Stefanos Tsitsipas described himself as "living the dream" after knocking out Roger Federer to book an ATP Finals showpiece against Dominic Thiem.

Greek star Tsitsipas ousted Federer 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final of the season-ending event to reach the biggest final of his career.

Tsitsipas has had an up-and-down year which started with a run to the last four of the Australian Open and was followed by a mid-season slump, but he appears to be keeping his best until last.

The 21-year-old saved 11 of Federer's 12 break points on Saturday and explained beating the 20-time grand slam champion, who he watched winning major tournaments growing up, was difficult to comprehend.

"I grew up watching Roger here at the ATP Finals and Wimbledon and other finals," said Tsitsipas, who also beat Federer in the last 16 of the Australian Open.

"I wished one day I could face him and now I'm here living the dream.

"I remember myself being one of the kids here watching the event and I could never picture myself here. But it can happen.

"This victory is probably one of my best moments of the season. These are the moments I live for.

"This does feel, in a way, like a grand slam, because all eyes are here. Everyone knows this event. Everyone who watches tennis knows what the ATP Finals are.

"For me, it's a great new start, great new beginning to be here, playing in the Finals. It's really very difficult to be in that position I am in right now and it counts a lot."

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, was in attendance for the match and greeted Tsitsipas afterwards, highlighting the magnitude of his triumph.

"I'm really glad I played well, stayed calm," Tsitsipas said.

"It's a great moment not just for me, for everyone else, my country, my team. I'm proud of myself, how hard I fought, how concentrated I stayed in the break points. 

"I didn't crack under pressure. I was very composed and very mature in my decisions."

Tsitsipas and Thiem have met on six occasions over the last two years.

Thiem won four of those, including the most recent clash last month, which was a three-set battle in the China Open final.

Roger Federer conceded he had let chances slip through his fingers and made "pretty bad" mistakes as he crashed out of the ATP Finals with defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Swiss star went down 6-3 6-4 in London, taking only one of his 12 break-point opportunities to lose the semi-final in straight sets just two days on from a near-faultless victory over Novak Djokovic.

It means he ends the year having not won any of the four grand slams or the season-ending event, with Sunday's final to be contested by Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas.

Federer turns 39 in 2020 but, as he reflected on a year that saw him squander two championship points against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, he is optimistic he will have plenty more opportunities to win top tournaments.

"No doubt I had my chances," Federer – who hit 26 unforced errors including two wayward smashes in his opening service game – said after his defeat, which leaves him without an ATP Finals title since 2011. 

"The break points were part of it. I had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad.

"Getting broken and missing two smashes in one game – that hasn't happened in a long, long time or ever, so that was tough.

"At this level, you just can't have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing."

Of his 2020 hopes, Federer said: "I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year and then I will create some chances. 

"[I have] Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team and get the balance right with everything that's happening in my life."

Federer had produced a fine display to see off Djokovic in the round-robin stage but conceded he cannot afford to let his level drop when big matches and important moments arrive in quick succession.

He added: "When the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, where you're just going to play very good day in, day out. 

"Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. Maybe that's what it felt like, just things were complicated. 

"But I've got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells [in a final defeat to Thiem] or Wimbledon.

"That can change an entire season around, the confidence, the flow of things."

Federer retained an optimistic outlook going into another season on the ATP Tour, adding: "I'm happy [with] how I played this season. I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis and I'm extremely excited for next season."

Stefanos Tsitsipas described playing Roger Federer as the "biggest honour" after he overcame the 20-time grand slam champion in the ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas - debuting at the season-ending tournament - set up a final against either Dominic Thiem or defending champion Alexander Zverev with a 6-3 6-4 win on Saturday.

While Federer was wasteful, failing to take 11 out of 12 break points afforded to him by the Greek, Tsitsipas showed clinical composure to progress to his sixth final of 2019.

Saturday's triumph marks a second win over Federer for Tsitsipas, who also beat the world number three in the Australian Open, and the 21-year-old insisted there is no higher honour in men's tennis than going up against the Swiss.

"I am so proud of myself today, a great performance and once again the fans were great. I really enjoyed my time on the court," Tsitsipas said.

