Federer welcomes new faces in Australian Open semis
London :Defending champion Roger Federer welcomed the emergence of new challengers, after several unseeded players made the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The Swiss 19-time Grand Slam champion will face 21-year-old South Korean Chung Hyeon in one semi-final, while 23-year-old Briton Kyle Edmund will take on former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the other.
The last time so many unfamiliar faces reached the last four in Melbourne was in 1999 when Tommy Haas, Thomas Enqvist and Niclas Lapenti made the semis.
I think it’s a good thing. They got to make a move. I find it disappointing when their breakthroughs come at 27, because then we know them for seven years, let’s say,” 36-year-old Federer told reporters after beating Tomas Berdych on Wednesday.
“I like it when we don’t know the guys. I hardly know Chung. I’ve hardly spoken to him. I had one Nike appearance once with Edmund over in London. That’s about it.”
Federer expects the men’s game to become more unpredictable with a change back to 16 seeds, rather than 32, in Slams.
“We like our rivalries that do exist on the tour. New names are good, from time to time, of course for the tour. I think next year when we’ll have 16 seeds, it’s going to be quite different,” said Federer, who has reached his 43rd Grand Slam semi-final and is favourite to win a 20th major.
“It’s nice to go back to that. I do believe in some ways it’s going to open some draws, it’s going to be some really tough ones from the get-go, which I think is a good thing.
“Those first weeks sometimes have become really dull.”