How Federer will prepare for shot at history
ROGER Federer will draw inspiration from Winston Churchill when the Swiss maestro chases an unprecedented 20th major title at Melbourne Park.
The grand slam record-holder will bid for a record-equalling sixth Open crown against Marin Cilic after watching Darkest Hour, a movie about British prime minister Churchill set in the early years of World War II.
Federer, 36, watched Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki contest the women's final before switching over to Darkest Hour as part of a practised pre-match routine.
"Since the matches are late, I used to go to bed here late, around one o'clock," Federer said.
"Thursday, I watched a movie, which I thought would be relaxing, but it turned out to be a crazy thriller.
"Today, I intend to watch the ladies final and then the new movie about Winston Churchill, I heard it was good."
Anointed by his idol Rod Laver to successfully defend his title, Federer is wary of Cilic.
The pair inadvertently bumped into each other on holidays in the Maldives in November.
"I got to know Marins's fiancee on the Maldives, it was nice to meet her. They will marry later this year.
"I didn't expect Marin to be in the final when the tournament began, but he started to play really good, kept his nerves and deserves to be in the final.
"I am sure he is good enough to beat me."
If Federer wins, he will increase his lead to closest pursuer and nemesis Rafael Nadal, who has 16 majors.
With eighth Wimbledon crowns, five US and Australian Open trophies and a sole French Open title, Federer has 19.
Only two other men - Serb Novak Djokovic and Queenslander Roy Emerson - have won six Australian crowns.
Legendary Queenslander Rod Laver expects the Swiss' haul to swell to 20 - a figure Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) have achieved or bettered.
Laver said: "They both are worthy champions, but I would favour Roger a little.
"Cilic is serving well and hitting hart from the baseline. It will be hard for Roger to sit back and rally with someone like this.
"He has to make some changes, and shorten the points, when he can. And he has to serve well.
"When he serves well, everything is good. Its nice that he still enjoys this sport.
"I think he's close to his best tennis. He has some shots that he did not have six to eight years ago, like the backhand drive, the return of serve or some volleys."
Cilic has beaten Federer only once in nine matches, in the 2014 US Open semi-finals - when the Croat notched his maiden major.