Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

On for Young and Old Down under; Todd Woodbridge Can't Wait to See the Game's Biggest Names Return to Action in Australia, Writes Terry Mallinder

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

On for Young and Old Down under; Todd Woodbridge Can't Wait to See the Game's Biggest Names Return to Action in Australia, Writes Terry Mallinder

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NICK Kyrgios taking on Roger Federer. The master against the apprentice.

It's the match-up that Australian tennis great and now Channel Seven commentator Todd Woodbridge most wants to see this summer.

They may be poles apart when it comes to grace and sportsmanship - and at the opposite ends of their respective careers - but for flair on the court, the Swiss master and Aussie bad boy are hard to beat.

"If we were lucky enough to get a Kyrgios-Federer match, imagine what that would be like," says Woodbridge, a 16-time grand slam doubles champion.

Woodbridge is eagerly anticipating the pair getting back on the ATP Tour during a blockbuster month of tennis Down Under - arguably the biggest the country has ever hosted.

Federer, 34, is returning from an extended lay-off with injury; Kyrgios, 21, from an enforced time-out through suspension.

And while the pair going head to head on centre court at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open would be the ideal scenario for the likes of Woodbridge, they may lock horns a few weeks earlier at Perth Arena.

Both will make their comebacks at the Hopman Cup, when Federer represents Switzerland with Belinda Bencic and Kyrgios teams with Daria Gavrilova as the defending champion Australian combination in the other side of the draw.

While a star-studded list of big names head for Brisbane to start their preparations for the Australian Open, Federer will contest the eight-team tournament after knee surgery.

"I just love watching him play. I think he's the most graceful tennis player I've ever seen," Woodbridge tells Australian Regional Media.

"And the fact that Roger is back after a six-month break - the Hopman Cup will be his first tournament since Wimbledon (in June) - I think that is going to be quite exciting to watch.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he came back and played brilliantly.

"It is the first time in his career that he has ever had a break. To never be injured to a point where he's forced to get off the tour, I think it may have done him the world of good. It is a bit of time to recharge ... his body has never had that."

While Woodbridge hopes the controversial Kyrgios is given "enough breathing space" to allow him to thrive, he says "that's not going to happen".

The spotlight will be on the rising star like never before - coming off his ban and playing at home.

"(But) if he keeps his head on his shoulders he may be able to sneak a slam title this year," Woodbridge says of the player who won a career-best three titles in 2016 and rose to No.13 in the world - three places higher than Federer.

"We've already seen he's capable of beating the best players in the world.

"The positive for him leading into the Australian Open is he'll have played the Hopman Cup, a relaxed exhibition tournament - there's no points attached to it . …

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