"Sometimes, matches like this you wonder how you overcome all these difficulties, those break points down. It's really like a mental struggle so I'm really proud that I managed to save so many break points today.

"Roger was playing good, shout out to him as well because he's played pretty well this week, an inspiration as always.

"Playing him is the biggest honour I can have, today's win is probably one of the best matches of this season and these are the moments I wait for and want to prove the best of my game."

"It's not easy to copy Roger. This guy does magic on the court so I'm trying to do half of what he does. He can be so good sometimes. We all have different styles.

"There is so much to learn from all these players. I grew up watching Roger as a kid, watching him here at the finals, Wimbledon, plenty of finals. I wished I could step out on the court one day and face him and today I'm here, living the dream.

"I remember being a kid here, watching the event, I could never picture myself standing here, but it happened, dreams do come true."

Tsitsipas has been in brilliant form at the O2 arena, and will now face Thiem or Zverev - who he beat in the round-robin stage - in Sunday's showdown.

"I have no preference [Thiem or Zverev]. Anything can happen in the final," he added.

"I played Zverev already in the group and last year he proved, when he lost to [Novak] Djokovic in the group and then went out in the final and beat him. Now I need to be super careful. Let's hope for a good semi-final, I'm going to watch it."

ATP Finals debutant Stefanos Tsitsipas booked his place in Sunday's final with a clinical 6-3 6-4 triumph over a wasteful Roger Federer at the O2 Arena.

Tsitsipas was beaten by world number one Rafael Nadal in a marathon match on Friday but showed little sign of weariness as he claimed his second win over six-time ATP Finals champion Federer.

The 21-year-old saved 12 break points in his Australia Open victory over Federer in January and the world number three failed to take 11 out of 12 this time around.

Tsitsipas made Federer pay, progressing into his sixth final of what has been a fantastic season, with Dominic Thiem or defending champion Alexander Zverev awaiting.

Having held serve in game one, Tsitsipas broke at the first time of asking with a well-worked point to take control of the set.

Tsitsipas saved three break points in game seven, though Federer subsequently held to love before winning a brilliant point at the culmination of a thrilling rally.

Three set points went begging for Tsitsipas as Federer teed up a sixth opportunity to break, only for a long backhand to hand his opponent a reprieve.

An incredible game rolled on, but at the seventh time of asking, Tsitsipas finally wrapped up a 47-minute first set.

Federer started set two with a crisp hold, yet the Swiss found himself a set and a break down when he sent a weak effort into the net as Tsitsipas broke to love.

But Federer responded brilliantly, taking a 40-love lead on Tsitsipas' serve, only to once again squander three more break points.

A sublime backhand and exquisite drop shot set up Federer's 10th break point, however, and this time he took advantage to draw level at 2-2.

Tsitsipas broke back immediately though and two overhit efforts put Federer two games down.

Another strong hold of serve put Tsitsipas on the brink, and - despite some nervy shots on his last service game - a thumping ace secured a deserved victory.

Rafael Nadal believes he will eventually look back fondly on matching Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for equal second most year-end number one rankings.

Federer's win over Djokovic at the ATP Finals on Thursday ensured Nadal would end the year as world number one for the fifth time in his career.

The three greats are alongside Jimmy Connors on that tally, while only Pete Sampras (six) has achieved it more often.

Nadal, 33, said it was an achievement he would eventually be proud of.

"At some point for me, it's something that gives me great personal satisfaction," the 19-time grand slam champion told a news conference.

"To have the chance to equal both of them [Federer and Djokovic] after missing a couple of years for injuries means a lot.

"I remember 2012 for example, I had been playing great and I had been in a position that I think I was playing great, after winning Roland Garros I had to stop for eight months for my knee. Then in 2009 something similar happened.

"So, a couple of years I had been there but because of physical issues I was not able to fight for it. To have this trophy with me means a lot and of course it's a great achievement."

Nadal edged Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals on Friday, but the Spanish great was eliminated after Alexander Zverev's win over Daniil Medvedev later in the day.

Winner of the French Open and US Open this year, Nadal said being number one at year's end had not been a target.

"Number one was not the main goal for me. I will not follow the number one, I was going to do my normal calendar because you have to make decisions to try to play as long as possible in order to fight for the number one," he said.

