TENNIS: Content to be cast in the underdog role, grand slam record holder and current world No.17 Roger Federer is glad simply to be back at the Australian Open.
The four-time champion has only once failed to reach at least the semi-finals since 2003, but his 2017 campaign has been compromised by limited match play after recovering from knee injuries.
After three Hopman Cup matches, Federer is uncertain of how far he can improve his 80-13 Melbourne Park history.
"I prefer to be the favourite (but) underdog is okay,” the winner of 18 singles majors said.
"It's fine. As long as I'm healthy and I feel like I can go four, five sets, I can go many matches in a row, then I think it's going to be fun.
"If I feel like I'm in pain in the matches, then obviously it's no fun.
"But it's a great draw because I'm in the draw. So for me I'm super pleased that I made it here, that I have an opportunity to win matches.”
Federer, whose ranking is its lowest since 2001, hurt his knee in an off-court accident in Melbourne in January and aggravated it during a Wimbledon tumble in July.
"Twelve months ago I was always going to come back because my knee wasn't so bad, so I never thought to miss the Australian Open a year later,” he said.
"But, of course, after Wimbledon, the race was on for Australia really, trying to make it for here.
"Yeah, was an interesting last six months, to say the least.”