Swiss number one Roger Federer has lost his opening match at the Paris Masters Series tournament, ending his chances of qualifying automatically for the season-ending Masters Cup in Sydney.
Having lost out on valuable qualifying points during his recent injury lay-off the young Swiss star would have needed to reach this weekend's final in Paris to keep his Sydney hopes alive.
"The Masters wasn't one of my objectives for 2001," he said. "But having played well all year, it is a disappointment."
After receiving a bye into the second round, Federer was knocked out of the Paris event on Wednesday by the winner of this year's Gstaad tournament, Jiri Novak.
The Czech world number 40 beat Federer in three sets, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-2).
"I wasn't able to control my shots," Federer said after losing against Novak. "I have to admit that I wasn't feeling very confident at the start of the match."
Federer would now only be able to take part in the Masters Cup in the unlikely event of several higher-ranked players withdrawing from the glamorous contest.
Despite Wednesday's defeat, Federer said he was satisfied with this year's results.
"I've fulfilled my contract," he explained. "I wanted to win my first tournament, which I did in Milan."
"I also wanted a place among the world's top 15 players, and I got it," he added.
However, Federer had some regrets, particularly with regard to Wimbledon.
"I would have liked to have gone further after my victory against Pete Sampras in Wimbledon," Federer lamented. "Unfortunately, I make it beyond the US Open because of my injuries."
The Swiss number one player hopes to be ranked among the top-five next year.
"I don't think I'm being too ambitious," Federer said.
swissinfo with agencies
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