Federer pain-free and targeting slams... but he's never seen Star Wars

By Iain Strachan 22 December 2016 61
Federer pain-free and targeting slams... but he's never seen Star Wars

Roger Federer says he is playing without pain and still aiming to add to his haul of major wins as he prepares to return to competitive action in 2017.

The veteran Swiss saw his 2016 season curtailed by a knee injury that ruled him out of the Olympics and the US Open.

A winner of 17 grand slam singles titles, but none since Wimbledon in 2012, the 35-year-old used social media to broadcast a training session live on Thursday, with over 400,000 viewers watching him go through his paces, demonstrating the enduring popularity of the former world number one.

In a question-and-answer session after training, Federer revealed he feels back to his physical best as he prepares to play at the Hopman Cup in Perth next month.

"After [the Australian Open] we'll see how the knee is, the body is," he said.

"I'm just so excited to be playing again with no pain, enjoying myself. Rather than telling my fitness coach, 'I still feel my knee, I'm not sure', these things are long gone." 

Quizzed on his chances of capturing an 18th slam, he said: "I would love to promise you that one, but I can't. 

"There's a lot of great players right now and a lot of up-and-coming guys too. It's going to be tough, but I'll give it a chance."

While he remains one of the world's most famous and decorated athletes, Federer has work to do if he is to catch up on popular culture. 

Asked repeatedly about recently released science fiction blockbuster Rogue One, he let slip a startling revelation: "I have never seen any Star Wars film, don't hate me."

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Iain Strachan