"Our decision is to try to do things to play as long as possible so that's why I tried to do the conservative calendar in terms of saving the body.

"But the thing is when I've been playing, I've been playing very well. I achieved almost every single time the last rounds of every tournament. That's why it's put me in a position that I am where I am today, having this trophy with me.

"Of course, after winning the US Open I put myself in a position that it can be a chance to be there, but of course having the rivals I have in front, anything is possible."

Novak Djokovic hopes to play at the Davis Cup Finals despite admitting he felt a "pretty sharp" pain in his elbow against Roger Federer on Thursday.

Djokovic failed to reach the last four at the ATP Finals after suffering a 6-4 6-3 defeat to Federer in London.

The Serbian 16-time grand slam champion was again troubled by his elbow, a worry ahead of the Davis Cup Finals beginning in Madrid on Monday.

"I hope it's nothing that will really unable me to play Madrid. The pain was pretty sharp, but I could play the rest of the match," Djokovic told a news conference.

"If I had something really serious I think I wouldn't be able to hold the racquet so it wasn't, it was probably just an awkward, quick movement that I did, but it did not impose any form of issues later on."

Djokovic suffered his first loss to Federer since 2015, the result handing Rafael Nadal the year-end number one ranking.

The 32-year-old said he was well below his best, while praising Federer's performance.

"There was not much that I did right this match to be honest, realistically he was the better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win," Djokovic said.

"He served great, moved well and returned my serve very well so from his end I think he did everything right, from my end I was just playing too neutral.

"I couldn't read his serve well and just a pretty bad match from my side."

Despite not living up to his usual standards to finish the year, Djokovic was happy with his 2019 after successes at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

"I'm not happy with the way I finished the season. Obviously this is not the way I want to play on the court first of all but you've got to accept that you have these kinds of days and move on," he said.

"If I have to draw the line, I think it was still a very good season winning two slams and five titles.

"Of course I'm still hot-headed off the court but all in all it was a good season."

Serbia are in Group A at the Davis Cup Finals, alongside France and Japan.

Rafael Nadal matched Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by securing a fifth year-end number one, while also breaking a record set by the Serbian.

Federer was too good for Djokovic 6-4 6-3 at the ATP Finals on Thursday, reaching the semi-finals at the expense of the 16-time grand slam champion.

The result confirmed Nadal will finish the year at the top of the rankings for the fifth time.

The Spanish star joined Federer, Djokovic and Jimmy Connors on that tally, trailing only Pete Sampras (six).

It also marked the 16th straight year in which one of the 'Big Four' – Federer (2004-07 and 2009), Nadal (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019), Djokovic (2011-12, 2014-15 and 2018) and Andy Murray (2016) – has finished as world number one.

At 33, Nadal is the oldest year-end number one in ATP rankings history. Djokovic, 31 last year, held that mark previously.

Federer (20) still leads his rivals for most grand slams, although Nadal (19) and Djokovic (16) closed the gap this year.

Roger Federer described his ATP Finals victory over Novak Djokovic as "magical", having come up short when they last met in an epic Wimbledon final.

Swiss icon Federer earned a brilliant 6-4 6-3 victory at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday to join Dominic Thiem in advancing to the semi-finals at the Serbian's expense.

It was the 19-time grand slam champion's first win against Djokovic – whose defeat meant Rafael Nadal will end 2019 as the world number one – since 2015, with the 32-year-old having been triumphant in each of their previous five encounters.

The most recent of those saw Djokovic stave off a championship point before clinching the Wimbledon title following a tie-break at 12-12 in the fifth set.

Asked what he did differently on Thursday, Federer replied: "I won match point, I guess! It was so close at Wimbledon. It was a privilege to play that match, so many ups and downs.

"I thought I played an incredible tournament … and it's just a point or a shot here and there that made the difference and he got it.

"You move on, try harder next time and hopefully luck goes on your side. I stayed calm, I played great until the very end and I couldn't be more happy right now.

"[It was a] great atmosphere, great opponent. It was definitely incredibly special. I enjoyed it from the beginning.

"I played incredible and I knew I had to because that's what Novak does. I was able to produce. It was definitely magical. You guys [the fans] made it super special, I can't thank you enough."

