Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Sydney International champion Bernard Tomic has fired back at Roger Federer ahead of a prospective Australian Open third-round clash with the world No.2.

Federer intimated the 20-year-old Australian shouldn't be looking too far ahead in the men's singles draw in Melbourne, despite many tipping the pair to face off in the round-of-32.

But fresh from winning his maiden ATP Tour title in Sydney, Tomic said the Swiss maestro should also watch his own back to make it deep into the first week.

"Well, if he (Federer) gets that far," Tomic responded when asked if he believed he could beat the 17-time major winner.

"The first round is my goal, to beat this guy (first-round opponent Leonardo Mayer). I do struggle against some guys out there. I don't know how this guy can play. If the possibility comes for me to win that first match, I'll look for my next round, which is also tough.

"I would love to get in that position to play Roger in the third round. He has to get there as well. You don't know what can happen. Tennis is a funny sport. So we'll see."

Despite being cautious at facing Argentine Mayer on Tuesday, Tomic added that taking on the world No.72 - who has failed to win a main-draw match in Melbourne in three attempts - would be a positive experience.

"I think it's good I haven't played him or hit with him," Tomic said of Mayer.

"It can be a difficult match. It's not easy playing the first round of a grand slam. Everyone is ready to go for the first slam, so you don't know what to expect.

"I've got to come out there and play the tennis I've been playing the last few weeks, then I give myself the best chance to win."

And despite getting a few local fans on side with his tournament win in the Harbour City and an unbeaten singles run at the Hopman Cup in Perth earlier in January, Tomic said Melbourne was his top priority this season.

"This is our first grand slam. This is where you want to do the best. I want to do as best as I can for this tournament, so I'm going to be ready on Tuesday. I'm going to keep going and try to win as many matches as I can," he said.

"Obviously I'm really confident. I haven't lost a match yet (in 2013).

"It's a good opportunity to use something like that and I'm going to use it."


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