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Federer wins 10th Basel title

Roger Federer won his 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title, defeating Alex De Minaur 6-2, 6-2 to secure what the Swiss legend described as "an unbelievable" success at the home-town tournament.

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Federer to play 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer will go for gold in 2020. The Swiss star confirmed that he will compete for Switzerland at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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Federer wins 10th Halle title

Roger Federer made history in Halle, defeating David Goffin 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win a record 10th Noventi Open title. It is the first time that Federer has earned 10 crowns at one tournament.

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Federer wins fourth Miami Open title

Roger Federer produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win his fourth Miami title.

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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

Federer / Mahut enjoy doubles success in Brisbane

Debuting a larger racquet head, Roger Federer enjoyed success on the doubles court on Tuesday at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. The Swiss teamed with Nicolas Mahut for a 7-5, 7-6(5) victory over top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

Federer practised with the new frame in Dubai during the off-season and is using it in competition for the first time as he makes his debut in Brisbane. He will open his singles campaign on Wednesday night 7 pm against Jarkko Nieminen.

Mahut, a winner of two grass-court titles in 2013, claimed his second win of the day, having earlier rallied past Dutchman Igor Sijsling 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes. He goes on to face eighth seed Jeremy Chardy, who won an all-French clash with Adrian Mannarino 7-6(4), 7-5.

Date: 31st December 2013, Source: ATP

Roger Federer plans to 'serve and volley more during 2014'

Roger Federer believes his best chance of winning a Grand Slam title during 2014 will come at Wimbledon, with the former world No 1 hinting that his best route for tournament success would be to play more serve-and-volley tennis.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion recently hired the services of Stefan Edberg who was considered the best serve-and-volley player of his generation.

Edberg, 46, won six Grand Slam titles between 1985 and 1992, with Federer describing him as 'my boyhood idol.'

The Swede joins Federer's coaching staff with the Swiss star saying: "Let's say I play my best, probably I always feel that Wimbledon is going to be my best chance.

"Then the US Open, Australian Open, and then the French Open."

As for his latest appointment, Federer added: "It's going to be interesting to see what he (Edberg) thinks.

"If it's possible to play a lot of serve and volley on the slower courts we see all around the world now, or if there are different ways for me to find my way to the net.

"I've tried many things. We can debate with Severin Luthi, my coach, about ways to come to the net or not.
"Clearly it's important to take time away from your opponent, to dictate play as well, as much as you can.

"Also, you have to be able to not miss too much and physically stay in the rally, and mentally as well.

"So it's a combination of many things now against the good players we know at the top."

Date: 30th December 2013, Source: Sky Sports

Roger Federer delights fans at Kids Day

Roger Federer had another busy day on Monday at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, where he is making his debut. After an early two-hour practice with Kei Nishikori, the top-seeded Swiss played mini-tennis with lucky competition winners at Kids Day before addressing the media in his pre-tournament press conference.

Talking about renewing his rivalries with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the impending Australian Open, Federer commented, “I think Murray, we hope he's going to come back strong. It's nice that he already played a few matches this year now, even though it was an exhibition match. It's a big step forward for him in his mind.

“I'm eager to see him again. I haven't seen him since the US Open, so I'm hopeful for him that it's going to be fine for the Australian Open, which is going to be a huge test for him now because it's a best-of-five-set matches and so forth.

“I think Rafa and Novak are going to be the ones who are going to be the ones to beat this season, particularly in the beginning,” continued Federer. “Then as we move forward, you have to see if they stay injury free and keep on winning. I kind of expect them to go deep in most of the tournaments they'll enter, of course.”

As well as implementing a new coaching arrangement in 2014, Federer will also debut a new racquet. He trialled a larger racquet head after Wimbledon and after testing another version in Dubai during the off-season, is ready to play matches with the new frame.

