Virus hits Roger Federer's Australia hopes

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Melbourne, Jan 8: Roger Federer's Australian Open preparations suffered a blow on Monday as the defending champion was forced to withdraw with a virus from the Kooyong Classic warm-up event.

Federer said that he came down with the bug at the weekend after arriving in the city on Friday from Dubai, where he trains in the off-season. The world number one said doctors expect him to be fit for the start of the Australian Open in a week. The doctors have advised me that I should take a couple of days off and recuperate so that I am able to be 100 percent for the start of the Australian Open.

"As a precaution, I will need to withdraw from Kooyong. I hope to resume practise by the middle of the week".

Joining Federer as an absentee in the eight-man special event at Kooyong club was German Tommy Haas, still not completely recovered from shoulder surgery during the closed season.

He was replaced in the field by Russian number four Nikolay Davydenko. Kooyong organiser Colin Stubs is still seeking a substitute for Federer to fill out the field of a round-robin event which begins on Wednesday.

The field will now comprise: Davydenko, Andy Roddick, Fernando Gonzalez, Andy Murray, David Nalbandian, Ivan Ljubicic and Marat Safin.

One India News

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