Federer bounced back from losing his opening round-robin match to Thiem by beating Matteo Berrettini in straight sets and the 38-year-old stepped up his game again to overcome Djokovic.

"You always play better as the tournament goes on, that's why I think we played as well as we did at Wimbledon as well," said Federer, who suffered a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev in last year's ATP Finals.

"Dominic Thiem has been supreme in our group, made life difficult for both of us and put us in the situation that only the winner goes through.

"There was a lot riding on the match and I came out and I think I served great, had great anticipation, a clear game-plan and it worked great – hopefully not for the last time against Novak.

"I'm happy to stick around. Hopefully I'll go a step further than last year, I played a good match against Zverev last year but he was unreal."

Roger Federer triumphed in a win-or-bust ATP Finals encounter with Novak Djokovic at the O2 Arena on Thursday, meaning Rafael Nadal will end 2019 as the world number one.

Six-time champion Federer was in fine fettle as he restricted the rallies to seal an impressive 6-4 6-3 victory over Djokovic, ensuring it was he who qualified from Group Bjorn Borg behind Dominic Thiem.

The Serbian's defeat – his first in six meetings with the 38-year-old – ended his hopes of regaining top spot in the rankings from Nadal, who only replaced him last week.

Federer surrendered two championship points before falling to Djokovic in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon final in July, but he looked unbeatable as he clinched a first victory over the 16-time major winner since 2015.

Djokovic stayed cool to stave off a break point in game one but successive double faults put him under pressure in his next service game and Federer seized the initiative with a fierce backhand.

The match continued at a high pace – only five points in the opening set lasted for nine shots or more – and, after Djokovic battled back from 0-30 down to complete an essential hold in game nine, the Swiss sent down an ace to seal the set.

Federer kept the pressure on at the start of the second but was met with resistance as the world number two dug in to fight off a pair of break points with impressive work from the baseline.

Djokovic appeared to hurt his right elbow while stretching for the ball in game two yet seemed to be gaining momentum, only for a scintillating Federer forehand to deny him a chance to move 3-1 up.

The Swiss heeded his warning and pounced in the next game after a long forehand from Djokovic ended a baseline exchange on the second of three break points.

A pair of unforced errors helped hand Federer a trio of match points and he leapt into the air when Djokovic failed to get a volley over the net, completing a resounding win for the 19-time grand slam champion.

Roger Federer is thrilled to be going head-to-head with world number two Novak Djokovic in what could be a pivotal ATP Finals encounter for both players.

Federer bounced back from his opening defeat to Dominic Thiem by beating Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 on Tuesday, and will face Djokovic for the first time since losing in a five-set epic in this year's Wimbledon final.

Last year's runner up Djokovic, who is aiming to dethrone Rafael Nadal as world number one, would secure his progression from the Bjorn Borg group should he beat Thiem in Tuesday's late match.

Depending on the result, and how Thiem does against Berrettini on Thursday, Federer could potentially have to beat Djokovic to ensure his place in the last four.

However, Federer is merely focusing on making sure his own performance is at its highest possible level, as he goes up against an opponent he has faced on 48 occasions in the past, winning 22 times.

"No, I'm excited playing against him. I'm excited to see how he's going to play tonight, as well," Federer told a news conference after his win over Berrettini.

"It's definitely going to give me some more information about what to expect. But other than that, I think I need to focus on my game, what I do best and regardless of what I need to do, I just hope I play well.

"We have played a lot of matches since [Wimbledon], and I think we both look back at a great match. I think we both can take away some confidence from the match. Him, obviously a lot. Me, maybe a tad bit less.

"But at the end of the day, I wasn't hoping [for] him not to be in my section or in my draw. I didn't hope I was never going to play him again.

"Actually, it's good for me to play him again, and maybe that all helps to get a chance to get him back or whatever it is."

While Djokovic and Nadal are battling it out for top spot in the ATP rankings, Federer claims he is no longer concerned with where he is placed among the world's elite, as long as his fitness remains in tact.

"Points? Yeah, who cares? Who cares if I'm ranked three, five, nine?" Federer said.

"If I feel like I'm 100 per cent fit, then I feel like I have a chance to win the tournament.

