Federer's confidence remains high heading into Dubai championship

Roger Federer has been surprisingly absent from the last two Grand Slam finals, but he is unfazed.
Peter Dejong/AP

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -? Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have played in the last two Grand Slam finals, and it's easy to imagine their rivalry overshadowing an aging Roger Federer and an injury-plagued Rafael Nadal in the years to come.

But the second-ranked Federer will have none of it.

As he prepares to defend his Dubai Championships title, the 31-year-old Federer said Sunday he's playing "excellent tennis" and is confident he can overtake Djokovic for top spot. He also brushed aside talk of retirement, insisting he can play for "many more years to come" and still can win another Grand Slam title.

The 17-time major champion added to his total with a Wimbledon title in 2012 but lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the semifinals of this year's Australian Open.

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