Roger Federer is hoping that his decision to take a mid-season break in 2017 will help him in the final tournaments of the campaign as he looks to battle Rafael Nadal for the year-end number one ranking.
The Swiss ace skipped the entire clay court swing of the season, taking almost a nine-week break in order to remain fresh for the rest of the campaign and give him a better chance in tournaments like Wimbledon and the US Open, which play more to his strengths unlike the clay court events.
Federer confirmed that the break was not pre-planned and he was only able to take it owing to his performances at the start of the campaign when he lost just once in four events. He won the Australian Open beating Nadal in the final and went on to complete a sunshine double by winning the Masters Series titles at Indian Wells and Miami.
The 36-year-old returned to action in June when the grass court season began at the Eastbourne Open and went on to win further titles at Halle and a record eighth Wimbledon title. However, that was his last title as he succumbed to defeat in the quarter-finals of the US Open, which Nadal won to make it two Grand Slams in each for both of them in 2017.
Nadal and Federer are currently ranked number one and two in the world, respectively, and go into the final four events of the year battling for top spot. The former – who is 2,360 points ahead – remains the favourite, but the latter is hoping that his reduced schedule will give him an upper hand going into the final part of the campaign.
"Taking sort of nine weeks off in the clay court season wasn't something actually I had planned," Federer said, as quoted by the Express. "That only came by me winning the Australian, Indian Wells and Miami.
"That gave me that opportunity that I should maybe take it easy and save myself for the rest of the season. So I hope that I will feel the benefit now while other guys are maybe getting a bit tired.
"I'm actually still fresh in a sense because I didn't play that much this season. I'm used to playing 70, 90, 100 matches a season, so this year that's not the case," the 19-time men's singles Grand Slam winner explained.
"That's why I feel refreshed for Shanghai, and also for Paris and London."