LONDON • Roger Federer admits earning the year-end world No. 1 ranking is no longer a realistic ambition, despite his remarkable renaissance this year.
The Swiss is already certain to finish behind Rafael Nadal in the year-end rankings, but the world No. 2 appears poised to push his old rival for top spot next year.
If Federer wins this week's ATP Finals - he is already through to the semi-finals - he will finish the year just 140 points behind Nadal.
Having won the Australian Open and a record eighth Wimbledon title this season, Federer could have been forgiven for targeting another spell at No. 1.
But the 36-year-old does not believe the year-end crown is a target worth chasing hard because of the strain it would put on his body.
Federer does not play as many tournaments as his rivals in a bid to peak at the Grand Slams.
It worked to perfection this year and he said: "Look, it's not a realistic goal in some ways, the world No. 1.
"It is interesting. It's the ultimate achievement in tennis in some ways, it always has been for me.
"But at this age, it just can't be because I think I'll make mistakes if I start chasing it.
"I'm not sure how much the body allows me to chase goals like this."
Federer could overtake Nadal early next year, although as the Australian Open champion, he will be defending 2,000 points in Melbourne in January, meaning he would need a strong showing in the year's first Grand Slam to put pressure on the Spaniard.
With a seventh ATP Finals title in his sights as he prepares for today's semi-finals, Federer is more focused on the present than any future goals, or the constant speculation about when he will retire.
Quizzed on whether he would still be playing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he admitted he did not realise he would need to play at least two Davis Cup ties for Switzerland to be eligible for the Games.
"I didn't even know the rule, so thanks for the information," he said.
"I haven't officially retired from the Davis Cup, so not because of that reason.
"It's just because it's always highly unlikely that I'll play at this stage of my career. I haven't set Tokyo Olympics as a goal either. I'm not thinking that far ahead."
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