Federer eager to start 2016 season with Brisbane title defence

Roger Federer will make his debut under new coaching advisor Ivan Ljubicic next week after arriving in Queensland on Saturday to begin his 2016 season at the Brisbane International.

The 34-year-old Swiss is playing the event for the third consecutive year and defending the title he won last January over Milos Raonic.

Federer's new mentor Ljubicic, an ATP player until 2012, guided Raonic before parting ways just weeks ago to join the Swiss team alongside Severin Luthi, Federer's main coach.

Federer is closing in on becoming the first 100-million-dollar man in tennis and could nudge closer to the mark with a repeat title at the Pat Rafter arena.

Winning the Australian Open which start January 18th would put him to the top of the massive money tree.

Federer has so far earned 97,303,556 dollars on court in his glittering career, according to the ATP.

But the chance to win more titles is what drives the tennis master at age 34 after collecting six trophies in 2015.

“I’ve been playing really well for over one and a half years – ever since I came back from my back problems in 2013," he told local media on Saturday after a dawn arrival and prior to his first afternoon hit on the tournament courts.

"It's been very encouraging, I’m just more confident than I was maybe a year ago as well."

The third-ranked winner of a record 17 career grand slam singles titles still entertains hopes of landing an 18th even as rival Novak Djokovic works to dominate 2016 as he did in 2015 - winning three of the four majors and 11 titles overall.

"It was Novak’s year, he played so well there’s only so much (you can do) if somebody’s so dominant and he’s got sky-high confidence. It’s unfortunate, a pity for me, but at the same time I don’t feel sorry for myself.

"I’ve won so much throughout my career, I feel like if I keep pushing forward it might happen.If not, it’s OK.”

Federer begins Brisbane with a bye and could start in the second round against Australian Ben Mitchell if the wild card beats a qualifier. Japan's Kei Nishikori is seeded second ahead of Marin Cilic and Raonic on fourth.

Simona Halep heads the women's WTA field ahead of Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza and holder Maria Sharapova.                   

Last update: Sat, 02/01/2016 - 14:55
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