Federer will commence his bid for the seventh Australian Open title on Monday against the World No. 81 Steve Johnson. The 38-year-old has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Johnson. Earlier, the American clinched a challenger tournament in Bendigo and reached the quarter-finals in the Canberra challenger last week.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion revealed that he has low expectations coming into the first Grand Slam of the season. He also explained that Johnson has played more matches in the past week and is match ready while he is not.
“Look, it’s exactly the tricky situation right now, playing somebody who has just played a lot this week. He’s ready to go. He’s match-ready and I’m not,” Federer told the reporters on Saturday.
“I got to really make sure I get out of the gates quick,” Federer added. “Practice has been going well. Had plenty of time to pace myself and do all the things I had to do to get ready. I hope it’s enough.”
“I know it’s a super long road to victory. That’s why I got to take it one match at a time. My expectations are quite low,” he concluded.
The Basel native clinched 4 ATP titles in 2019 including the Miami Masters with a 51-10 win-loss record. In his last match, Federer fell in the semifinals against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP World Tour Finals 2019.
Subsequently, he declined to play in the ATP Cup earlier in the month, opting instead to participate in a series of exhibition matches in China and spending more time with his family.