ROGER Federer says a parochial crowd will not phase him when he steps on to Rod Laver Arena against last-Australian-standing Bernard Tomic tomorrow.
Almost a year to the day since the pair played in last year's fourth round, the 17-time grand slam champion, who easily overcame old foe Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday night, said he was looking forward to the blockbuster clash - this time in round three.
"I don't think it matters whether he's the last Australian or 10 more. I think there's always excitement about Aussies playing here," Federer said.
"I played him here last year. The crowd was great.
"I played him in Davis Cup. Crowds were fair there, too. I expect something similar.
"If it's not, if it's totally for him, that's fine too.
"I'm always excited when the crowd gets into it.
"So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the match. I'm sure it's going to be a lot of attention, hopefully a lot of TV viewers as well.
"Hopefully we're going to live up to the expectations and live up to the match. Hopefully it's not going to be a bad match. I don't want that to happen."
Federer was too strong for a 19-year-old Tomic last year, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the last 16 but said he was impressed with how the now 20-year-old had turned around a bad end to last year and his good start to 2013.
"In matches, every match you play you learn something," he said.
" He's already past that point a little bit.
"But, yeah, I would think he does everything a little bit better, otherwise he wouldn't have won a tournament."
The Swiss master said he did try to intimidate younger opponents on court but said Tomic, who has not lost this year and has already beaten the likes of Novak Djokovic, might be a tougher nut to break as he raised his game on the big occasion.
"I was one of those as well," Federer said.
"...I was also a big believer I could win.
"Then there's other players who are much more overwhelmed by an occasion like that.
"To me, he (Tomic) seems to be more of a guy that likes to be on centre court, playing against the top guys, feels like he belongs there. I think it's going to be make it easier for him to play me."
Tomic is going into the big match confident of causing a big upset with the Australian press whipping up the country into a fever.
But the experienced Federer is not buying into all the hype.
"I think he's also been lured into it, to be honest," he said when asked about some of the Australian's comments.
"At the end of the day, you got to wait for the match. All the talk around it. I don't read the press, so I don't know it's going to affect me. I don't know if he's going to wake up in the morning, first thing in the morning, and go to the coffee shop and read the paper.
"I think it's important to be confident to a degree, you know. It seems he has that. Now obviously we both have to live up to a big match, big hype, and then we can talk about it afterwards, you know."
Do you think young gun Bernard Tomic will take down tennis great Roger Federer in Saturday's Aus Open match?
This poll ended on 15 February 2013.
Yes, Tomic will beat The Fed - 5%
It will be close, but Federer's experience will win out - 14%
Federer will smash Tomic and win the match in three sets - 77%
I don't care who wins, as long as it's entertaining to watch - 2%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.