Federer aims to extend winning run to Olympics

Roger Federer believes the momentum he achieved from his finest finish to a season can launch him to a successful defence of the Qatar Open title and a flying start to Olympic year.

The Grand Slam record holder has gone 17 matches unbeaten and won three titles since the US Open in September, bringing hopes of five more wins and a fourth title in Doha to celebrate the arrival of 2012.

"It was my strongest finish and I'm proud of it," Federer said. "I'm already looking forward to the new season."

During this winning sequence Federer was back to somewhere near his best, raising hopes of ending a two-year Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in a fortnight's time.

Federer has even allowed himself to talk about his chances of regaining the world number one spot, even though he is currently ranked behind both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.

"All of a sudden you play well and you win 17 matches in a row and you're back where you feel if you win a Slam or something, you're right in the conversation again, so that's interesting and excites me," Federer told the New York Times recently.

If his words sound rather optimistic, that is because Federer has a special incentive. Just one more week at the top would enable him to equal the record 286 weeks at number one achieved by Pete Sampras.

However Federer's greatest remaining ambition is an Olympic singles gold medal in July, which may be why he has dropped next month's Dubai Open amidst an extra full and exhausting 2012 calendar.

The other mushrooming Arabian Gulf city - Doha - remains very much in Federer's plans. Next week it should provide a launch-pad for his ambitions, with good warm-up opposition for the Australian Open.

The top seed is Nadal, and the third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who not only beat Federer at Wimbledon but gave him a good tussle for the title in the ATP World Tour finals in London four weeks ago.

Date: 01.01.2012, Source: AP


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