Federer eyes London finale
Roger Federer returns to action in Shanghai this week determined to book a place at the ATP's season-finale in London.
The 17-time grand slam champion won his first-round doubles match with China's Zhang Ze at the Shanghai Masters on Monday and will play either Lleyton Hewitt or Andreas Seppi in his opening singles match later in the week.
This has traditionally been a very successful time of year for Federer, and he will need it to be so again if he is to qualify for the end-of-season Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena.
The 32-year-old, who has qualified for the season-ending event in each of the last 11 years, told the ATP's official website: "It was the goal at the beginning of the season to qualify for (London).
"I consider it the absolute best-of-the-best tournament out there, so I want to be part of that. It's extra motivation for me to play well and be part of that great tournament."
Federer has won the elite eight-man tournament a record six times, including twice in London, but his place is by no means guaranteed even if Andy Murray, as expected, pulls out following back surgery.
Federer is currently seventh in the standings but Stanislas Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are not far behind.
It has been Federer's worst season in more than a decade, with his most recent disappointing loss coming in the fourth round of the US Open when he was beaten in straight sets by Tommy Robredo. He has not played since.
Federer, though, is encouraged by how he has been playing in practice and is already optimistic about what he can achieve in 2014.
"It's one of those things you just want to move on from," said Federer of the Robredo loss.
"I think my game's been coming back, which has been very important. Now it's about staying positive and working hard every single day.
"My mindset now is next year is going to be a great year again where I'm not going to have that many points to defend, especially at some very key moments where I consider myself a favourite. For that reason, I'm really looking forward to 2014 already.
"It has been a bit of a rocky patch the last couple of months but my expectations will always remain very high. That will never change.
"As long as I'm physically and mentally fine, there's no reason for me not to be taking part in the big matches."