Federer heads to Shanghai fresh from 4-week break

Roger Federer isn’t worried about rankings as he heads into the

Shanghai Masters after a four-week break.

The third-ranked player says he has been working to improve

himself physically and mentally during his time away from

competition, which he said was more important than a top

ranking.

”I’m a strong believer that when I’m at my best I can beat

anyone,” Federer told reporters in Hong Kong on Thursday. ”But

there’s many guys around right now playing really, really well and

Rafael (Nadal) being the No. 1 guy is a tough guy to beat.”

Federer said Nadal deserved his top ranking after winning at the

French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open this year. However, Federer

has won a record 16 Grand Slam tournaments, including this year’s

Australian Open.

”Obviously he’s a stronger player today than a few years ago

but the same counts for me. Even though the ranking has slipped

maybe a little bit, I’ve only had time to improve as well and

become physically stronger, mentally stronger as a player,”

Federer said.

He predicted that the Shanghai Masters which start on Sunday

will come down to the top eight players, with Andy Murray and Novak

Djokovic in particular expected to do well.

For now, Federer said he’s happy to be healthy and looking

forward to the future – including the 2012 London Olympics. The

Swiss star won gold in doubles at the Beijing Olympics two years

ago, but lost in the singles quarterfinals to American James

Blake.

”Obviously I’d love to win at the Olympics in London in 2012

… but then again you never know what’s going to happen in such a

long time,” he said. ”So at the moment it’s not the focus, but I

would definitely love to take part in it and will try everything I

cannot to be injured for that huge event.”