Roger Federer has opened up on the daunting feeling of immense expectation.

The 38-year-old world No 3 has dominated the ATP tour for the majority of the last two decades.

Whenever the Swiss star is in action he is the favourite to win – unless he comes up against long-term rivals Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.

And the expectation of taking on some of the lower-ranked players can sometimes take its toll.

“Yes, of course, I always feel a little nervous,” Federer told La Nacion.

“I can’t explain it: I can be nervous for a first round in Basel more than in the Finals, because maybe I’m not finding my game or I don’t know how people are going to be or I’m afraid of the unknown.

“Yes, sometimes it scares me, because in addition always the tension on me is very great, it’s like I’m not allowed to lose, everyone wants me to win.”

However, Federer is usually able to handle the pressure and his superb composure on the court has helped him to accrue many records.

“But at the end of the day, I handle it well, I think,” Federer added.

“And also, if I get nervous, it is not negative, because I feel that I show that I care, that my heart beats, that I am alive, that I want to win and may, perhaps, lead me to a better performance.

“Because if I take it lightly and say: ‘Ah, today I have a game, ah, today I am in the quarter-finals, ah, I am in Wimbledon’ nothing happens without emotion I go and lose.

“In that case I would feel: ‘Shouldn’t I have been more nervous?’ But well, I’m happy that I’m not always nervous.

“Now that I’m big, it’s good to not always be tense because it allows me to be more rested.”

Federer gets his ATP Finals campaign underway at 8pm when he takes on Dominic Thiem.

The pair are joined in group Bjorn Borg by Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.

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