CINCINNATI, Ohio (AFP) - Roger Federer heads into the US Open gaining confidence in his game despite a heartbreak 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal at the Cincinnati Masters.
The Swiss who owns a record 17 Grand Slam titles will drop to seventh in the world rankings - his lowest standing since October, 2002 - but says he's not bothered by his current position with the final major of the year due to begin on Aug 26.
"It doesn't change anything for the US Open. As long as you're either in the top four or the top eight, I think at this point that's what matters. Or you're world number one," he said.
"Rankings at this point anyway are not what leads me. It's about getting my game back on track, and that's what I'm doing well. So that's what's exciting right now, not the rankings really."
The Swiss could prove a dangerous early foe at Flushing Meadows, hopefully ready to dominate his quarter of the draw.
With the back pain that troubled him in July now gone and an experiment with a new racquet abandoned for the moment, the 32-year-old is ready to tackle the Open.
"I know my body's fine and my mind's OK, so that's two good things looking ahead," he said.
He said that the match in which he rattled Nadal in the opening set but failed to produce a clean sweep by winning the second gave him a lot of good data on the current state of his game "in terms of getting information in terms of tactics, in terms of point for point mentality.
"That's something that's been really difficult to do for the last sort of few months for me," he said.
"I can definitely take more things away from this week than I could for the last sort of three months. I'm happy about that. That sets it up nicely for me for New York, I think.
"My mind's already totally geared into what I'm going to do tomorrow, next day, and the following day and looking ahead at the US Open. So I'm excited about the next 10 days."