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Federer foresees nearly another decade of competitive tennis

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Roger Federer said Monday he planned to play competitive tennis for years to come.

"My goal is to play for as long as possible, possibly until
I am 35," the 26-year-old Swiss told reporters after winning the
Laureus Sportsman of the Year award for a record fourth year in
a row.

Justine Henin, who won 10 WTA titles in 2007 despite splitting with her husband, took home the women's edition of the award.

Federer, who has won 12 Grand Slam titles, said his aim was
also to surpass Pete Sampras' record of 14.

"It's definitely on my mind now," he said.

"Actually when I was playing Pete in an exhibition [late
last year] we were joking about it. I was hoping to break his
record this year but it looks a tough task now after losing the
Australian Open.

"I think it would be a good result for me if I tie it this
year."

Federer said he was hugely disappointed following his
semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne last month.

"The first moment it hits you hard. You are really
disappointed," Federer said.

"Then the next day when you wake up, you feel a bit better
if you think that you had given your all.

"But I feel refreshed and relaxed now as I haven't been
practicing at all," he added. "It's been a two-week vacation but
I'll start working out again shortly to get ready for the Dubai
Open in early March.

"So these two weeks have been a good break for me because
I'll be busy pretty much until the U.S. Open."

Federer said winning the French Open was his other main focus for this year.

"Obviously, it's a big goal for me. I hope it's not the one
that will elude me," he said.

"I've heard people say that this year is probably my last
chance, but I totally disagree. I think I have a few more years
ahead of me if I can't do it this year."

Asked to name his main rivals, the world's No. 1 player said:
"Well, obviously two guys stand out, Djokovic and Nadal. But I
rate Rafael Nadal as my biggest rival."

The Swiss also gave his backing to world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who is being investigated for his involvement into
match-fixing -- a charge the Russian has always denied.

"It's pure speculation, it's not a fact," Federer said when
asked to comment on the problem.

"[Davydenko] is not guilty. He should be left in peace if
he is not found guilty. Honestly, I am not too worried about [gambling in tennis]."

Federer said it was unlikely he would play in the St. Petersburg Open for as long as it clashed with another ATP event
in his home town of Basel.

"If they could schedule the St. Petersburg Open at another
date I definitely will consider it or maybe I could play Marat Safin in an exhibition here," he said.

"We've had some great battles in the past, so I think it
would be fun playing him here."

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.