• ATP World Tour Finals

Federer pain-free at last after back troubles

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 10, 2013 « Nadal floors Federer to reach final | Chartbeat test »
Roger Federer only won one title this season © Getty Images
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Roger Federer has revealed he is now playing without any back pain despite crashing out of the ATP World Tour Finals.

The record six-time champion fell to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in straight sets, bringing to an end a difficult season, one in which he won only one title, in Halle, and tumbled in the rankings to seventh after beginning the year in second.

Despite losing out to Nadal, Federer was happy with the week he has had, which included a comeback victory over Juan Martin del Potro and a tough encounter against Novak Djokovic.

"I learned that I can play three weeks pretty easily," Federer said, having reached the final in Basel, the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and the last four in London. "I played a lot of matches, a lot of three-setters, so that's very satisfying that the body can do that."

He also said he is now playing without any problems in his back, after previously admitting to making an error during the middle part of the year when he participated in events with the injury.

"Beating two top-10 players is a good thing for me after not beating any for almost seven or eight months. Considering the back issues I've had, I'm pleased that I've been pain-free for a long period of time now with a lot of tennis. That's definitely going to give me confidence physically and also mentally," he said.

Meanwhile, he has set himself the target of winning at least "five titles" next year, hoping to do better than he did in 2013.

"Winning five titles would be something exciting, leaving tournaments as the winner. That's what keeps things exciting," Federer said after his loss to Nadal.

The 32-year-old was asked whether he had any concerns about being low down in the rankings, but the Swiss revealed there is only one spot he has eyes on. "If it's not world No. 1, then I'm not interested in it. It would be nice to stay in the top four, top eight, for seeding purposes more than anything else. But other than that, it's either world No. 1 or winning tournaments," Federer stated.

The desire still remains from the all-time great to lift an 18th grand slam to add to his record tally next season. "Clearly grand slams are going to be part of my highlights, and I'm hoping to make sure I play my best there," he said.

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