25 Jan 2015

Federer knocked out of Melbourne

9:06 am on 25 January 2015

The Swiss tennis great Roger Federer has suffered a shock third-round exit at the Australian Open, in one of the greatest Melbourne Park upsets in recent memory.

Roger Federer competing at the Cincinnati Masters, August 2014

Roger Federer competing at the Cincinnati Masters, August 2014 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The second seed lost in four sets to world number 46 Andreas Seppi, the Italian winning 6-4 7-6 4-6 7-6 in a match that lasted almost three hours on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer has suffered more heart-breaking losses in Melbourne, but none as unexpected as his hopes of grabbing an 18th grand slam title next week were thwarted by Seppi, who had never beaten the four-time champion before in 10 previous meetings.

Seppi had never been beyond the third round before, while it's the first time since 2001, long before Federer had started his ascent to world No.1, that he has exited the season-opening grand slam so early.

The defeat will prompt further debate regarding the 33-year-old's future and whether the icon is past his best.

The four-time Australian Open winner dubbed it a "bad day", but insists he has had plenty of those in a stretch of sustained success.

"It's not like I'm playing shocking or I'm feeling shocking," Federer told reporters. "If I were you, I wouldn't read very much into that."

The Swiss superstar batted away questions about a gruelling lead-up to the Open and being scheduled to play in the morning session, saying it was "totally no excuse".

Federer pointed to the fact he was "playing very well" in practice and in Brisbane, the scene of his 1000th win on tour and 83rd ATP title.