"But if I don't feel that way but I'm ranked one or three or five, whatever it may be, I know it's going to be extremely more difficult and sometimes almost impossible, even though I feel like if I'm in a draw, usually I always give myself a chance."

Andy Murray believes he is now back to being capable of taking on the world's elite players after his remarkable comeback from injury in 2019.

Murray looked set to retire due to injury earlier in the year, but after undergoing successful hip surgery, crowned his return by winning the European Open in Antwerp to claim his 46th ATP Tour title.

After taking the best part of a month off, Murray will now head to the Davis Cup finals as part of Great Britain's five-man team.

The 32-year-old intends step things up further in 2020 and the three-time major winner says he would be confident of pushing Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer all the way should he come up against any of the big three.

"I know if I played against the top players tomorrow there would be a very small chance of me winning that match," Murray told BBC Sport.

"But I do feel I could win. That's one of the performance goals I want - when I go out on court against all of the players I want to feel like I have a chance of winning.

"Seven or eight weeks ago I wouldn't have felt that was the case. 

"If I continued along that path then I wouldn't continue playing. It has been an up and down few years but I feel like I'm coming through the other side of it and I'm excited to see what I can do over the next couple of years.

"It's difficult to say exactly where I am. I'm not where I was when I was 25 but I don't expect to be and I don't need to be [in order] to be competitive at the highest level and that's why I'm excited.

"I'm not going to set a target of top 10 or trying to make the semis of a Grand Slam because I've done all of that before and I don't need that.

"I'm happy just being pain free, healthy and love what I'm doing."

Murray defeated Stan Wawrinka to clinch the European Open title, while the Scot overcame world number eight Matteo Berrettini on his way to the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing, where he was eventually defeated by Dominic Thiem.

Roger Federer opened his account at this year's ATP Finals at the second attempt, beating Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 on Tuesday.

Having started out with a loss to Dominic Thiem on Sunday, Federer needed a victory over London debutant Berrettini to kick-start his campaign ahead of a showdown against Novak Djokovic in his final outing of the round-robin stage.

World number eight Berrettini, who was easily brushed aside by Djokovic at the weekend, put up stubborn resistance in the opening set but the 23-year-old was too often found wanting against his opponent’s serve.

Federer was far more dominant in the second, the six-time champion securing victory after 78 minutes on court in the English capital.

"It's strange to lose and then play again, but I did it last year so have some experience," Federer said. "It was always going to be difficult against Matteo, with the big serve.

"I was pretty clean on my own service game, I think that helped. I hope I can keep it up and maybe play a bit better in the next match."

Berrettini played a brilliant pass in game five as both players held serve comfortably in the early stages.

Indeed, it was not until Federer was 6-5 up that either player had a chance to break, though the 38-year-old failed to take advantage, Berrettini clawing back the set point to draw level again.

Federer made the first move in the tie-break, Berrettini slipping up with a forehand to give his opponent the lead, while an exquisite backhand put the 20-time grand slam champion further ahead – much to the delight of the O2 crowd.

A double fault further dashed Berrettini's hopes, with Federer subsequently wrapping up the 43-minute set on his own serve.

The world number three broke to love to open the next in style and though the Italian stopped the rot with a lob, a supreme drop shot maintained Federer's two-game cushion.

Federer's focus seemed to slip on his next serve, however, and he had to claw back three break points before finally taking a lengthy game.

A sliced forehand from his rival secured victory for the Swiss, who has not won the season-ending tournament since 2011.

Roger Federer blamed "first-round hiccups" for the loss to Dominic Thiem that leaves him at risk of an early exit from the ATP Finals.

Austrian Thiem completed a hat-trick of wins over the 20-time grand slam champion in 2019 with a 7-5 7-5 victory on the opening day in London.

Federer now faces a tough task to advance from Group Bjorn Borg, which also contains Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.

The 38-year-old committed 30 unenforced errors and won 11 of 22 points on his second serve in an uneven showing at the O2 Arena on Sunday.

"I thought he played well. The start definitely didn't help. That put me on the back foot a little bit," Federer said.

"But I recovered well and I thought the match was pretty even for a long period of time. I felt I had my chances. Didn't feel like I was outplayed or anything.

