SHANGHAI — Roger Federer’s expectations remain “very high,” even as he completes his worst season in more than a decade.
“My mindset now is, OK, next year is going to be a great year again, where I’m not going to have that many points to defend, especially at some very key moments where I consider myself a favorite,” Federer said at the Shanghai Masters. “For that reason, I’m really looking forward to 2014 already. But I feel like I also need the end of this year to prepare for ’14 because it has been a bit of a rocky patch the last couple of months. But my expectations will always remain very high. That will never change.
“As long as I’m physically and mentally fine, there’s no reason for me not to be taking part in the big matches. That’s what I’m looking forward to in 2014, to be part of those matches.”
Federer is in China this week for his first tournament since a fourth-round loss to Tommy Robredo at the U.S. Open last month. With that defeat, Federer finished a year without making a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002.
“It’s one of those things you just want to move on from,” said Federer, who did so by spending time with his family and training in Switzerland and Dubai. “But I think my game’s been coming back, which has been very important. Now it’s about staying positive and working hard every single day. That’s been the mindset.”
The 32-year-old Swiss has fallen to No. 7 in the rankings near the end of a season in which he’s gone 35-12 with one title. Federer’s immediate goal is to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals for the 12th year in a row. The six-time champion is seventh in the Race to London standings (the top eight qualify), 85 points ahead of No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka and 105 points ahead of No. 9 Richard Gasquet.
“I consider it the absolute best-of-the-best tournament out there, so I want to be part of that,” Federer said.