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Federer hopes to play 2016 Games in Rio
SAO PAULO (AP) - Roger Federer says he won’t play as often in the next few years and hopes to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 31-year-old Federer says he’ll be more mindful about the tournaments he plays in the future to make sure he can keep playing at a high level.
“I have to make sure that I take care of my schedule, of my body, of my mind,” he said Thursday before an exhibition match with Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. “Hopefully I can still stay on tour for many more years and hopefully play the Olympics here in three and a half years or so, so I have to look far ahead and not just the next six months.”
Others in the exhibition include Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tommy Robredo and Tommy Haas. The Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, are also participating.
Federer has competed in four Olympics, winning gold in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in singles at the London Games.
The Swiss player said he’d love to make it to Rio in four years.
“There is a lot of passion for sports here,” said Federer, the winner of 17 Grand Slams. “It’s a hot place to play tennis right now.”
Federer, who ended the season No. 2, said this year was especially difficult for him because he was committed to the Davis Cup and London Games, which took him away from practice and his family.
“I’ve played a lot of tennis. It’s been a big challenge, especially with the Olympics and the Davis Cup this year,” he said. “I found my way back to world No. 1 and it took a lot of sacrifices. I’d like to be home a little bit more often and in a relaxed fashion.”
Still, he said it was a rewarding season.
“I’m very happy that I’m still playing at a very high level,” said Federer, who won six titles this year, including Wimbledon. “I had one of my best years on tour this year, and one of the most emotional ones, of course. Next year tournament victories will probably be more important than the rankings, that’s why I need to make sure I practice a lot next year.”
Federer played 21 tournaments in 2012, the most among the top four players. No. 1 Novak Djokovic played 18, No. 3 Andy Murray played 20 and Rafael Nadal, nursing a knee injury, played 18.
“I’m not going to play 25 tournaments, but every tournament that I will be playing I’ll be emotionally attached to it, because I either won there before or because I’ve been there many times or because I love the city or the country and the fans,” he said. “Today, I’ve reached a point in my life that I can pick and choose where I want to play and how much I want to play.”
One of the tournaments he left out of his 2013 schedule was Miami, the Masters event in March he has played since 1999 and won twice.
“Miami was a tough decision for me,” he said. “But I have to take some time off, first of all, but most importantly, I need to practice. This year I couldn’t practice at all. Something had to go in the calendar and that was Miami, unfortunately.”
By John R. Bolton
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