Sunday, February 23, 2020
Travel

Australian Open schedule 'helps' Roger Federer in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic battle

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Roger Federer is gearing up to play his third consecutive night match at the Australian Open and Martina Navratilova thinks that benefits the Swiss star.

Not competing in the blaring midday sun is an obvious advantage any player would love to receive in Melbourne.

And world No 3 Federer, besides his opening day win over Steve Johnson, has been closing the play on Rod Laver Arena as he attempts to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to the title.

That means Djokovic has had to settle for three day matches in a row, while Nadal also took on Pablo Carreno Busta at 2pm on Saturday.

Navratilova thinks the schedule brings various advantages to Federer – although the conditions may not be entirely favourable to the 38-year-old.

“Playing at night, at least he is on the same schedule, that helps so you get into a routine,” Navratilova told the Tennis Channel.

“But the playing conditions are not favouring him.

“The last three years Roger was laughing all the way as it was playing much faster.

“But they have slowed it down again and the balls fluff up so they are fast first.”

Federer has admitted that he feels the Australian hard courts are not as quick as they used to be.

“I think balls play fast when they are new, a ball change for a couple of games, depending on who you play, how long the rallies are right then,” he said.

“But the balls fluff up extremely quickly here when you do get into long rallies. And I feel night sessions or indoor or on a cool day like what we will see in the next week, actually play quite slow. It is what it is, you know.

“But I think it depends on how you play maybe also and how you manage your game and what kind of opponent you have, for all sorts of playing styles, I guess.”

Federer headlines Sunday’s schedule with his fourth-round clash against Marton Fucsovics.

And there are some concerns he may be feeling the effects of Friday’s epic five-set win over John Millman.

“As you get older everything takes longer to recover, both physically and emotionally,” Navratilova said.

“He had to play well to win that match, it’s not like he scraped through and was like ‘oh well I have to play better’, I’m not sure how much better he can play.

“He only has so much energy and he used a lot of it in that match. We will see if he can bounce back.”

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