Federer confesses to mistakes, vows to keep playing
BASEL – Roger Federer admitted on Sunday that he made serious errors in his planning which have contributed to a disastrous 2013 campaign but insisted that retirement is not on his agenda.
The 17-time Grand Slam title winner has slumped to number eight in the world, his lowest point in more than a decade, and failed to make a final at any of the four majors, a run of disappointments that has led many in the sport to predict the end of the road for the 32-year-old.
The Swiss, who split last week with coach Paul Annacone after more than three years, confessed that he could have done things differently.
“I played matches that I should never have played,” said Federer, ahead of his participation in his home Swiss Indoors event which starts on Monday.
“I should have left in Indian Wells (last March, with back pain) before the quarter-finals against (fellow Swiss Stanislas) Wawrinka. This summer, I should not have tried to play on clay in Hamburg and in Gstaad.
“But things always look better in hindsight. I wasn’t able to train as I wanted during my seven-week break following Indian Wells, I fell into a negative spiral.”
Despite his wretched year and seeing rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray carve up the majors, Federer insists that he will keep playing.
“As long as my body and mind is ready to go to travel, I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing, I’m successful. I’ll be playing for some time. That hasn’t changed due to a tough six months,” he added.
“Playing at the Rio Olympics is something I’d like to achieve. That doesn’t mean I’m going to end my career there, or earlier or later. It’s just an idea.”
Federer also said that his decision to split with Annacone – the man who helped Pete Sampras to greatness – was amicable.
“We had a great working relationship and a great friendship as well. That’s something I know is going to continue. We’re still in touch almost every other day,” said Federer.
“We talked a lot. It was always important to communicate about our feelings and that’s what we did after the training block in Dubai.
“It went really well, but I felt it was best to talk about it and he also thought it was good to have a change and end it there. I think we had a great three and a half years. All I can do is thank him for all his efforts. We got the most out of each other, which was the idea for the relationship.”
Federer also pronounced himself ready to battle to earn a place in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
The Swiss, who has won the year-ender six times, set out his goals for the final two weeks of the regular season as he prepared for a Monday start at the Swiss Indoors which he has won five times.
“I want to compete for London, but I’ve got to win matches to get there,” said the player currently standing provisional eighth in the race for the eight-man event.
“I need to approach this (goal) in the correct way. But I’m going to give everything I have to get to London.”
He said he would not short-change this week’s home tournament which lost Nadal as a drawcard when the Spaniard withdrew with fatigue.
“The focus is totally on this tournament. I’ll take it step by step in Basel and in Paris. I’m starting to focus on the first match (France’s Adrian Mannarino) and I hope it goes well.”
With only one trophy in 2013, the season is shaping up as the worst in more than a decade for the former world number one.
“I knew my trajectory this season – OK at the beginning, then difficult and not so bad recently. But today I feel ready, physically and mentally. In Basel, I’m playing at home. It’s an advantage which I intend to exploit.”
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