19 Jan 2009

Federer confident ahead of Australian Open

12:17 pm on 19 January 2009

Roger Federer's talking up his chances of winning the Australian Open, the first grand slam tennis tournament of the year.

He's the favourite with the TAB to equal Pete Sampras's record of 14 slams, after easily winning the Kooyong warm-up event in straight sets against compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka on Saturday.

And he's been playing while his main competition, the world number one and top seed Rafael Nadal and number four Andy Murray haven't.

They've been in Melbourne practicising, but haven't played any competitive matches ahead of Melbourne while the number three Novak Djokovic has been playing but losing.

Federer says match practice is vital.

The Scot Murray has been installed as favourite by many overseas bookies after wins over Federer and Nadal already this year.

Seeded second this year behind Nadal, Federer opens his campaign against Italy's Andreas Seppi on Monday night.

Nadal starts against Belgium's Christophe Rochus on Tuesday while Murray faces Romania's Andrei Pavel.