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There is no doubt that Andy Murray is the player being placed under the most pressure to succeed in the Australian Open this year, with the Scot aiming to win his first major Grand Slam trophy, but there is another man down under who may be feeling more personal pressure to succeed at the start of the 2012 live tennis season than any other, albeit for very different reasons, and that man is Roger Federer.

With Federer enduring a very tricky time in recent years, the Swiss legend seeing his career become less about winning trophies than about trying to compete with the emerging Novak Djokovic and the ever-present Rafael Nadal, this year has signalled a slight turn in the tide, with tennis betting offers offers bets on the player starting to get back to the top of the tennis tree and almost looking as good as he was in his prime.

If Federer fails to win a Grand Slam this year, then the rumours that he is well and truly past it will not only continue, but could start to get even harsher in tone, leaving him wondering whether or not he actually wants to carry on playing a sport that is going through a rapid transition phase, with its former top dogs slowly being replaced by younger players entering their prime.

Whether the final demise of Federer would happen is pure speculation at this stage, but if he could last the distance and lift the trophy in Australia, there's no doubt that any speculation around his future in the sport would come to an end for now, leaving the great man himself in a position where he could perhaps start to think about retiring while he can still legitimately claim to be in the prime of his career.
 
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