There is no doubting the fact that 2013 will go down as the worst season for Roger Federer since he became a Grand Slam champion, but that hasn't stopped the 17-time Grand Slam champion from expecting a lot out of himself in 2014.
Federer, who is currently competing at the Shanghai Masters, was asked about what he expects after a season that saw him fail to advance to a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002, and said he is still optimistic that he can be a part of the big matches in 2014 if he stays healthy.
"I’m really looking forward to 2014 already, but I feel like I also need the end of this year to prepare for ’14 because 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. That’s what I’m looking forward to in 2014, to be part of those matches.”
Federer, who won Wimbledon in 2012, has made it to just one semifinal since that win and got bounced in the second round of Wimbledon this season and the fourth round at the U.S. Open, two surprises considering the consistency of Federer over the years, but the game is changing and it has been tough for Federer, who turned 32 in August, to keep up.
Novak Djokovic has become the type of champion that never seems to falter in the big matches like he used to, Andy Murray has become a serious contender in every big tournament, and Rafael Nadal had an epic return in 2013 that saw him win two majors after some serious time away from the game because of injury.
Federer might still be able to compete in the big matches, but this is a man that wasn't born to compete, he was born to win, and it's going to be tough if he has to go another full season getting beat up by the top players in the game.
Now ranked No. 7 in the world, it isn't getting any easier for Federer, but I would say being 100 percent healthy for the next season should be his top priority, and if he can get there then maybe the matches will sway a little more in his favor over the course of the next few months.