Federer at odds with bookie pick of Murray

January 13th, 2009 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererMelbourne, Jan 13 (DPA) Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open tennis tune-up Wednesday at the AAMI Classic, ignoring bookmaker chatter that his Grand Slam title hopes are under siege from newcomer Andy Murray.The Swiss takes on old foe Carlos Moya in the eight-man event which runs through Saturday, providing the field with top practise for the Open which begins Monday.

The fact that Murray and Federer are tipped at an equal $3.50 ($1 earns $3.50 back) to win the Open by Australian oddsmakers took the Swiss by surprise.

But Federer feels that kind of information is more of a distraction than an actual threat as he bids to win a fourth trophy at Melbourne Park.

“He’s playing well and finished well last year. But I’m surprised that the bookies say he’s the favourite,” he said of world number four Murray, whom he beat four months ago in the US Open final.

“He’s never won a slam, it’s surprising to hear.”

“Andy (has) shown for a year that’s he’s knocking on the door,” said Federer, who stand 2-5 against the Scot. “He’s playing with good confidence.

“But winning a slam is a different animal, not many guys have been able to do it. Rafa and I have taken a lot of them. They don’t come easy, but he has a chance like many other players.”

Federer arrived in Melbourne Monday from the Gulf, where he lost the Doha semi-final to Murray, who successfully defended his title from 2008 during the first week of the year.

Compared to a year ago, when he missed the event at Kooyong club due to illness, Federer said he feels on top form.

“I’m really happy coming Down Under. I love playing here. I’ve always been very successful, said the winner of two of the last three Opens.

“I’m coming off of winning the US Open, the last Slam of the year. I hope to carry that form into the first one of this year.

“But it’s a new year and you never know what’s going to happen. Many guys want to do the same thing I want to do.”

In other matches Wednesday, Marcos Baghdatis plays Federer’s Swiss Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, Croatian Marin Cilic takes on Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Ivan Ljubicic faces Fernando Gonzalez.

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