NEW YORK (Reuters) - His back is feeling better and now Roger Federer wants to show everyone he is back.
With a record 17 grand slam titles under his belt, Federer has nothing left to prove but try telling that to the Swiss master.
After years of being at the top of world tennis, Federer is taking no satisfaction from his slow decline.
He has won just one of the last 14 grand slam events and has almost been forgotten in the lead-up to this year’s U.S. Open with Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray dominating the discussion.
But the 32-year-old, a five-time winner of the U.S. Open, insists he is not a spent force and he has his sights set on winning another title at Flushing Meadows.
“Clearly when I come here I don’t just look at trying to make quarters, you know,” he told reporters.
“I‘m clearly here trying to win the tournament, but it starts at the very beginning and that’s Monday.”
By his own standards, Federer has had a poor year. At Wimbledon, his favorite tournament, he suffered a shock second round loss and he started to slide down the world rankings.
He is seeded seventh for the U.S. Open, his lowest seeding in over a decade, but says nothing should be read into that.
”The rankings fluctuate a lot, especially if you don’t play so well,“ he said. ”If you play great you move up or go down rather quickly.
”The ranking actually itself is secondary but I have looked at the rankings my whole life. I used to be incredibly excited on Monday seeing how many spots my ranking went up or down.
“Usually it was more excited that it was going up. The older you get the less you pay a bit of attention about it. But nevertheless, clearly want to move up from here.”
Federer’s drop has not gone unnoticed, with former world number one John McEnroe suggesting his days of winning grand slams are over.
But Federer disagrees, saying he was feeling better than ever after a back problem which troubled him earlier this year had been resolved and he had gone back to his old racquet.
“My mind was with my back more than anything else. I‘m happy that I‘m playing well again,” he said.
“The confidence is back in my movement and I’ll go back to the racquet I know or the racquet I have won everything with.”
Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by Gene Cherry