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Confident Federer looks to 2006

Federer is on course to take the Masters title in Shanghai

(Keystone)

The world's number one tennis player, Roger Federer, says his game plan for 2006 is to retain his top-ranking position.

But the Swiss star told swissinfo a recently sustained ligament injury was still bothering him, and every match was a struggle.

On Tuesday, Federer had to dig deep to beat Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic and book his place in the semi-finals of the Masters Cup in Shanghai. He eventually won 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4).

But the Swiss player had no trouble in Saturday's semi-final, taking less than an hour to crush Argentinian Gaston Gaudio 6-0, 6-0. He now goes on to meet David Nalbandian in Sunday's final.

"My foot is still swollen before and after the matches and I am fighting on the court to get through every match here in Shanghai," a determined Federer told swissinfo ahead of the semi-final.

He said he was amazed to have got this far, after his injury forced him to forgo the Madrid Masters last month.

Before his unplanned break from the game, the Swiss player had notched up an impressive series of victories, winning two Grand Slam titles: Wimbledon and the US Open.

But earlier in the year there was disappointment when he was knocked out of the Australian Open and a few months later failed in his quest to win the French Open for the first time.

Game plan

Looking back over his most successful year so far, the 24-year-old said the highlight had been winning the two grand slams and holding onto his world number one ranking.

"The year was great all round," he said, adding that his target for 2006 was to remain on top.

But Federer revealed there was still a question mark over his partnership with coach Tony Roche. It remained to be seen whether the part-time coaching arrangement would be extended.

"I have to speak to Tony Roche to see if he still wants to continue next year," the tennis star told swissinfo.

Although his focus would be on retaining his world number one status, Federer said he would make time for the Swiss Davis Cup team.

"The Davis Cup is a big priority for me, especially playing at home in Switzerland. But my goal is still to be number one and I have to see how I will go with my foot and other injuries."

swissinfo

Key facts

Roger Federer:
In 2005 two Grand Slam wins: Wimbledon and the US Open.
Knocked out of Australian Open in January and French Open in June.
80 victories so far this year.
On Saturday, booked his place in Sunday's final of the Masters Cup in Shanghai after crushing Argentina's Gaston Gaudio 6-0, 6-0.

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