Wed, Nov 08, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Federer at `100 percent' for Cup

TENNIS MASTERS CUP The overwhelming favorite in the elite men's tournament that begins this Sunday told the press he is fit and raring to go

AFP , SHANGHAI

Top ranked tennis players, from left to right, Amelie Mauresmo from France, Svetlana Kuznetsova from Russia, Justine Henin-Hardenne from Belgium, Maria Sharapova from Russia, Martina Hingis from Switzerland, Kim Clijsters from Belgium, Nadia Petrova from Russia and Elena Dementieva from Russia pose during a photocall in Madrid on Monday.

PHOTO: AP

World No. 1 Roger Federer said he was "100 percent" fit for the Tennis Masters Cup, in a blow to his rivals in the elite top-eight season-ending tournament.

Federer's run of two straight titles was halted by ankle injury and a dogged David Nalbandian in last year's final, but he said he had no health worries after skipping last week's Paris Masters citing fatigue.

"I came to Shanghai last year with injuries, but I have 100 percent confidence in my health situation this year," Federer said as he arrived on Monday.

"Fitness-wise, I am perfect. There are no concerns over ankles, knees and so on after such a demanding season. I just can't wait to hit the first ball on the court," he said.

Federer was the first to fly in for the tournament which begins on Sunday, signalling his intent to cap another stellar year by reclaiming his Masters Cup title.

The Swiss genius has taken another 11 titles, including three Grand Slams, to take his career haul to 44, and has lost just five matches out of 92.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Paris champion Nikolay Davydenko, Ivan Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo and James Blake were due to start arriving from yesterday.

Federer will be hoping for a sweeter end to the season than last year, when the battling defeat to Nalbandian not only cost him the Masters Cup title but saw him fall one short of John McEnroe's legendary 1984 season record of 82-3.

Federer was one of several players to miss the Paris Masters, along with Nadal, Roddick and Nalbandian, causing renewed consternation over the tough tennis schedule.

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