Roger Federer believes he can win the Australian Open next month at the ripe old age of 32 to chalk up an incredible 18th grand slam title.
His critics have been quick to write him off, but Roger Federer is adamant he can win the Australian Open to claim a magical 18th grand slam crown.
Federer has fallen to No.6 in the world and won just one grand slam title from his past 15 attempts – after accruing an incredible 16 during the most dominant six-year reign in tennis history from 2004-10.
Father time is also catching up with Federer, with the men’s all-time grand-slam record holder turning 33 in 2014.
Yet the Swiss master earnestly believes he can land a fifth Open title at Melbourne Park next month to join fellow sporting immortals Jack Nicklaus and Michael Phelps in the record books.
Nicklaus won an unmatched 18 golf majors during his career, while superfish Phelps has 18 Olympic swimming gold medals to his credit.
Despite being overtaken by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the rankings, Federer believes he’s a better player now than ever and that he can challenge the big three in Melbourne.
“I’ve always believed that I’ve improved over the last 10 years, that I’ve not gone backwards,” Federer said on Friday.
“I’ve been able to win it 10 years ago so I always feel that, as I move forward, I am a more complete player, a better player.
“That’s why I always believe that I can win if my body’s holding up and mentally I’m really hungry travelling the world and playing matches.
“And that is the case right now. I’m really healthy, I’m training extremely hard the last six weeks and I had some success coming back at the end of (the) year.
“That was quite important for me and for my confidence because I was really in a difficult spot from Wimbledon all the way til Basel, I’d say, with just finding my confidence.”
Federer’s remarkable run of 34 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances came to a shuddering halt at Wimbledon, where he lost in the second round to world No.116 Sergiy Stakhovsky.
A back injury hindered him for several months as he also suffered shocking defeats to world No.114 Federico Delbonis and the 55th-ranked Daniel Brands.
But the former No.1 rediscovered his mojo late in the season to make the semi-finals of the World Tour finals.
Federer has opted to launch his season in Australia at the Brisbane International for the first time and is confident he’ll be hitting his straps come the Australian Open starting on January 13.
“Moving along on to Melbourne, I really hope to be playing my absolute best, which I really think is possible,” he said.
“Then anything is possible for me. I really believe that.
“It’s just important that I play better against the top guys. I’ve not been bad this year. I just didn’t land enough wins and that’s something I want to improve for this year.”