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Federer savoring late-season surge

By Agence France Presse in Basel, Switzerland | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-23 07:31

Swiss superstar is making belated run at regaining world No 1 ranking

Life couldn't be better - or more surprising - for Roger Federer as the 33-year-old takes aim at multiple major goals starting with a sixth title at his home Swiss Indoors.

The top seed admitted on Tuesday his current situation even has him surprised, with Switzerland playing France in the Davis Cup final next month.

Federer also has a decent shot at regaining the world No 1 ranking, given the right circumstances.

He has been training on clay for the Davis Cup showdown but is now back to total concentration on the slow indoor hard court at St. Jakobshalle, where he has reached the last eight finals at the stadium where he got his start in the game as a ballboy.

"It's a nice feeling being back in an arena that I know so well and have had so much success," said the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who opens on Wednesday in the first round against Luxembourg's Gilles Mueller.

"It feels great right now, I'm happy I'm playing so well since the (spring) birth of (twin sons) Leo and Lenny," said the recent Shanghai champion.

"I'm happy Switzerland made the Davis Cup finals. We've put ourselves in an exciting position. An away tie in France is cool.

"And the fact that I've gotten so close to the No 1 ranking is a bit of a surprise for me. I've not won a Slam this year but I was extremely close at Wimbledon (fifth set against Novak Djokovic.)

"I've played very consistently or I would not be in this position. It's a very different year end for me. But If I don't win a few more titles, No 1 won't happen. Right now, it's all to play for. I want to start it well here in Basel."

In addition to all of those objectives, Federer has the eight-man World Tour Finals in London to concentrate on the week before the Cup final.

With his crowded schedule, Federer said he almost opted not to play in Shanghai, where he won the Masters 1000 title for the first time two weeks ago, beating Frenchman Gilles Simon.

"I had considered not playing Shanghai and then playing Vienna. But at the end, I decided to go to Shanghai. If that had not gone well, I might have even skipped Paris (next week) to train on clay.

"But in the current situation, I'm feeling good. I had two weeks of vacation after the (September) Davis Cup semi-finals. There was even the possibility of not playing here for safety in case I had felt tired or injured after Shanghai.

"I'm happy I decided to play here. I'll take it from here ... but it's likely I'll also play Paris."

Federer heads a field where second seed Rafael Nadal is playing for the first time in a decade. The Spaniard won his opener on Monday, beating Simone Bolelli.

While the tournament draw was being finalized, Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka was going down to defeat in his opening match, losing to Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3.

The match was interrupted for 30 minutes as high winds buffetted city electric cables and caused a sudden dimming of stadium lights to below acceptable levels.

Meanwhile, fourth seed Milos Raonic of Canada began his effort to battle back into the top eight, beating American Steve Johnson 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Raonic has been hampered for several weeks with a virus he picked up in Asia.

"I managed to stick around in that first set," he said. "I felt I was playing better and better, but I need to get significantly better for my next match. But I feel like I'm on the right track."



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