Former world No.1 Roger Federer has all but dismissed speculation he will retire soon after claiming his tough 2013 season had been one of his most enjoyable.
On paper, 2013 was Roger Federer’s worst season in 11 years.
But the former world No.1 insisted it was one of his most enjoyable.
All but dismissing talk he may retire soon, the 17-time grand slam winner said this year’s challenges had only made him stronger.
Federer, 32, this year failed to reach a grand slam final for the first time since 2002.
And in another worrying stat, his second-round defeat at Wimbledon ended his run of 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances.
The Swiss master on Saturday revealed the personal crisis he faced in 2013 when he touched down ahead of his Australian Open warm-up, the Brisbane International starting on Sunday.
However, the four-time Australian Open champion did not sound like a man drawing the curtain on his glittering career any time soon.
Still buzzing from the news that he and wife Mika would receive a welcome addition in 2014, Federer said he relished the challenges that lay ahead – on and off the court.
“Tennis is very important but it is not everything, especially when you have family,” he said.
“That’s why as crazy as it sounds I actually enjoyed this year with all the setbacks that I had, trying to find a way out of it.
“The most difficult part was when I didn’t know how.
“I just thought ‘let’s be patient, keep working hard and hopefully success is going to come back’.
“I had so many incredible seasons in a row that a season like that is ok from time to time.”
But Federer admitted ahead of his 17th season that the “longer the year went the more difficult it became for me”.
“At the French Open …that’s when things started to get worse,” said Federer who lost his quarterfinal to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.
“Against Tsonga I could sense there was something wrong with my game.
“I was lacking practice, matches and fitness because of all the (injury) set backs I had.
“Within myself I knew realistically you can’t aim for winning grand slams right away, that’s why it was a more difficult and challenging season.
“(But) I am happy I got out of it okay. I finished sixth in the world which is unbelievable for me, after all the problems that I had.”
Federer said he was now “energised” and ready to again challenge the best after enjoying a rare, untroubled off-season.
Asked if he had thought about retirement, Federer said: “Not really.
“People are always going to jump in and say ‘this is it’, and that’s what happened this year.
“Critics are a part of the game.
“But they are the last guys to push me out of this game.
“Deep down I am doing it because I love the game. And now I don’t want to waste any more opportunities.”
Federer confirmed his “childhood hero” Stefan Edberg would join his support team under head coach Severin Luthi in 2014.