Former World No. 1 Roger Federer has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. The 17-time Grand Slam champion is currently ranked at no. 6 in the Emirates ATP rankings, a position he had not been at since 2003 and will be looking to regain his former glory, starting with the Australian Open in Melbourne.
While it may not have been the best of years for the Swiss No. 1, he believes that he has improved tremendously since he first won the Australian Open title approximately a decade ago and that if he is mentally and physically prepared, there should be no reason as to why he could not win it for a fifth time in 2014.
“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 Australian 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 traveling the world and playing matches, and that is the case right now—I’m very healthy and training extremely hard.”
The 2013 season was not all bad; Federer was able to salvage the season at the end when he reached the finals in Basel (lost to del Potro), the semi-finals of the Paris Masters (lost to Djokovic) and the semi-finals of the Barclays World Tour Finals (lost to Nadal). According to Federer, the wins at the end of the season were crucial for his confidence heading into the new year.
“Some success has come back also at the end of [this] year, which is quite important for me, for my confidence, because I was really in a difficult spot from Wimbledon all the way til 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.”
Federer will begin his season at the Brisbane International, where he is competing for the first time in his career. The purpose behind this new stop is to maximize preparation in order to peak for the Australian Open.
“I really hope to be playing my absolute best (in Melbourne), which I really think is possible, and then anything is possible for me, I personally believe that,” the Swiss said. “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.”