Roger Federer begins his Australian Open campaign on Monday against a man he is yet to drop a set against.
The Swiss 20-time grand slam champion decided against playing a lead-up tournament ahead of the year’s first major, where he faces Steve Johnson.
Despite the lack of competitive matches, it would still take a monumental upset to send Federer packing in the opening round.
We take a closer look at where the six-time champion in Melbourne is at ahead of the first round.
Form and results
Federer has been out of competitive action since the ATP Finals in November, when he suffered a semi-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 38-year-old did edge Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (8-6) in an exhibition set at the ‘Rally for Relief’ event on Wednesday.
In contrast, his first-round opponent, Johnson, is coming off a Challenger Tour title win in Bendigo. A former world number 21, the American almost dropped out of the top 100 last year, but already has seven wins at Challenger level in 2020. Federer holds a 2-0 head-to-head record over Johnson, but was pushed to two tie-break sets in their last meeting at Indian Wells in 2017. Federer’s last first-round loss at a major was at the 2003 French Open, while he is 20-0 in the Australian Open first round.
Federer is in the bottom half of the draw and will face either Filip Krajinovic or qualifier Quentin Halys if he gets past Johnson. If results go by ranking, Hubert Hurkacz will await in the third round.
What he said
“I’m excited to play Steve. He’s a good guy. I think with his old-school playing – big forehand, slice backhand, good serve – I think it’s going to be a nice match for me, as well.”