"Just maybe those first-round hiccups a little bit, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games, which maybe doesn't happen later in the tournament."

Federer won the last of his six ATP Finals titles in 2011 and will have to be at his best to stay in contention for a seventh.

"It's a normal tournament from here on forward. I'm not allowed to lose anymore," the Swiss star said.

"That's how it is every week of the year for the past 20 years, so from that standpoint there is nothing new."

Both players are back in action on Tuesday as Federer faces tournament debutant Berrettini, who was no match for a dominant Djokovic.

The manner of the Serbian's 6-2 6-1 triumph and the tight schedule gives Thiem little time to savour his fifth career win over "probably the best player of all time".

"The system is pretty brutal, I would say, because I had an amazing victory," he said.

"I'm feeling great. I'm feeling now that I have a good chance to reach the semis, but if I lose on Tuesday, for example, everything is completely open again and I [would] have to worry about everything on the next match on Thursday.

"The only thing I can do is rest well [on Monday], practice well, and be fully focused again on Tuesday."

Dominic Thiem continued his dominance of Roger Federer this year with a straight-sets victory on the opening day of the ATP Finals.

Thiem had beaten the 20-time grand slam champion twice this season and completed the hat-trick with a 7-5 7-5 victory at the O2 Arena on Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Thiem has not reached the semi-finals in his three previous appearances in London, but made a confident start after Novak Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini in the opening Group Bjorn Borg match.

Thiem served and returned superbly, improving his record against Federer to five victories and two defeats as he bids to end a fruitful 2019 by claiming a sixth title of the year.

Federer dominated the robin-round encounter between the two in this tournament last year, but was a break down after firing a forehand into the tramlines in the opening game.

The Austrian was pegged back at 2-2 when Federer forced an error with a ferocious backhand, yet the six-time champion was unable to cut out the errors and trailed 6-5 after Thiem pounced on his second serve.

Thiem served out the set with great composure and both players had a packed crowd purring as they showed their athleticism with classy winners at the net early in the second.

Federer fizzed a majestic backhand winner down the line and saved a break point before levelling at 2-2, while Thiem continued to pepper his veteran opponent with powerful, accurate ground strokes.

Thiem drew gasps with a scorching one-handed backhand winner and broke to love to lead 6-5 when Federer netted after a blistering return was arrowed at his feet.

Federer went down with a fight, but the third seed was beaten when he dumped a backhand into the net after seeing two points to get back on serve come and go.

Roger Federer has stuck by his decision to withdraw from the inaugural ATP Cup in order to focus on rest and time with his family ahead of the 2020 season.

Federer was set to lead Switzerland at the new 24-team event, which will take place in Australia in January.

However, the 38-year-old confirmed at the end of October that he would not be taking part in the competition, with Switzerland subsequently withdrawn from contention as a result.

After skipping the Paris Masters, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer will now look to finish his season on a high in the ATP Finals in London.

He faces world number five Dominic Thiem on Sunday, having lost in the semi-finals to eventual winner Alexander Zverev in 2018.

Ahead of the event, Federer explained he has no regrets about deciding to not push his body too much early on in 2020, allowing him to spend more time with his wife and children.

"Something had to give, that was the ATP Cup," Federer said on media day at the O2 Arena.

"I just felt I was going to be very happy to play but it wasn't that level of importance for me. That was that.

"Normally I don't take these kinds of decisions like this but I kind of got into that situation having to take a decision after Wimbledon. 

"With my wife we try to come up with a really good schedule for the kids. We wanted to be in the same place for a long time. I don't think it's contradictory at all."

Federer conceded he is taking something of a risk by not playing in a warm-up tournament before the Australian Open, but is confident his experience will allow him to cope with the physical demands of heading straight back into a grand slam.

"At the end of the day I think with age and experience I can be confident about what I do in training," Federer said. 

"I'll travel to Melbourne early to make sure I give myself the best chance to get ready. I believe I can be ready, I don't think I need a tonne of matches always, especially on the hard courts.

"Maybe I'm a bit more dependent on the draw earlier on in the Australian Open. The key is health."

After facing Thiem, Federer will also go up against Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic – who was recently dethroned as world number one by Rafael Nadal – in the group stage in London.

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