Roger Federer says Andy Murray's retirement will hit top players hard

Laura Robson and Andy Murray London 2012

For Roger Federer, it's a well-worn experience.

Stranded on 17 slams for nearly five years before his extraordinary renaissance in 2017, Federer always believed Djokovic would cool after his white-hot run and give him another grand slam look-in.

Zverev, 21, starts the Australian Open full of confidence after an impressive warm-up to reach the final of Perth's mixed teams Hopman Cup, despite his awful record at Grand Slams.

Novak Djokovic knows there's a chance he may not have played his opening match at the Australian Open before Andy Murray is out of the tournament. Then there's a resurgent Rafael Nadal, the likes of Cilic and Sasha Zverev.

He then emotionally revealed that he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but admitted the Australian Open may be his last event because the constant pain was so bad. He's targeting retirement at Wimbledon, if he can go that far. "It's just now that it's definite", he added, acknowledging the era of the "Big Four" - himself, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray - was drawing to a close.

Current British number one tennis star Kyle Edmund said: 'For me he's been my biggest role model out of any tennis player. "Maybe it just looks that way".

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"And, obviously, with the nature of the injury, there are a lot of people who have felt this was going to happen at some stage".

But I also hope Osaka conquers second season syndrome and wins another slam tournament in which she can be properly feted and grows into the kind of player who can overcome everything - everything - Serena Williams can throw at her.

Dunblane Primary School pupil Gregor Wood said he was shocked to hear of Sir Andy's plans to leave the game this year due to ongoing injury, but the youngster already has high hopes for what the tennis ace might do next.

"It's sad for me, but for all sport, because Andy is a very respected and likable guy around the locker room", Djokovic said. "We like him. He's a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend", Federer said. She plays unseeded German Tatjana Maria in her first round match on Tuesday (Jan 15).

When praised by a reporter as being the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals, Murray drily responded, "I think Venus and Serena have won about four each".

By contrast, the 31-year-old Djokovic endured a miserable early Melbourne exit in 2018, followed by elbow surgery and a string of disappointing results that saw him drop outside the top 20. "When I hung out with him, he was amusing". He can play well in fast courts. Even if a lot of days you go on court when you have troubles or you go to the gym without having a real goal or without knowing why I am going there, because I don't see a benefit ... you keep going. I'm confident that I think it needs a good performance by my opponent probably to beat me. "I think my first practice was on Rod Laver, and it was just nice". He said, "I didn't realize that Amelie would find herself up against such criticism and prejudice...."

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