Roger Federer, likely to be the second seed in Melbourne, eyes his fifth Australian Open title. (Wong Maye-E/AP)
We're just 10 days away from the start of the Australian Open, and while the bulk of the ATP are fine-tuning across three continents this week, one name has been missing from every tournament entry list: Roger Federer.
As part of his decision to scale down his schedule, Federer skipped warm-up events, staying home with his family and practicing. This marks only the second time in Federer's career that he'll go into the Australian Open with zero match play, having played varying combinations of Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kooyong, Sydney or Adelaide every year except in 2008, the year in which he was subsequently diagnosed with mono. As Reuters reports, Federer isn't too concerned about the change.
"It's a bit of a different preparation for the Australian Open this year but I'm confident I am mentally refreshed, which I am, and physically I am fine and that I will play a good Australian Open," Federer told reporters in Singapore on Friday.
"I have been practising really hard the last few weeks and didn't play a leading up tournament this year just because I thought practice is very important for me coming up in the next year, year-and-a-half."
Federer says the change in philosophy is about taking a needed mental break from a grueling 2012, as well as looking to the future. Federer, 31, is looking to protect his health and longevity. He's already said he wants to play in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
"For me, in the long run, I want to stay healthy and enjoy what I am doing, I want to have fun, I want to be excited and motivated coming back to the Tour," he explained.
"For that I really need to get away from it all, which I have done for the last two or three weeks now after an incredible busy South American trip and an incredible busy year so it is important for me to have the family time."