Roger Federer has no plans to retire any time soon, the world number three and multiple grand slam champion said.
Speaking in an interview with Reuters in Dubai on 14 December ahead of his match at the Dubai leg of the International Premier Tennis League, the 34-year-old Swiss said he still had "the fire" in him to keep competing, and that he is still confident, is more relaxed on the court, and has more fun playing tennis than before.
"I still care very dearly and I still have the fire, so I think that will never go away until the day really is there where I retire when then everything just drops away," he said.
When asked if he had any plans to retire in the coming couple of years or so, his response was a clear and unequivocal "No. I've planned all of 2016, all the way through the Rio Olympics and beyond," he said, adding that he will be announcing his schedule for the coming year in the "coming weeks".
"Australia is obviously a big goal for me," he said, referring to January 2016's first grand slam, the Australian Open, an event he last won in 2010. "And after that it's going to be a long, tough year. So I'm happy, I'm feeling fine physically and in good shape and of course, like I say so many times I hope I'm still be on tour for a while. No plans to retire yet," he said.
On the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Federer said he was likely to compete in all three categories: men's singles, mixed doubles with Martina Hingis and men's doubles. "The Olympics for me is very unique. It's about representing Switzerland, making Switzerland proud," said Federer. The men's singles Olympic gold still eludes him, taking silver in the London 2012 final after losing to Britain's Andy Murray, but he said his aims were not just winning that title for the first time.
"I got a gold in doubles with Stan [Wawrinka] so I feel like I accomplished that dream already. Winning the silver was amazing at Wimbledon during the London Olympics, so I don't feel like the Rio Olympics necessarily has to be the singles gold like everybody talks about. That's why I'm going to be playing mixed doubles with Martina Hingis," he said. "I might also play the doubles with Stan Wawrinka, so I might enter myself in all three competitions to have the most possible chances to win medals for Switzerland," he added.
The top player of 2015 was Novak Djokovic, and Federer said that the Serb has been playing with "great confidence. I think he's been able to improve his weaknesses, if there were any, every player has some things he can do always better and I think he did a really nice job of cleaning up his game," said Federer.
"He's in a very good place right now mentally and physically and he shows it every single match. He's very committed, very serious and that's what you've got to be to win 97% of the matches," said Federer.
"It's going to take somebody, or a group of players to also push him to bring his level down. He's not going to just drop it like that and that's why I am personally working very hard in the off-season to make sure I will be very competitive against him next year," said Federer.