Federer says he can dominate again

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The Independent Online

Former No 1 Roger Federer believes he can dominate men's tennis again.

The 27-year-old Swiss star, who is one short of Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles, said today that he is looking forward to a big year in 2009.



"This could be a very meaningful season for me," Federer said. "I can equal Pete Sampras' record. I can add another Wimbledon title and this is something that is very dear to me. I can also win my first French Open title, so I am looking forward to my season."



Federer was slowed by mononucleosis last year and lost his No 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal.



"I feel much better this year," Federer said. "Last year, I couldn't practice the way I wanted to because of health reasons. But this year I have trained really well and I feel very confident about myself. I have less pressure now and it is not a bad thing."



Federer plays Potito Starace of Italy in the first round at the season-opening Qatar Open on Tuesday as he builds toward the Australian Open, which starts on 19 January.



"Obviously, I can dominate the game," he said. "I have worked hard at my game and when you do that, things become easy for you. If I can play two good matches then I will feel really good going into the Australian Open."



The second-ranked Federer was eclipsed last year by Nadal, who won Wimbledon, the French Open and the Beijing Olympics gold medal.



"Rafa is my main rival," Federer said. "We have been doing it for so many years and have had great matches."



Andy Murray beat Federer and Nadal last week at an exhibition tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Federer could face Murray in the semi-finals here after having defeated the Briton in the U.S. Open final for his only Grand Slam title of 2008.

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