Federer to put aside horror season as Swiss flag-bearer in Beijing

Federer to put aside horror season as Swiss flag-bearer in Beijing Berne, Switzerland  - Roger Federer can temporarily forget serious trouble on court with his number one ranking in grave danger as he celebrates his 27th birthday in a week as Swiss flag-bearer at the Beijing Olympics.

The national committee confirmed that the 12-time Grand Slam champion will lead the parade of athletes during August 8 opening ceremony.

Federer is expected to travel to China privately after losing in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters and opening the door for Rafael Nadal to take over the top ATP ranking.

Federer also did the flag honours in Athens in 2004. "It's wonderful that I can carry the flag for the Swiss delegation on my birthday," he said in a statement.

"It's well known that I still have a score to settle with the Olympics and being handed this honour for a second time will give me extra motivation."

The Swiss player was eliminated in the second round in 2004 by Tomas Berdych. Potential Olympic gold would do wonders for his now- sagging confidence after a sustained rankings attack all season long by Spain's Nadal, reigning French Open and Wimbledon champion.

Nadal could take over as early as next Monday with a Cincinnati title or a week later under certain mathematical circumstances. (dpa)

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