“It's one again that Wilson worked on and adjusted after my comments,” said Federer. “They wanted to do some more work on that racquet anyway.  They sent me one round of racquets after the US Open, and now another one after the World Tour Finals. I tested again a couple and chose the one I'm playing with now, that I've been practising with two and a half straight weeks in Dubai.

“I feel very comfortable, more comfortable than I did with the one after Wimbledon, which felt very different but very good as well. This one feels more of an extension that I had before, but it's more futuristic in form, I guess. I'm actually very eager to see how it's going to react in the matches now.”

The 32-year-old Federer also expressed his pleasure at seeing more former legends back involved on the ATP World Tour, following Djokovic’s appointment of Boris Becker and his own involvement with Stefan Edberg. With Murray about to begin his third season under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, the thought of ‘80s rivalries renewing themselves from the stands is a thought that excites Federer.

“I'm happy seeing former greats and legends excited to be doing such a job and wanting to help the next generations,” said Federer. “To bring them back into the game, I think it's a good thing.

“Maybe they get a taste of it and other greats and stars see that as well, that they're very welcome and we're so happy to see them.  Not just you guys, but also the players and everybody involved, the tournaments. I think it sends out a good message. It's going to be a good Australian Open, I'm sure.”

Date: 30th December 2013, Source: ATP

Roger Federer arrived in Brisbane, singles & doubles draw, new racket and other news you need to know

Swiss champion Roger Federer touched down in Brisbane early on Saturday morning and immediately faced the press.

“I feel very energised to be here even though it’s seven in the morning,” quipped the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

Top of the agenda was the recent announcement made by Federer that he will be joining forces with fellow former No.1 Stefan Edberg who will join his coaching team that also includes Severin Luthi.

“Severin, who has been part of my team for the last seven years, will do most of the weeks and Stefan has agreed to work with us for at least 10 weeks starting at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“There was only a few I thought of … he was a childhood hero of mine,” said Federer when asked why he chose to bring Edberg into his team.

“I’m sure he can bring a new angle to my game, which is good.”

Federer will make his Brisbane debut this week where he will be hoping to start his 17th season on Tour with his 78th career title.

“I was able to do more than I thought which is very encouraging,” he said.

“I didn’t play any exhibitions which allowed me to train extremely hard and for a longer period of time.

“It’s the first time in a year that I could practice three, four weeks in a row without any setbacks which has been the problem the last one and a half years.

“Every time I had training in the past I had setbacks, little aches and pains, especially in the back from time to time… which cost me confidence.

“These last few months have been important for me, feeling that movement is not an issue any more and I can go full out especially mentally more than anything,” said Federer who is shooting for his fifth Australian Open title later this month.

“It’s pretty simple here and in Melbourne, you want to do very well and get into the groove again.”

Early success for the Swiss ace will be high on his agenda following a difficult 2013 season that yielded just one title, in Halle.

“It was a more difficult and challenging year for me … hopefully I can have a better season.

“Deep down I’m still doing it because I love the game … I’m very fortunate.”

“Tennis is very important but it’s not everything,” added Federer whose wife Mirka will give birth to their third child in 2014.

So with an expanding family, is retirement on the cards?

“If retirement was the case I wouldn’t tell you anyway,” smiled Federer.

Roger on the new frame

“Yeah, I'm going to play in Australia with a similar model as in my first attempt. Actually, I wanted to take the test right after the U.S. Open again. But then I had so much to do with myself and my game, that I let it stay. Now I had more time to still make further small changes and to file with my outfitter company Wilson on the details,” said the Maestro.

“I feel it was the right time”

The Roger added ”It is a fact that the sport of tennis is constantly developing and the racket technology with him. Nevertheless, one must always think twice if you change something on his racquet. Because the club is extremely important. But now I have the feeling that the right time for a change there is. I've played through two and a half weeks with the new model and am confident. The racket suits me very well in the hand. But the truth is on the court. We will see in the tournaments in Australia as it affects.”

