LONDON: The Olympic tennis tournament remains the only big singles title Roger Federer has yet to add to his collection.
Looking ahead to next season, though, it’s not the Rio de Janeiro Games that are at the top of his mind.
“It’s not my No. 1 priority. It starts with the Australian Open, which is just around the corner,” Federer said Sunday after losing to Novak Djokovic in the title match at the ATP finals.
“That’s what I see next. Then once Australia’s over, that’s when I look more towards the future.”
Rio should surely be the last chance the 34-year-old Federer gets to collect that elusive singles gold medal.
He won doubles gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Stan Wawrinka, but lost the singles final to Andy Murray at the London Games in 2012, shortly after beating the Briton for his seventh Wimbledon title on the same Centre Court at the All England Club.
He’ll be less familiar with the surroundings in Rio, although he remembers fondly his trip to Brazil to play exhibition matches in 2012.
“I don’t know what the crowd support is going to be like (in Rio). I had a blast in Sao Paulo, the three matches I played there. All of South America was fantastic, to be honest,” Federer said.
“For me to have done that trip, it was the trip of a lifetime. It was one of my favorite 10 days of my life if I just talk about tennis. It was really that cool.”
Federer lost 6-3, 6-4 to Djokovic on Sunday at the O2 Arena, having also been defeated by the top-ranked Serb in the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year. But when it comes to working on his game in the offseason, it’s not necessarily about finding ways to get the better of his rival.
“Not really, because I feel like I need to work on my overall game that is going to have an impact against most of the players,” Federer said.
“For me, Rafa (Nadal) is the unique player in the field. I used to work more precisely towards him.
“With Novak, it’s more straightforward. If you don’t play very well, you’re going to have a hard time. If you’re going to play better, I know I have my chances with my game.”