Swiss star Roger Federer believes that world number one Rafael Nadal can better his tally of 17 Grand Slam titles by the time he retires.

The Spaniard currently has 13 slam titles, four short of Federer’s record.

And speaking to the Times of India prior to his second round clash in the Dubai Championships with Radek Stepanek, the former world number one spoke of his desire to win more slams whilst acknowledging the capabilities of his great rival.

“Could Rafa eclipse my record? Yeah, absolutely, I think he can.

“The good thing is though that I’m still playing and my goal is to add more titles to my count – and not just Grand Slam titles.

“I love any tournament I play in and Dubai is an important tournament for me.”

His words of optimism will come as a relief for his fans after an inconsistent 14 months that saw him fail to win a Slam and slide to eighth in the world rankings.

But his performances in January in both the Brisbane Open and Australian Open were signs that the Swiss still has plenty to offer to the sport.

“Doubt, the questions, they’re always there, in the best of times and worst of times,” he said when asked about the struggles of last season.

“I believe though, whatever the problem may be, if you identify it and work in it you’ll find a way past it.

“The worst is to walk around pretending all is well, when clearly it’s not.”

He has looked rejuvenated under the guidance of Stefan Edberg, who took over as coach in December, and is aiming to win a record sixth title in 11 years in Dubai.

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