Federer's singles draw

Federer' projected Brisbane path to the final: Bye, Nieminen/Duckworth, Benneteau/Tursunov, Anderson/Chardy, Nishikori/Dimitrov

Federer and Mahut teams up for doubles

Tecau and Rojer have 25 doubles titles between them and were looking to get matches under their belt in Brisbane, but Federer and Mahut are now a looming threat with doubles credentials such as an Olympic gold for Federer in Beijing and a French Open final for Mahut in 2013.

If Federer and Mahut manage to upset the top seeds, they set up a possible spectators’ dream encounter with Jeremy Chardy and Grigor Dimitrov - the 2013 singles finalist often hailed “baby Federer” for his uncanny resemblance to the Swiss king.

Date: 28th December 2013, Source: Brisbane International

Roger Federer adds Stefan Edberg to coaching team

Roger Federer has announced that he will work with his childhood idol, Stefan Edberg, for 10 weeks in 2014.

Edberg will join Severin Lüthi starting at the Australian Open, which begins on 13 January.

"I am happy to announce that beginning in Melbourne, Stefan Edberg will join Severin Lüthi on my coaching team," said Federer in a statement on his website. "Severin, who has been part of my team for the last seven years, will do most of the weeks and Stefan has agreed to work with us for at least 10 weeks starting at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Stefan was my childhood hero, and I am really looking forward to spending time and learning from him."

Earlier this month, Edberg took part in a training week with Federer in Dubai.

"I'm really excited to be part of Roger's team and I hope together we can bring out his best tennis," said Edberg, a six-time Grand Slam singles champions and former World No. 1.

Federer has been without a second coach since he parted company with Paul Annacone in October.

Lüthi added, "Roger will play a full schedule next year so we both wanted to make sure we had a solid team in place. I want to continue to improve and innovate Roger's game and I really look forward to be working with Stefan. Like Roger, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stefan and I am sure he will bring a lot to our team as Roger continues to chase titles in 2014."

Date: 27th December 2013, Source: ATP

Stefan Edberg: I'm more than happy to coach Federer if he ask

Former tennis great Stefan Edberg has left open a possible coaching role with Roger Federer, with the Swede telling local media that he is ready to work with the 17-time grand slam champion if asked.

"It's a matter for us to find time to fit it in," the 47-year-old told Stockholm's Svenska Dagbladets on Thursday.

"If we can, I would be more than happy."

The six-time grand slam winner, who retired in 1996, has always been the childhood idol of Federer, who invited the Swede to work with him for a few days this month at his base in Dubai.

"The idea of the camp was that I would give my views and come up with some feedback. He wants to try some new things," said the serve-and-volley king.

Edberg added that he advised the 32-year-old Swiss to play a more attacking game in hope of avoiding long rallies with baseliners Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"I was very surprised that Federer asked because it's so long since I left tennis," he said.

"But I was also very flattered. I've never really thought about coaching and if it had not been Federer doing the asking, honestly, I would not have been interested."

While admitting there might be room for a meeting of the minds, Edberg displayed his traditional, discreet nature, refusing to go into details about what arrangements the tennis pair might have discussed.

"Of course I have some comments as to what needs to change and evolve, but it's not the done thing that I sit here and talk about it," he said.

"I think he will be coming back. He's a great player and all the pieces are in place, he can definitely win some more grand slam titles."

Recently Federer posted "Stefan Edberg just finished doing a training week with me and my team. It was great spending time with one of my childhood heroes!" on his Facebook and Twitter page.

In an interview with Swiss media, Roger Federer talks about his one-week training stint with former grand slam champion Stefan Edberg and left the door open on the possibility of a future collaboration.

"He left on Monday. I had contacted a few weeks ago to ask if he could consider spending a little time with us. He was my idol and I wanted to have his eyes. He is not a coach. But he still plays three times a week. He failed to see us on a tournament but eventually we thought it was better to wait and let him come here instead, away from everything. It was interesting for me and Seve (Lüthi). And Michael Lammer who is also with us. To spend time with him was pretty amazing actually.

