Roger Federer has hinted at a change in schedule going into the final part of the 2017 tennis season after revealing that staying fit until the end of the campaign has taken priority over chasing Rafael Nadal for the number one ranking.
The Swiss ace was expected to play four events apart from the recently concluded Laver Cup following the US Open, but has now admitted that he could play just three: "Now I have Laver Cup, Shanghai, Basel, Paris and London. That's my schedule, and it won't change," he said after his loss at Flushing Meadows, as quoted by the Metro.
Federer's next appearance will be at the Shanghai Masters that starts on 8 October after which he will return to his homeland for the Basel Open. He was expected to play the Paris Masters after but has now indicated that he could skip it and play the ATP Finals in London as his third and final event of the year.
The 36-year-old has had one his best campaigns in recent years winning five titles including two Grand Slam events – the Australian Open and the Wimbledon – but picked up a minor back injury in the second half of the season, which forced him to miss the Cincinnati Masters.
Federer is not ready to risk another occurrence of injury and has made it clear that he will only play when he is ready and will not force himself for the sake of the catching Nadal in the race for the year-end number one.
The Spaniard's triumph at the US Open has put him 1960-points ahead of the Swiss in number two and Federer revealed that his commanding lead was one of the reasons, the race has become secondary as remaining fit takes top priority.
"Next week's will be extremely important with Shanghai, Basel, maybe Paris and ATP Finals in London. My goal is to get to Shanghai early, maybe on Friday. Basel will take priority over Bercy," the 19-time men's singles Grand Slam champion said.
"It [the year-end world No. 1 ranking] became a little bit secondary for me as Nadal got far away. I will focus on myself and I will play only when I am ready.
"Back was really doing bad after Montreal and there was a little problem after another. After the last match played in New York I felt really happy to take a break. Now I am doing well," Federer added talking about his back injury at the Montreal Masters.