ROGER Federer says he doesn't read what the sport's up-and-coming players have to say about how close they think they are to beating him.
But he certainly knows who they are, and he isn't about to quit his unparalleled position in the game without a fight.
On Saturday it was Bernard Tomic who learnt to beat Federer you need to bring your best, and even that may not be good enough ...yet.
Tonight it's another rising star, Canada's No.13 seed Milos Raonic.
The 22-year-old has been battling a fever in Melbourne, but fired 23 aces to get past Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 6-3 6-4 in the third round.
Federer has a 4-0 record against Raonic, but said he expected improvement this time around, just as Tomic had brought.
"I've had some tough matches with him in the past. All of them went the distance. Some of them I should have lost, maybe one or two," the Swiss maestro admitted.
"Indian Wells, I felt like I was more in control than the other two. In Madrid I was in a lot of trouble. Halle was extremely close.
"We'll see this time around how it's going to be. He's obviously got one of the best serves in the game.
"You always feel, especially after an off season like the one we've just had, he's maybe improved again a few things."
Raonic, who made his breakthrough with a fourth-round showing as a qualifier in Melbourne two years ago, said he believed he had learnt enough from the losses to Federer to believe he was good enough to win, if not today, then soon.
"I got pretty damn close the one time in Madrid. I got pretty close in Halle. I just know how to deal with it," the Canadian said.
"I think I have a higher tolerance within myself and a higher belief within myself, stepping up against Roger.
"I think against Roger, one thing that has sort of worked well for me, I try as much as I can not to play on Roger's terms, to play on my own terms."
For all the pressure it brings, Federer said he enjoyed watching the next generation come through, trying to knock him off his pedestal.
"I like to watch the younger players how they create their team, how they handle wins, losses, the press," he said.
"There's a lot of pressure as well on the younger guys. I enjoy seeing them face all that."
Federer brought up his 250th Grand Slam victory in his straight sets third round win against Tomic.
1: Roger Federer 250 wins 37 losses (17 Grand Slam titles)
2: Jimmy Connors 233-49 (8 titles)
3: Andre Agassi 224-53 (8 titles)
4: Ivan Lendl 222-49 (8 titles)
5: Pete Sampras 203-38 (14 titles)
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