Roger Federer has discussed losing the world number one title to Rafael Nadal and insists that the result was well deserved as the Spaniard was the better player in the year as a whole. The veteran pinpointed the loss to Tommy Haas in Stuttgart and to Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai for missing out on the top spot.

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. Nadal also held his own in 2017 with two Grand Slams - the French Open and the US Open - taking his tally of titles to 16, three behind the Swiss ace's 19.

Nadal had the better of Federer in the year- end rankings by reaching the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters before eventually retiring with a knee problem. The run was enough to keep him atop the tables for the year, despite pulling out of the ATP World Finals with an injury after a defeat to Goffin.

However, Federer is wise to the problems of chasing the number one ranking as he is nearing an age when he will start making mistakes if he tries to do too many things.

"The world No 1 is interesting. It's the ultimate achievement in tennis in some ways. It always has been for me. But at this age, I think I'll make mistakes if I start chasing it. I'm not sure how much the body allows me to chase goals like this," Federer said, as quoted by the Australian.

"Maybe if I start thinking about it too often and too much, I think I'm maybe also not playing the way I'm supposed to be playing. Maybe I tense up. Maybe I'm nervous. Maybe that's not good for my back. Who knows what it is?

"I'm still far away from being close in the points with Rafa. The year played out the way it did, and Rafa was better. He deserves to be there. I'm really happy for him because he had a rough season as well in 2016. It's great for him.

"In Australia, I just hope to be fit again, to walk out on Rod Laver Arena and hopefully defend my title. But it's still very far away at this point. I don't have any regrets — but maybe losing to Tommy Haas and Donskoy ended up haunting me. I had match points in both matches."

Roger Federer
Roger Federer has won seven titles in 2017 including two Grand Slams Getty