petkovic

COURT 7

From 11:00am AEDT

A. Sharma (Q) v P. Hon (WC)

P. Badosa Gibert (Q) v K. Birrell (WC)

P. Gojowczyk v K. Khachanov (10)

F. Delbonis v J. Millman

COURT 8

From 11:00am AEDT

D. Vekic (29) v K. Mladenovic

B. Mattek-Sands v Z. Hives (WC)

R. Opelka v J. Isner (9)

G. Monfils (30) v D. Dzumhur

COURT 10

From 11:00am AEDT

M. Mmoh v R. Albot

O. Jabeur v T. Babos

A. Rublev v M. McDonald

COURT 12

From 11:00am AEDT

K. Boulter v E. Makarova

B. Haddad Maia (Q)  v B. Pera

M. Basic v H. Laaksonen (Q)

Not before 5:00pm AEDT

C. Norrie v T. Fritz

COURT 13

From 11:00am AEDT

M. Kecmanovic (Q) v F. Verdasco (26)

J. Kubler (WC) v T. Fabbiano

B. Bencic v K. Siniakova

Not before 4:00pm AEDT

K. Flipkens  v A. Sasnovich

COURT 14

From 11:00am AEDT

H. Watson v P. Martic (31)

G. Garcia-Lopez v R. Haase

M. Polmans (WC) v D. Kudla

COURT 15

From 11:00am AEDT

S. Cirstea v R. Peterson

F. Tiafoe v P. Gunneswaran (Q)

A. Kontaveit (20) v S. Sorribes Tormo

Not before 5:00pm AEDT

A. Seppi v S. Johnson (31)

COURT 19

From 11:00am AEDT

Y. Bonaventure (Q) v S. Vickery

L. Tsurenko (24) v E. Alexandrova

T. Ito (Q) v D. Evans (Q)

Not before 5:00pm AEDT

Y. Nishioka v T. Sandgren

COURT 20

From 11:00am AEDT

M. Vondrousova v E. Rodina

P. Cuevas v D. Lajovic

R. Molleker (Q) v D. Schwartzman (18)

Not before 4:00pm AEDT

V. Lapko v J. Larsson

COURT 22

From 11:00am AEDT

S. Travaglia (Q) v G. Andreozzi

M. Niculescu v A. Anisimova

V. Troicki (Q) v R. Carballes Baena

News Corp Australia


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