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Federer unsure over Olympics village
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Roger Federer, who has always said that an Olympic gold medal is one of his biggest goals, has cast doubt on whether he will stay in the Olympic village in August.

Federer was a little troubled with his experience in the Athens in 2004 when he lost early on to Tomas Berdych and fears that some of the shortcomings of those Games might be repeated in Beijing.

Roger Federer 

There the world No 1 from Switzerland felt that four years ago there were several things which made it difficult for him, and he would like to consider avoiding a repeat.

"It was quite difficult in Athens," Federer said. "Taking the bus and not being in control of my own schedule, and many people recognizing me in the village.

"It was not as enjoyable as Sydney, which I loved. I still have not made up my mind (whether to stay in the Olympic village)," he added, perhaps concerned as to whether there would be traffic and commuting problems for visiting athletes.

Asked about the inconvenience of being recognized so much, Federer elaborated by saying: "Every time I go to eat everyone taps on your shoulder. I don't mind it but I wish it was different one day of the week."

Avoiding recognition is also one of the reasons why he makes Dubai his training base, Federer admitted, an arrangement which may help him deal with the rare situation in which he finds himself this week.

The world's best player finds himself playing one of the world's most up-and-coming players, Andy Murray in the first round of the Dubai Open - a situation which could only happen in this very unusual tournament.

That is because the record appearance money gives it an entry similar to the top half of a Master Series, or top quarter of a Grand Slam. But it is a third- level tournament's 32 draw with only eight seeds.

Murray, the world No 12 from Scotland, is therefore likely to be a tougher first test than Federer will get anywhere, especially as he has not competed since being beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open more than six weeks ago.

"I am happy to be back playing again because I have been away from the tour and it's not easy. This is only my second tournament in four months.

"But I am back stronger and healthier than I was in Australia. Hopefully this time I will feel better."

This was as close as Federer got to admitting that his performances in Melbourne might have been affected by having been ill, as had been rumored, though when asked about this directly he deflected it.

"I just felt slow in the semi-final," he said. "I really doubt that it was because of the Tipsarevic match (a hard five sets) because I was feeling like that against Berdych.

"By the Djokovic match I was completely fine again. I just wasn't happy with my movement and defensive skills. Maybe it (losing) was because of that. Djokovic played well on the big points."

(Agencies via China Daily March 4, 2008)

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