Roger Federer has confirmed that he will begin his 2014 season by making his first appearance at the Brisbane International.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has not played an ATP-level tournament in Australia before the Australian Open since 2003, when he lost his opening match in Sydney. Since then, Federer has focused his preparation for the first major of the year in the Middle East or the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Melbourne.
Here's video from the tournament's announcement of Federer's commitment.
“For some time we’ve been in contact with Brisbane [International]," Federer said in a news release. "I saw how the tournament got stronger and stronger … and the connection with Pat Rafter, him having the arena named after him I think is great. I’ve always hoped that I could come there [to Brisbane] … so I am happy we are all able to make it work … I’m not just coming there [to Australia] for the Australian Open, especially when I commit so early in advance; it’s also to win in Brisbane." The Brisbane International will run from Dec. 29, 2013, to Jan. 5, 2014. Andy Murray is the two-time defending champion. Murray announced after Wimbledon that he would start his Australian Open preparations at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Novak Djokovic will also play the IMG-owned event, which is scheduled for Dec. 26-28. Federer played the event for three consecutive years before missing it last year after splitting with IMG.