Roger Federer insists his bid to win an 18th grand slam title in Sunday’s Australian Open final will not be hampered by injury.
Federer held off a thrilling fightback from Stan Wawrinka to win their semi-final 7-5 6-3 1-6 4-6 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena but had to call a medical time-out at the end of the fourth set.
The Swiss said afterwards he had been suffering from a minor problem with his upper leg in Melbourne and that it had caused him some discomfort against Wawrinka from the second game onwards.
Federer did not look too seriously troubled and he also has two full days to recover for the final, which is more time than is available to Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov, who played their semi-final earlier this morning.
Asked if the injury would affect him this weekend, Federer said: “If I had to say anything right now, no.
“The leg wasn’t better or worse in the fifth. I felt tightness throughout the match and I felt like it slowed me down.
“I just hoped that maybe having the physio work on it, that it would make me feel better but it didn’t. It’s not something I’m necessarily really worried about in any way.
“So that’s a good thing.”
Venus Williams admits she will be up against the fiercest competitor in the game when she faces her sister Serena in the Australian Open final.
Venus and Serena will meet for the 28th time tomorrow and in their ninth major final as the game’s most successful siblings do battle for the first grand slam title of the year.
The stakes are high for Serena, who stands just one win away from an Open era record 23rd grand slam title, moving her clear of Steffi Graf and one short of Margaret Court’s all-time best 24.
For Venus, however, the title match is her first at a major tournament in eight years and, at 36, makes her the oldest woman to reach a grand slam final since a 37-year-old Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.
Serena is the clear favourite, however. She has won seven of their last eight match-ups and has been ruthless so far in Melbourne, yet to drop a set and poised to claim her seventh Australian Open crown.
“When I’m playing on the court with her, I think I’m playing the best competitor in the game,” said Venus. “But I don’t think I’m chump change either. I can compete against any odds. No matter what.
“It won’t be an easy match. I know that it won’t be easy. You have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box. This opponent is your sister, and she’s super awesome. It’s wonderful.”