"He has a completely different look. Ok, I'm new in here. I would like to tell you this, this and this. It was rewarding. Given all the success he has had during his career, I know from where he speaks. It is a bit the same level and we understand. And having Seve also there in the middle, it was really interesting. It discusses things with freshness and if he came here because he wanted to.

"So who knows ... there may be something to learn from it for next year. Maybe he can join us somewhere. Seve is my coach and is super good job. He spent 35 weeks with me. Almost a full-time coach. I am very pleased with himself. But if you can add a little something. Why not?"

Date: 20th December 2013, Source: AAP

Federer: I'm a better player than a decade ago

Roger Federer insists he is a better player now than when he won the first of his four Australian Opens a decade ago, and thus remains capable of adding to his 17-major singles haul at Melbourne Park next month. For the first time, he will start the year in Brisbane, with a resolution to improve a poor recent record against his leading rivals.

In a Friday teleconference with the Australian media to promote his January 8 charity event on Rod Laver Arena, A Night with Roger Federer, the Swiss champion also discussed his struggles from mid-season, when he made a shock second-round exit at Wimbledon, until reaching the final of his hometown event in Basel in October.

"I always believe that I have improved over the last 10 years, you know, that I've not gone backwards, and I've been able to win (the Open) 10 years ago, so I always feel as I move forward I am a more complete player, a better player," Federer said.

"That's why I will always believe that I can win, as long as my body is holding up and mentally I'm really hungry travelling the world and playing matches, and that is the case right now - I'm very healthy and training extremely hard.

"Some success has come back also at the end of last year, which is quite important for me, for my confidence, because I was really in a difficult spot from Wimbledon all the way till Basel, I'd say, with just fighting my confidence and then, particularly, also my back issue. I couldn't really train the way I wanted to for some time, and now it's really picked up again and I think I'm really moving in the right direction."

Eschewing his usual Middle Eastern preparation, Federer will resume tournament play in Brisbane from December 29, before contesting a 15th Melbourne Park grand slam. "I really hope to be playing my absolute best (there), which I really think is possible, and then anything is possible for me, I personally believe that.

"It's just important for me that I play better against the top guys. It's not been bad this year, but I just didn't land enough wins, so that's something I want to improve for this year."

Federer's ranking has slipped to sixth after his first season without a major finals appearance since 2002, although he won nine of his last 13 matches, reaching the Basel final, and performing solidly at both the Paris Masters and ATP World Tour Finals, after splitting with coach Paul Annacone in October. Overall, he won just four of 14 matches against other members of the top 10.

Still, he remains the sport's biggest name, and the 32-year-old who has long been courted by Brisbane officials, will return to the Queensland capital for the first time since a family holiday almost 18 years ago. He had, he said, contested every other Australian tournament - including the Hopman Cup with his now-wife Mirka - and was excited to complete the set.

"For me, it was clear for me that hopefully one time down the stretch I'm also going to go to Brisbane, especially now that it's such a good advantage. I know that Pat (Rafter's) from there, the arena is named after him, I used to play against him," Federer said.

"I vacationed in Brisbane as well when I was about 14 years old, so for me it's something I was really excited about, and maybe also just coming down early with the family is something we're looking forward to, to keep it simple, 'let's just go to Australia, settle down, and then go from there and play a nice good tournament'."

The charity function is timed to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Roger Federer Foundation, which supports the education of more than 86,000 children in southern Africa, as well as the superstar's first Australian Open triumph - in the 2004 final against Marcos Baghdatis.

A strong supporter of previous fundraising events on Rod Laver Arena for victims of the Haitian earthquake and the Queensland floods, Federer will play an exhibition match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and welcome a guest appearance from Laver himself, among the night's entertainment.

