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Roger Federer, standing next to his cow 'Desiree' during a welcome ceremony at the Suisse Open in Gstaad, is making alterations to his playing schedule. Peter Schneider / EPA
Roger Federer, standing next to his cow 'Desiree' during a welcome ceremony at the Suisse Open in Gstaad, is making alterations to his playing schedule. Peter Schneider / EPA

Roger Federer to warm up for Australian Open at Brisbane event

Slipping in the rankings, former world No 1 tweaks his schedule ahead of next season's first grand slam tournament.

SYDNEY // Roger Federer, the Swiss champion, will begin his 2014 season at Australia's Brisbane International for the first time, tournament organisers said on Wednesday, in a bid to improve his grand slam hopes.

Federer, a 17-time major winner, has slumped to world No 5 in the rankings for the first time in a decade during a disappointing season and said he would kick off 2014 at Brisbane ahead of the Australian Open.

"I've always hoped that I could come there [to Brisbane], so I am happy we are all able to make it work," he said.

"I'm not just coming there for the Australian Open, especially when I commit so early in advance, it's also to win in Brisbane."

Andy Murray is the defending champion.

Federer, 31, is the first player to be announced for the December 29-January 5 hardcourt tournament, and director Cameron Pearson said it was a coup.

"Roger Federer is a global superstar and arguably the most accomplished tennis player in history," he said. "His attendance at this event will be a legacy for future generations."

Federer is hoping to reverse his 2013 fortunes at this week's claycourt Swiss Open after losing to the Argentine Federico Delbonis, who is No 114 in the world, during the semi-finals in Hamburg, a month after being knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round.

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