Tennis: ‘Win hasn’t given me an edge for 2012' - Roger Federer
ROGER Federer today dismissed suggestions he will go into 2012 with a psychological edge after finishing the season in perfect fashion by retaining his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title in London yesterday.
It completed a superb couple of months for the new world number three, who also won titles in his home town of Basle and at the Paris Masters to climb back above Andy Murray in the rankings.
Federer's record of 17 victories and no losses since his US Open semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic was in stark contrast to the other members of tennis' big four.
Murray had a superb autumn with back-to-back titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai but that took its toll as he hobbled out of the O2 Arena with a groin injury having played only one of his three scheduled group matches.
World number one Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, made no attempt to hide their physical and mental exhaustion.
For Djokovic the challenge will be coping with the pressure of expectation and defending so many points after his sensational year.
Nadal still has the Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina to come this weekend, and returning to his favoured clay should provide some much-needed reassurance after a difficult week in London.
But the Spaniard has clearly struggled with his game and his mind this season, fuelled by a series of high-profile losses to Djokovic.
He won only three titles in 2011, his lowest tally since 2004 and all on clay, and has much work to do to rediscover his best form.
Federer said: "I felt like I played great during these last few weeks. I felt I played great here in London. It gives me a lot of confidence for next year.
"But, regardless of how it went here, I would have been in a good state of mind for next year. And I think that counts for all the other top guys as well.
"Novak was the player of the year, which goes without saying. A guy who can win (41) matches in a row from the start of the season completely deserves it until the very end of it.
"I thought Andy played a very good season this year. Just unfortunate he couldn't finish here strong. I think he's going to be very tough to beat next year.
"And Rafa with his class, he's always going to be a threat for the throne, to win all the big tournaments. I think the prospects are good."
Federer failed to win a grand slam title in a calendar year for the first time since 2002, and he knows it will be just as tough to break that run next season.
"Sure, to win grand slams would be nice," he said.
"I've missed out on a few occasions now this year, and maybe also some last year. So I feel like it might be around the corner. Maybe not. The other players obviously have a role to play in this."