Roger Federer is set to return to action for the first time since playing his part in Switzerland's Davis Cup win, and he's ready for a strong conclusion to the season.
The 33-year-old joins the Asian Swing much later than some of his opponents, but is ready to make an impression at the Shanghai Masters, which has already begun, although Federer will benefit from a bye into round two.
A scrap has been in full flow between the players outside of the top five and around the top 10 as they battle to gain enough ranking points to feature at the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
However the Swiss legend - winner of 17 Grand Slam titles - qualified a while ago following an encouraging year, and he's had time to relax on holiday with his family.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have also been assured of their places at the season-ending Finals at London's O2 Arena for a comfortable amount of time, but they both returned at the China Open in a bid to gain momentum.
Djokovic won the final in Beijing against Tomas Berdych while Nadal struggled on his return from a lengthy injury lay-off, Federer will now be hoping to provide competition for the pair in Shanghai.
He knows, however, that with so much at stake for his other opponents, it won't be an easy tournament: “Of course, the wish is to win the tournament here,” said Federer to the ATP website.
“I've never been able to win it other than the Masters Cup here, but never when it was a Masters 1000. That is the goal, no doubt about it. I feel my game is good enough now, but the field is very strong. Tough draws for all the top guys. A lot of guys are fighting to get into the race for the World Tour Finals in London, so there's a lot of pressure on many of the guys.
Nonetheless tennis' most successful ever star feels much better for his rest. Before playing for his country in the Davis Cup, Federer was shocked in the semi-finals of the US Open as his pursuit for major no.18 failed at the hands of eventual winner Marin Cilic.
“I think confidence is a big thing in tennis, and I have it now,” he continued. “Clearly there's a bit of a reset now, because after Davis Cup I needed a rest. I took a vacation. I practised hard to get back in shape. I have a good chance to do well here in Shanghai now because it's a one off event.”
The world no.3 may have the license to relax, for now, but Federer will no doubt be desperate to win the Tour Finals come November.
“The World Tour Finals is huge for me, a big goal,” he insisted. “It's what I wanted to qualify for. It's where I've played so well in previous years. It’s always been a very special event for me throughout my career, ever since I qualified here [in Shanghai] in 2002 for the first time, I guess."
Indeed Federer has a fine record in the finals even if Djokovic has had the upper hand in recent years.
The former world no.1 has won the Finals six times before, nobody has ever won it more times, with his last triumph coming in 2011.
Current world no.1 Djokovic will be looking to cut the deficit whilst adding to his own haul of three titles, and the Serbian star is in fine fettle at the moment following his China Open title.
Aside from Djokovic and Federer, Nadal is currently the only other man who has qualified - although the coming weeks should start to make the line-up clearer as the clock ticks...
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