Roger Federer admits his priorities have shifted due to his commitment to his family, but warned that despite his reduced schedule, he can still compete for the No1 ranking and more Grand Slam titles.
The world No2 is scheduled to participate in only 14 tournaments this season compared to last year’s 17, dropping the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami and his home tournament in Basel from his schedule. He says he will now have more time dedicated to practice.
Federer will not be playing between Indian Wells and Madrid, which means he has up to seven weeks of break from the Tour.
“To have a few weeks of vacation and then four, five weeks of practice. That’s what it’s about,” the 17-time Major champion said in Dubai.
“My family is obviously very important to me, so I want to spend quality time with them. I can’t play a year like I did last year every single season, because that’s not the point I am at in my career. I’m not 22 years old now.
“It’s a big important break and preparation for me and I hope to be physically healthy so I can train as hard as I would like to.”
The 31-year-old explained that his reduced schedule should not be mistaken for being a sign of a looming retirement.
“With practice, I just want to give myself the best possible chance to play as long as I can and then eventually it will be clear that it is time to stop. But it’s definitely not now.
“After Wimbledon I’ll have another break. So it’s important combining that with what I did in December, then April, then again in June and then at the end of the year.
All of a sudden we’re talking four big build-ups, which then should have an impact on my game, my stamina and on my future.”
The five-time Dubai champion is currently over 3000 points behind Novak Djokovic in the rankings and playing less may suggest he realistically can’t eclipse the Serb like he did last year with a fuller schedule.
But Federer says the possibility of regaining the top spot is still there: “It’s absolutely realistic if you play great. But you need to play absolutely great. “It’s important to have your priorities. I know it’s possible to win tournaments.
"But now the big focus is on making sure I am perfectly prepared for every event I enter. I strongly believe I’ve got more Slams in me.”