Fed takes low-profile approach

11 January 2017 08:02:13 EST

Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer has played down his expectation levels as he prepares for his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon.

The 35-year-old Swiss maestro was forced to miss the second half of last season due to knee problems, but returned to the court at the recent Hopman Cup and is now getting ready for the action in Melbourne.

I'm keeping expectations low just because of the very little I've played.

Roger Federer

Federer has dropped out of the top 16 in the world as a result of his absence, meaning he could face a tough draw at Albert Park, but the 17-time major winner appears to be in good heart, while being wary of making any predictions.

He told reporters: "I'm very excited to be back. The six months were a long time, but then if you look at it as in a 20-year career, six months all of a sudden appears like very little.

"I feel rejuvenated and I have more energy. So that's what is exciting about what's to come now.

"I need five or six good tournaments to get an opinion of how strong I'm going to be. I'm keeping expectations low just because of the very little I've played.

"Playing matches is a completely different animal to practising, but I hope after the first three months I'll have a great opportunity to prepare for Wimbledon and the US Open."

Federer has reached at least the semi-finals at the Australian Open in 12 of the last 13 years, with his lone failure coming in 2015, when he was beaten in the third round by Andreas Seppi.

The Swiss is available at 20/1 to triumph in Melbourne for a fifth time, with defending champion Novak Djokovic 13/8 and 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka 12/1.

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