Roger Federer still 'feels very young'

Singapore, Jan 5 (IANS) Swiss tennis great Roger Federer says he is still playing his best tennis and hopes to continue in the same vein for many years.

"I want to try and make this last as long as I can. I don't want to fizzle out," he told reporters in Singapore Friday during a stopover on his way to Melbourne for the Australian Open.

"People always tell me everything has to fade away eventually, but I'm not 89 years old yet, you know," he said. "I think longevity is the word here that I'm looking for."

The winner of a record 17 Grand Slams and father of twin girls is now World No.2 at the age of 32. He said that while he was still eager to win more titles, Xinhua reports.

Federer is going to the Australian Open without taking part in any warm-up tournament, but said that he has been practising very well.

"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," he said.

"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 won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2003, which he said was probably the best moment in his tennis career, and now he is still one of the most competitive players in the sport.

"I love the pressure of playing with a new generation coming up, who are, you know, improving quickly, and I have to work harder than them to stay at the top," he said.

He said it was a "surprise" that he managed to make it to travel around the world with his twin daughters.

His official website said that he wanted to play only 14 events in 2013 in order to stay healthy.

He also said that the strings and racquets used nowadays are different what used to be used some ten to twenty years earlier, making it possible to have "so much spin and so much angle."

The changes also make it more difficult for the players to come up to the net and have quick winners. Players usually have to have ten or fifteen great shots before they can make a winner.

"I think that's also one of the tricky reasons why there aren' t so many juniors coming through any more," he said, citing names such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and earlier, Marat Safin.

Nadal has decided to withdraw from the Australian Open because of worries over his weak knees.

"Obviously with Rafa not around it is unfortunate, we would love to see him back so we were all hoping he was going to come back, but it creates opportunities for many other players with one less guy who normally runs through 90 percent of the guys so it is an interesting Australian Open," he said.

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