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Federer Changes Australian Open Preparation by Playing Brisbane

Tennis Player Roger Federer
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a forehand during his Semi Final match against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during the International German Open at Rothenbaum in Hamburg on July 20, 2013. Photographer: Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Roger Federer will tune-up for his bid to win a fifth Australian Open tennis title by playing the Brisbane International for the first time.

Federer, the winner of a record 17 men’s Grand Slam singles championships, will start his 2014 season at the Dec. 29-Jan. 5 event, tournament organizers said today. The Australian Open starts Jan. 13.

It’s the first time since 2003 that Switzerland’s Federer, 31, has played an official tour event in Australia before the season-opening major at Melbourne Park, where he’s reached at least the semifinals in the past 10 editions.

Federer’s record run of 36 straight Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances ended last month with a second-round upset loss at Wimbledon to Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine. His current ATP ranking of No. 5 is his lowest in a decade.

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