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World number one conserving his energy
By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter
Published: March 03, 2008, 00:47

Dubai: World number one Roger Federer is conserving his energies for better things on the ATP Men's Tour.

"I am saving myself for the bigger things that are yet to come for the remainder of the season," Federer told media a day before the start of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

The world's best player has had a comparatively quiet start to the season appearing at only the Australian Open in January where he slumped to a shock semifinal defeat to ultimate winner and fast improving Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

Time off

After spending a sedate few weeks, the 26-year-old Federer made history last month by becoming the first-ever winner of four Laureus World Sports Awards in St Petersburg.

He even had a stamp of him released by Swiss Post in April last year in his birthplace of Basel, Switzerland.

"This will be my second tournament in four months and I hope I will feel better as the season progresses because I am going to be busy indeed," Federer stated.

"Between Dubai and the US Open I will not be taking more than two weeks off. And then I will be thanking myself for taking some time off from the competition," he joked.

Federer admitted that he has been missing some real tournament action since the past four months.

"It feels really good to be back after a long four months. I haven't had this sort of feeling for a long time.

"I am really excited to be back," Federer stated.

Federer, who owns an apartment at the Dubai Marina, said that he loves to spend his time here due to several factors. But the most important one, according to him, is the privacy he can have as he pursues his tennis career.

"The weather is perfect and so also the training facilities here," Federer said.

"I tend to spend between three and four months of the year in Dubai.

"I come and practice here and at the same time, this is a good vacation spot," he added.

Federer's opponent in the first round today will be British lad Andy Murray, who is one of the few players on the tour who have defeated the world number one in the past.

"He is on the rise and also one of the best players who is gaining ground fast.

"I have not seen him play since the Australian Open.

"I haven't even played two tournaments, whereas he has already won two for the season," Federer said.

With this intention, the Swiss star landed in Dubai on February 19 and has been on a secret practice session since then.

And he first came to the Dubai Tennis Stadium for a practice session only last Friday.
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