In his first match under new coach Ivan Ljubicic, defending champion Roger Federer had no troubles in his 2016 opener, crushing Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-1 at Brisbane last night.
“When Ivan got available towards the end of the season, that’s when I called him up,” Federer said. “I thought he could be someone very interesting and exciting for my game, for my team. He could match well. He knows everybody. He is also a dad. He still plays very well. He’s played against most of my opponents. He’s played me a bunch and knows my game very well. He’s now also been a coach for a couple years, which I thought was important. He’s done very well with Milos, so very excited he’s on the team. Today was our first win together, so that was nice as well.”
And afterward, Federer confirmed the rumors that he’s been battling a sickness all week.
“I was going to take Monday off and then on Tuesday I was going to hit in the afternoon but I didn’t feel so well. So I said, ‘let’s wait it out’. Then didn’t feel good at all on the Tuesday,” Federer said.
“On the Wednesday I started to feel a little bit better, so I asked the tournament if they could move it for a Thursday start, which I know they can do very easily, which was helpful.
“So started to feel a little bit better. That’s why I came out yesterday for a hit, just to see how things are. I was happy. I felt somewhat okay. There was no need to push it at all. I am not somebody that needs to play much before matches.
“I’m quite surprised that it went so well today.”
Federer moves on to face Grigor Dimitrov on Friday. He’s never lost to the Bulgarian including a win a year ago in the semifinals.
“Tomorrow is going to be tougher,” Federer said about Dimitrov. “It’s earlier in the tournament. Okay, maybe just one round earlier. In practice, in December, it’s been great. I have been hitting the ball well. I am where I want to be. Then again, tomorrow we’ll see. Grigor’s had a tough grind today, but he’s extremely match tough. I expect him to be fresh again tomorrow. I played him quite aggressive last year and that worked well.”
Dimitrov came back to beat Viktor Troicki. Milos Raonic also was a winner.
FRIDAY BRISBANE SCHEDULE
PAT RAFTER ARENA start 11:00 am
ATP – L. Pouille (FRA) vs  M. Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP –  B. Tomic (AUS) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA –  A. Kerber (GER) vs  C. Suarez Navarro (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  R. Federer (SUI) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [Q] S. Crawford (USA)
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