"I just thought it was the perfect place to do this. I'm excited it's really happening now," said Federer, whose philanthropic work began early in his career, and whose mother, Lynette is South African. "For me, it was somehow always clear, even though it wasn't like a planned thing, that eventually if I had an opportunity then I would try to give back, and then it was just like 'well, how do you give back?'

"And 10 years ago I already decided then to have the focus on education for kids between the age of sort-of three and 12, and have really quality education. It's something I'm very, very excited to support."

Date: 13th December 2013, Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Roger Federer and his agent Tony Godsick start their own firm representing athletes

In the latest shift in a sports management business that appears to be trending toward the boutique, Roger Federer has joined with his longtime agent Tony Godsick and two American investors to form an agency called Team8.

The company, based in the Cleveland area and headed by Godsick, will represent the interests of Federer, the 32-year-old Swiss tennis star, who is one of the world’s highest-earning and most popular athletes. But Team8 also has signed one of Federer’s main rivals, the fifth-ranked Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina, with input from Federer, who spent considerable time with del Potro on an exhibition tour of South America last year.

Grigor Dimitrov, a rising 22-year-old Bulgarian whom many tennis experts view as a potential Grand Slam champion, confirmed in an email that he would also join Team8, effective Jan. 1.

That would give the new agency a strong foothold in both the present and the future of tennis and would be a symbolic move for the 23rd-ranked Dimitrov, a player who was once nicknamed Baby Fed and whose flowing, all-court game and one-handed backhand have long elicited stylistic comparisons with Federer.

Godsick declined to confirm Dimitrov’s signing, but he did make clear that the intent was not to create another big agency in the mold of the International Management Group, where Godsick, an American, worked for nearly 20 years before he and Federer left in 2012.

“We’re trying to be a boutique agency that will manage just a small stable of iconic athletes,” Godsick said in a telephone interview from the firm’s new offices in Pepper Pike, Ohio, in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. “We’re really going to try to be selective here. Some of the other groups, they look to sign as many players as they can and hope a few of them stick and make it, and they really go after the juniors. We’re not going to.”

Godsick said that Team8 was also interested in acquiring or creating events and in representing athletes in sports other than tennis, as well as entertainers. He said that Federer, who is training hard and testing new rackets in Dubai after a difficult season in which he dropped to No. 6 in the rankings, would be a client and not an active partner for now. But Godsick said the agency had been created in part to give Federer a platform when he retires.

“I can sell Roger Federer really well, but nobody sells Roger better than Roger,” Godsick said. “I always joke with him, ‘Look, you’ve been really successful on the tennis court, but I promise you, you’ll be more successful when you’re done playing tennis.”

Max Eisenbud, a leading agent with IMG whose clients include Maria Sharapova and Li Na, said that a big agency had significant advantages in representing global stars because of global resources and manpower.
“I just don’t think I could manage my global clients on my own,” Eisenbud said.

Godsick said that he was particularly interested in signing a leading golfer in the near term.

“I think small is the new big,” he said. “We’re for more of a personalized approach, and you’ve seen it now with so many different athletes.”

The other investors are Ian McKinnon and the billionaire financier Dirk Ziff, the eldest of the three brothers who started Ziff Brothers Investments in 1992 after their father, William, sold his publishing interests.

Godsick, 42, began working with the former No. 1 player Monica Seles when he was at IMG on a summer internship. He later represented Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova and Tommy Haas.

Godsick is married to Mary Joe Fernandez, a former French Open and Australian Open finalist with whom he has two young children. Godsick began working with Federer in 2005 when Federer returned to IMG after managing many of his own business interests for a brief stretch.

Other leading agents expressed surprise that Godsick and Federer had decided to include other athletes in their project.

“Roger is going to have a legacy and a business that is going to live on well past his playing days, similar to a guy like Arnold Palmer in golf,” said John Tobias, president of Lagardère Unlimited Tennis. “I figured that would be enough, and I had to figure those figures post-career would be so solid that Tony would be just fine financially. Why he wants to take on additional responsibility, I’m not sure. I’m guessing it’s because Tony is a pretty competitive guy.”

