Roger Federer hopeful of Australian Open success despite No. 17 ranking

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    Story highlights

    • Federer hopes stars will fear his No. 17 ranking
    • Swiss star hoping to claim 18th grand slam title at Australian Open

    (CNN)Roger Federer has made a comfortable home for himself at the top of men's tennis for well over a decade but now finds himself in an unfamiliar position.

    Heading into this month's Australian Open the Swiss star is ranked 17th in the world -- his lowest position since 2001.
    And with a lower tournament seeding it's likely Federer will meet one of the favorites in the earlier rounds. Although he doesn't necessarily view this as a negative.
    "I hope it's not going to matter for me because I'm playing that well that it doesn't matter who's going to come against me," the 35-year-old told CNN.
    "Maybe it's even better to play the better guys earlier because I might be having more energy left in the tank. That's one open question ... how much energy do I have left in a best of five set match or after a lot of tough matches in a row?
    "I hope the other guys are going to follow this draw and think, 'Oh I hope the number 17 seed is not gonna be in my section,' rather than me thinking that I hope I'm not going to be in their section."
    The 17-time grand slam champion made his comeback from a six-month injury layoff at the Hopman Cup last week, where he suffered a surprise defeat to German teenager Alexander Zverev.
    Yet Federer is happy with his Australian Open preparation since recovering from knee surgery.
    "I'm very excited to be back," Federer said. "The six months were a long time but then if you look at is as in a 20 year career, six months all of a sudden appears like very little.
    "The Hopman Cup went very well. I felt great. Now, obviously, I'm super excited that I was able to come through those three matches and to have another week to get ready for Melbourne -- it's good times again which is nice for me.
    "I feel rejuvenated and I have more energy. So that's what is exciting about what's to come now."
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    Despite his advancing years, retirement hasn't yet entered Federer's mind.
    And the former world No. 1 isn't ruling out the possibility of one last shot at the only major title still alluding him: an Olympic singles gold.
    By the time Tokyo 2020 comes around, Federer will be 38 -- his 39th birthday is the day before the closing ceremony.
    "I hope so," he said when asked if he felt he could still be in medal contention by then. "But it's still such a long way a way that I can't be thinking this far ahead.
    "I did win the gold in Beijing in doubles with my friend, Stan (Wawrinka), so I do feel like I have a gold. But, of course, in the singles, I don't. It would be amazing to win the gold in Tokyo.
    "But, honestly, it's too far away to make that kind of an announcement."
    The draw for the Australian Open takes place on Friday.