Roger Federer landed in Perth, Australia, at 2:00am on Thursday, and with all of his matches sold out, he arranged for his first practice session on Perth Arena to be open to the public. The practice was also live streamed on Facebook Live by the Hopman Cup, and the Australian Open team joined in with live streaming on Twitter and Periscope too. Watch embedded Facebook Live video further below.
More than 6,000 fans packed Perth Arena, watching the Swiss maestro practice with Australian Matt Ebden. “It’s just good to get the first practice out of the way,” Federer said in a question and answer session with Tournament Director Paul Kilderry afterwards.
“Ever since I took the tough decision not to go to the Olympics, the US Open, all the other tournaments this year, I took time for the leg obviously but much more time for the family and we could do some fun things,” he explained.
“And then I just really got stuck into it. Practice this last six weeks has been really difficult, very challenging but I was always very positive and I enjoyed myself…I had a great team around me that always supported me throughout and I think the fans as well have always been there for me and they made things actually much less painful.”
“I never had a bad week in this country. You guys know how to create events, you have beautiful volunteers and knowledgeable fans, which makes it so nice to play here,” said Federer, who also pointed to the profound influence that Australian coaches Peter Carter and Tony Roche had in his career.
Federer has competed twice at Mastercard Hopman Cup, teaming with Martina Hingis to deliver Switzerland with the 2001 title and returning to compete with Mirka Vavrinec (now his wife) the following year. He will team up with Belinda Bencic at Hopman Cup 2017.