Godsick said he had felt the desire to build something new, not just to manage Federer’s existing business, however lucrative. Forbes reported that Federer was the second-highest-paid athlete last year, at $71.5 million, behind Tiger Woods. Godsick and Federer’s move comes as IMG is on the verge of being sold. It also comes as Federer’s longtime rival Rafael Nadal has left IMG with his agent, Carlos Costa, and as Costa has reportedly expressed interest in signing a promising 17-year-old Chilean player, Christian Garin, to a management contract.

“Certainly with Carlos Costa and Tony Godsick, those are two big-name agents moving out on their own,” Tobias said. “I get a lot of questions - ‘Is this the trend?’ I really don’t think so. I think this is a case of just two employees not entirely happy in their situation with two incredible athletes to build around. Not everyone has that luxury. I don’t see that as a trend. If they didn’t have Federer and Nadal, I don’t think they’ve have taken the risk. Carlos and Tony are both very good agents, but the margins are very tough in athlete representation.”

Date: 12th December 2013, Source: The New York Times

Roger Federer: "Positive thinking boosts my morale for 2014"

2013 was Roger Federer's most difficult year since the beginning of his career - with back problems, uncharacteristic defeats, unbroken runs that ended, and a drop in the world ranking from two to six. But he still reached three finals and won his 77th major title at the grass-court tournament in Halle. And in the fall, at the indoor tournaments in Basel (final) and Paris (semi-final), things improved again quickly. This meant that, in the end, he qualified safely for the World Tour Finals in London for the 12th time in a row, where, thanks to wins over Richard Gasquet and Juan Martin Del Potro, he reached the semi-finals for the 11th time, in which he lost to Rafael Nadal. Afterwards he was looking forward to the forthcoming season with due confidence.

Marco Falbo: Roger Federer, you are ending 2013 ranked No. 6, after starting it ranked No. 2. How do you assess your season that has just ended?

Roger Federer: It was a very difficult year. It may have begun well with the semi-final in Australia, and it ended well. But it would be better to forget the months from March to October, despite the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the win in Halle. My back problems began at Indian Wells in March; after the match against Ivan Dodig, I shouldn't have kept playing, the games against Stanislas Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal were too much. After that, I fell behind with my training and was unable to catch up again because my back problems soon returned. In the summer too, it would have been better to have given up in Hamburg and Gstaad. These problems cost me a lot of time and threw me off course.

Was 2013 a lost year?

No year is lost. In the circumstances, it was actually an interesting season. It's no joke being injured, of course. But I had to get through it, I had to question everything. Along with the back problems, I had other setbacks of a kind I had seldom had in the previous ten years. But nonetheless it was an interesting experience – to see how different people reacted, and how I dealt with this situation myself. Sometimes, I could hardly move properly, and yet was sharply criticized by some people.

After always reaching at least the quarter-finals at 36 Grand Slam tournaments in a row, you lost in the second round at Wimbledon to Sergiy Stakhovsky. Was that the low point of your year?

Of course, that defeat was one of the biggest disappointments of my season. I went to Wimbledon convinced that I could win the tournament for the eighth time. But it wasn't a complete surprise for me. Because I hadn't played really well in Paris. Then Wimbledon was the start of the bigger problems.

Haven't these unaccustomed defeats against low-ranked players taken away your enjoyment of tennis?

Defeats are part of tennis. What matters is how you react. What is also important for me is that I am honest with myself. I am the sort of person who often questions everything; I did the same when things were going really well for me. That's why I am not affected much by the criticism, which I don't think is justified.

Where do you see yourself in terms of your performance? Have you come up against certain limitations, or do you think that you are still capable of top performances?

