Federer: I have game to be World No. 1 again

As he prepares to defend his Dubai Championships title, Roger Federer said he is playing ''excellent tennis'' and is confident he can overtake Djokovic for the top spot.

It will be a challenge given that he plans to scale back his schedule in 2013. He wants to take several weeks off before the start of the clay season.

''Absolutely realistic, if you play great,'' Federer said of returning to No. 1, a spot he last held for 17 weeks until Oct. 29, breaking a record of 286 weeks at the top held by Pete Sampras.

''Time will tell,'' Federer said. ''I know it's possible. I know it's possible to win tournaments. But right now, a big focus is on making sure every tournament I enter that I'm perfectly prepared, like for here, for Australia, for Indian Wells.''

Federer also brushed aside talk of retirement, making it clear he remains healthy and hungry to win more trophies, including another Grand Slam title - preferably Wimbledon, which he has won seven times. He is going for his sixth title in Dubai.

"I strongly believe I have more Slams in me," he said. "Which Slam do I favour - does Wimbledon over-weigh the rest? Maybe, but looking back there have been amazing moments with each Slam."

"It depends how long I play. But I don't want to be depending on that. I am trying to be smart with my schedule. I am practicing more."

"Your prime is 23 to 27 or 28 so for me it's very challenging - and exciting. I need to make the right decisions. I have family and not many guys have that."

The 17-time Grand Slam champion added to his total with a Wimbledon title in 2012 but lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the semifinals of this year's Australian Open.

''I want to give myself the best possible chance to play as long as I can,'' Federer said.

''Eventually, it will be clear that it is time to stop, but the time is definitely not now,'' he said. ''But then again, things change very quickly. You have to be ready for it and open to it. I'm not naive that I can play for 15 more years, but I would like to give myself a chance to play for many more years to come. I'm happy with where my body is at.''

Federer said the recent focus on a Djokovic-Murray rivalry made sense to some degree. But with four different players winning the four Grand Slam events last year, he said it was premature to turn the men's game into a two-man competition.

''Yes, they have played more often than not, and they have played in some big matches and very often the matches have been very good. So naturally that is what the media looks at. I understand that,'' he said. ''It's all a question of how you see things. Rafa also has not been involved in this whole process the past seven months, so you don't want to jump the gun too quick.''

Date: 24th February 2013, Source: AP


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