BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer arrived Down Under on Saturday for the Brisbane International with a refreshed outlook for 2014, no injuries and a new coach on his team.
"It's the first time in a year that I could practice three, four weeks in a row without any setbacks ... I was able to do more than I thought which is very encouraging," Federer said of his offseason. "I didn't play any exhibitions which allowed me to train extremely hard and for a longer period of time."
Federer, who will use the Brisbane event as his only warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open which begins Jan. 13 in Melbourne, announced on Facebook on Friday that he'd added former No. 1 Stefan Edberg to his coaching team for at least 10 weeks.
Edberg, a six-time Grand Slam champion, including the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987, joins Federer's support team under head coach Severin Luthi.
Federer, the winner of a record 17 Grand Slams, finished 2013 ranked No. 6 after struggling with a bad back for much of the season.
"Every time I had training (in the past) I had setbacks, little aches and pains, especially in the back from time to time... which cost me confidence," Federer said. "These last few months have been important for me, feeling that movement is not an issue any more."
The Brisbane tournament is also a WTA event which includes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as its top draw cards. Next week, the ATP and WTA will again combine at the Sydney International.
Federer, who has a first-round bye, will face either Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth or Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.
Second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, No. 3 Gilles Simon of France and fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa also received byes into the second round, as did Williams and Victoria Azarenka in the women's draw.