• Australian Open

Pain-free Federer ready for Nadal test

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer is looking to win the Australian Open for a fifth time © Getty Images
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A rejuvenated Roger Federer has revealed he is looking forward to facing world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Friday, and confirmed he has recovered from his back injury.

Federer defeated Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in four sets to reach his 11th consecutive semi-final at the event, and the four-time champion believes his new approach to 2014 can help him overcome his old foe Nadal.

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Six-time major winner Stefan Edberg joined Federer's team as his coach at the start of the year, and Federer has also been playing with a new, larger racquet head - one which he briefly tested out during the middle part of last season.

And Federer hopes the influence of Edberg will enable him to beat the French and US Open champion Nadal and reach the final.

"I'm looking forward to speaking to Stefan [Edberg]. When he came to Dubai [last month] and we spoke about the game, we spoke about playing Rafa as well," the record 17-time Grand Slam champion said.

"He thought he had some good ideas, so I'm looking forward to what he has to say. Severin [Luthi, coach] knows him inside out. I'm looking forward to hearing what the boys have to say."

Federer and Nadal will meet for the 33rd time on Friday, with Nadal winning 22 of the encounters, including the last four which all occurred during 2013, with Federer suffering from back trouble and only lifting one trophy (Halle).

But Federer said during the ATP World Tour Finals last November that he was playing injury-free, and has once again confirmed he is over the problem which hampered him for the majority of the season.

"I definitely sensed that [against Murray] I am back physically," Federer said. "I'm explosive out there. I can get to balls and I'm not afraid to go for them. Of course, last year at times I couldn't do it, but the important thing is that I can do it now. I'm looking forward to the next match."

Federer last tasted Grand Slam success in 2012 when he beat Murray in the final of Wimbledon, and he continues to dream of winning an 18th Down Under.

"Who knows? He's been tough to play against, no doubt. I'm happy I get a chance to play him in a Slam again. I don't remember the last time we played. The head-to-head record is in his favour. For me, it's a dream run, and I hope I can keep it up against Rafa," he said.

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