Roger Federer begins his title defence on Day 2 of the Australian Open, playing Aljaz Bedene on Rod Laver Arena. The Swiss is seen as the favourite to win the tournament after his performances last year and doing so would make it 6 in Melbourne, matching the record of Novak Djokovic. Bedene, who represented Great Britain in the past, is now back under the Slovenian flag after his failed attempts to secure Davis Cup eligibility.
Federer was on a 13 match winning streak before losing his last match of the year at the ATP Finals, a major shock when it seemed the tournament was set up for him to win after an earlier Rafael Nadal withdrawal. It meant he remained further away from the World No.1 spot coming into Melbourne with 2000 points to defend. Federer is playing down his chances and surprisingly suggested he is not 100% coming into the tournament despite looking in fine shape in winning the Hopman Cup with Belinda Bencic.
“I’m not at 100 per cent, but you never know in a week’s time what’s going to be happening” he said. ““With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament, it should not be the case.” he added.
Bedene began 2018 with a 1-2 record, losing to Dominic Thiem and Benoit Paire in Doha and Sydney respectively The Slovenian has been a first round loser in Australia 5 years running and has managed to draw the worst possible opponent when it comes to his chances of breaking that losing streak. They have not played before but it would be a surprise were he to pick up a set, never mind get close to winning.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets