'Fairy tale' 2017 motivation for Federer

After making a convincing start to his Australian Open title defence, Roger Federer reflected on a remarkable 2017.

Roger Federer (centre) was interviewed by actor Will Ferrell after his first round match against Aljaz Bedene.   -  Getty Images

Roger Federer knows he faces a huge challenge to match last year's "fairy tale" after starting the first grand slam of 2018 with a dominant Australian Open victory over Aljaz Bedene.

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The Swiss maestro won 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena to kick off his title defence in style, hinting at a possible repeat of last season's remarkable exploits that saw him add Wimbledon success to his Melbourne triumph.

"I'm hoping for it to go well again," he said on court when asked about his hopes for the 12 months ahead. 

"I'm worried it won't be as good as last year, I'm a year older and guys are coming back. I can't control it all, it was a fairy tale.

"This year I want to stay healthy and give myself chances and see what happens at the end."

The 19-time grand slam champion overcame long-time rival Rafael Nadal in an "epic" five-set showdown in last year's final and he was happy to reflect on a memorable encounter.

"You always need two to tango and with Rafa last year it was epic," he said. 

"The stars aligned for us, it was something very special. Of course, I was thinking about it as it was my favourite tournament of the year by far.

"Being back in Melbourne is amazing and hopefully I can keep that going a bit longer."

Federer was also subjected to an apparently impromptu interview from comedy actor Will Ferrell, who asked if the tennis legend was "like a silky gazelle" or if he ate wombat meat.

The answer to both of those questions was "no".

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