Roger Federer fires Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic warning at Australian Open

Roger Federer is not concerned by how easy he is finding the early rounds of the Australian Open. Instead, the 38-year-old feels it will provide him with an advantage in the later stages, when he can meet his two biggest rivals – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Federer has barely shifted out of second gear during his opening wins against Steve Johnson and Filip Krajinovic.

The Swiss star cannot play a seeded player until the quarter-finals after a host of top-32 players suffered surprise defeats on Wednesday.

It means the 38-year-old has a relatively clear run to the semi-finals, where world No 2 Djokovic could await.

And the 20-time Grand Slam winner claims he favours an easy run-in over a difficult one.

“I prefer this much more than overcooked,” Federer said.

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“As easy as it looks, there’s always the effort, trying to extend the lead. Of course, it’s not quite the same stress level if you’re down a set or a break or two sets, whatever it may be.

“I prefer it this way because you have always extra left in the tank if you need it.”

During his on-court interview after beating Krajinovic, Federer expressed sorry for the Serbian, who had to play a grueling five-set clash the previous day.7

However, the world No 3 had the day off because his first-round match beat Monday’s rain thanks to the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

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And Federer extended his sympathies to Krajinovic in his press conference.

He added: “Maybe little bit down the stretch. But first I’ve got to get there. I also think maybe for me the first two rounds ended up playing out good, with Steve Johnson playing a similar game to me, but having less options I guess at the end of the day. Then also Krajinovic today also was a bit tired.

“Also when I do play well against him, I can control things pretty well.

“I feel if I play tactically well, and I’m very strict on how I need to play, this can happen.”

Federer takes on Australian home favourite John Millman in the fourth round on Friday – a match he knows is a potential banana skin after losing to the 30-year-old at the 2018 US Open.

“I think the next match is really going to be a test for me because John is going to be there,” Federer said. “He’s fit like a fiddle.

“I’ve lost to him in the past in a best-of-five set match. I almost lost to him in Brisbane, as well, the first time I played against him.

“He’s from this country, so naturally also it’s going to be different intensity. I think this is going to be a good test for me.”

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