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Federer focused on Olympic gold

July 22, 2008 10:13 IST

World number one Roger Federer launches his Olympic preparations and his North American hardcourt campaign this week at the Toronto Masters, targeting Beijing gold as his top priority for the remainder of the year.

Federer, who lost in the French Open and Wimbledon finals to Rafael Nadal, will travel immediately after the Beijing Games to defend his US Open title in New York.

"If maybe I am a player who doesn't have any Grand Slams, maybe a Grand Slam would still do more for my own career," Federer told reporters on Monday. "But because I have 12 already, for me an Olympic gold ranks as high.

"I was very proud to represent the Swiss in the 2000 Olympics and really just missed a medal.

"Last time was quite disappointing losing the second round but nevertheless, going there was one of the biggest experiences in life.

"So as long as I can walk and play, I will always come and play the Olympics.

"Who knows maybe I will carry the flag.

"That would be a great honour as well; my birthday is on the opening day (Aug. 8) as well so that's going to be nice, too.

"It ranks very, very high in my scale, absolutely."

While Federer has enjoyed his Olympic experiences they have yet to yield a medal.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, Federer lost the bronze medal match to Arnaud Di Pasquale then four years later crashed out in the second round to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at Athens.

Most of the world's top 20 players will be in Beijing, including Spain's Nadal, though the world number two does not quite put the same value on Olympic gold as Federer.

"A little bit less," said Nadal, comparing a Grand Slam title with an Olympic medal. "For us Grand Slam is different. Grand slam is special.

"Olympics are important but after a Grand Slam."

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