BEIJING, Jan. 14 -- World No. 2 Roger Federer reacted
with surprise on Tuesday when asked what he thought about the bookmakers making
British No. 1 Andy Murray a favorite for next week's Australian Open.
Roger Federer of Switzerland serves the
ball to Andy Murray of Britain during their match at the Capitala World
Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi Jan. 2, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters
"He's the favorite?" Federer asked reporters at the
Kooyong Classic Tuesday. "Good for him. It won't help him a whole lot," the
smiling Swiss added.
Murray, who lost the US Open final to Federer last
year, is the in-form player, having beaten Federer and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal
to install himself as one of the short-priced tips for Melbourne Park.
Federer, however, was quick to point out being the
bookmakers' favorite did not necessarily translate into success. "I've been in
that position before and didn't make it," the 13-time grand slam winner added.
"It surprises me that the bookies would say that
because he hasn't won a slam. Novak (Djokovic) won here last year. Rafa (Rafael
Nadal) had an incredible season last year.
"I won the last slam of last season so it is
surprising to hear."
Andy Murray of Britain serves the ball
to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their match at the Capitala World
Tennis championship in Abu Dhabi Jan. 2, 2009. World No. 4 Andy Murray
dominated Roger Federer again, beating the 13-time Grand Slam title winner
4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6) Friday in the semifinals of the Capitala World Tennis
Federer did, however, admit that Murray, who has a
favorable 5-2 record against him and is now ranked fourth in the world, had
improved dramatically in the past 12 months.
"I think he has shown for a year now he has been
knocking on the door to make his move.
"I just think he got used to playing at a high level
consistently. Before he was very up and down.
"He has played excellent. He's a good all-round
player, has good tactics and has become very confident.
"He has put himself into a winning position, but
winning a grand slam is a different animal. Not many guys have been able to win
grand slams in the last few years."
Federer missed the tournament last year with
glandular fever, an illness that affected his form for much of the first half of
last year. He lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open to eventual champion
Djokovic and also ceded the No. 1 ranking that he had held for a record 237
weeks to Nadal last August.
A back injury also restricted his performances but he
still won his fifth successive US Open at Flushing Meadows.
"I'm feeling really good," the 27-year-old Swiss
said. "I was feeling quite bad here last year, which is why I couldn't play.
It's why I'm really happy to be part of it this year. It's a great tournament
and I love playing here because it is great preparation for me for the
(Source: Shanghai Daily/Agencies)