I can see no reason why I shouldn't play better again in 2014, and have some great wins. I have still got some major goals, because I certainly haven't forgotten how to play tennis; after all, I was still number one in the fall of 2012, and at the end of the season, once my back was better, my results also improved. I reached the final in Basel and the semi-finals at Paris-Bercy and the World Tour Finals, and beat top-ten players without playing my best tennis. If my serve or my forehand had been a bit more solid, the results could have been much better.

You achieved some of your best wins at the indoor tournaments. You contested 13 matches in three weeks, and beat top players such as Juan Martin Del Potro twice, Richard Gasquet, and Grigor Dimitrov. Were you surprised?

The end result is good, even though I would have liked to win a tournament. But that would perhaps have been asking too much, after such a year. After all, I was able to concentrate again fully on my tennis and on tactics for three weeks, and my body didn't give me any problems. In the preceding months, that had been different. That is a big step, and makes me want more. My self-confidence has also returned. By the end, everyone around me was talking positively again, the mood was much better than in the summer. That boosts my morale for the coming year, and it's a big relief. The fun has definitely returned.

What are your specific goals for 2014?

I would like to win about five tournaments again and play in great finals, that's where I have most fun. My ranking is less important to me, unless it's about being number one. But it would be good to be in the top four or top eight, to get good seedings.

Are there any changes in your planning in 2014?

Yes, they're already being prepared. I'm concentrating fully on my training; for once I won't be participating in any show tournaments, in contrast with 2012 when I went to South America. What is important is that I can train hard in Dubai in December without any setbacks. I think that it will take until April for me to catch up completely with my training. For once, I'll be opening the new season at the ATP tournament in Brisbane, after which it's the Australian Open.

Will you be testing rackets with bigger heads, as you did in the summer when you even contested two tournaments with one?

I will, for sure. Because this summer's tests don't tell us much because I wasn't able to play properly in Hamburg and Gstaad because of my back problems.

Stanislas Wawrinka has become a top ten player. Might that mean that you would be more willing to appear in the Davis Cup again? In particular, will you be there against Serbia in the first round in February 2014?

The situation is the same as two years ago. I've long known that Wawrinka could beat the best players, he hasn't had to prove anything to me for a long time. In the next few weeks I will make a decision about the Davis Cup. But at the moment I have no idea what it will be. But I am happy for Stan that things are going so well for him. It was a fantastic end of season, with two Swiss players in the semi-finals of the World Tour Finals. And neither of us knew right up to the final tournament at Paris-Bercy whether we would even qualify.

Novak Djokovic said in London that you were still very strong but that you had become a bit slower and didn't move as well as in the past. What's your response to that?

What he says is true. But it would also be strange if I could move wonderfully and at my best after a year when I couldn't train enough and in between times lost quite a bit of my self-confidence. I don't feel that I am as fast as in my best years, either. But despite that I can still compete with the best. That makes me feel positive. For months, I played while being afraid of back pains and got into bad habits in the process. On court, I was orientating myself to the back rather than to the front, I lost my usual aggressiveness. And somehow I became a different player. Now I need time to get all of that out of my system again.

Why did you split from your American coach Paul Annacone after more than three years? And what do you expect from a new coach?

It was a mutual split. We talked to each other in Dubai before the tournament in Shanghai and both of us had the feeling that it was the right moment. The split went as well as it possibly could. Paul will remain a good friend and we're still in close contact with each other. In Severin Lüthi, I still have a coach who has been extremely helpful for me for a long time. But I don't know if he can or wants to be on the road with me for 40 weeks next year. At the moment, I don't know if I am going to appoint a new coach at all. I'm very happy with my team.

How do you assess the situation at the top, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as numbers one and two?

The two players' achievements this year have been massive, and they are clearly better than the others. I think Nadal is the right number one, because he won two Grand Slam titles. I'm looking forward to seeing how the two of them start next season, they are quite clearly the ones to beat.

Date: 4th December 2013, Source: Credit Suisse