Roger Federer expects top players such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka to make a comeback next year and start challenging competitively, which will make it all the more difficult for the likes of the Swiss ace and Rafael Nadal to do as well as they did in 2017.
Federer had a disappointing end to the 2017 campaign, losing the ATP World Tour semi-finals to David Goffin, thus ending a fine run, leading to a total of seven titles, including two Grand Slams - the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He lost out to Nadal in the race for the number one spot, with the Spaniard having had an equally promising year.
Federer was in contention until the end of the year, but his withdrawal from the Paris Masters confirmed Nadal as 2017's top-ranked player. Federer recently admitted that his withdrawal from the Cincinnati Masters and his early exit at the US Open which Nadal won were the key points in him losing the race to finish at the top.
Nadal has also had a brilliant 2017, winning six titles, which include two Grand Slams – the French and the US Open. However, Federer believes that it will be difficult to replicate their success next year, with other frontline players coming back into the fray.
"I expect obviously from the likes who have been extremely high up in the rankings, who have won slams, like Stan, Andy and Novak, of course I expect greatness from them," Federer said, as quoted by the Express.
"When they return at some stage, not maybe from the very beginning. But I wouldn't be surprised if it worked out for them as well like it worked out for me. And Rafa. You always got to expect a slow process. Then if it goes fast, that's great. Look, we all had to take a time off. I didn't choose to take the time off last year. You make me look like a genius sometimes. You take time off, you come back, you're good again."