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Beyond the Baseline

Roger Federer to play Shanghai Masters

Roger Federer Roger Federer played in the Davis Cup just a week after the U.S. Open. (AP)

After helping the Swiss Davis Cup team avoid relegation two weeks ago against the Netherlands, Roger Federer admitted he was exhausted after a season that has seen him play 69 matches already. That's the highest number of matches Federer has played through this point of the season in his career.

"I need a holiday badly," Federer said after that Davis Cup tie. "I'm wounded, tired, and exhausted and need some time off right now and see where I go from here."

Two weeks off has apparently convinced him to go gunning for the year-end No. 1 ranking, as Federer confirmed on Tuesday that he will play the Shanghai Rolex Masters next week. Federer skipped the tournament last year and has never won it since it became a Masters 1000 tournament in 2009.

Federer's decision to play Shanghai suggests that he intends to race Novak Djokovic to the finish line for the year-end No. 1 ranking. While Federer is currently No 1 in the 52-week rankings, Djokovic has actually accumulated more points in 2012, holding a 990 point lead in the ATP's Race to London standings. The Serb is due to widen that gap this week in Beijing, where he could add another 500 points if he wins the title and takea 1,490 point lead in the Race standings on Federer heading into Shanghai.

While a near 1,500 point lead might be enough for most, Federer has proven that he has the ability to run the table during the fall indoor events. Last year he won Basel, Paris and the World Tour Finals and ended 2011 on a 15-0 win streak. With two Masters tournaments left on the calendar (worth 1,000 points each) as well as the World Tour Finals in London to end the year (another 1,500 points up for grabs), the year-end No. 1 ranking is very much in play.
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