Dubai, UAE, 27 February 2012 | DPA

Roger Federer is heading into the Dubai Championships thinking only of his immediate goal and not about a possible return this season to the No.1 ranking he held during his golden run through much of the past decade.

“Sure, getting to No.1 again is a long-term goal,” said the second-seeded Swiss on Sunday.

“But it’s not something I think about daily, but I think it could be possible if I play well between now and through the US Open,” added the 16-time grand slam champion.

“But I’m only really thinking of having a good run now, over the next five or six weeks.”

The Swiss will bid for a fifth title in his Gulf training base when he opens play on Tuesday against Frenchman Michael Llodra. He then contests an exhibition in New York on March 5 before the two American Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami in March.

Federer is riding high after thrashing Juan Del Potro for the Rotterdam trophy a week ago after ending 2011 with three consecutive titles. Stepping outdoors in the emirate will still be straight in his comfort zone.

“I’m on a good run now and I’d like to continue it,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s a tough stretch from now. I think that the number title will only really be decided between the French Open and the US Open.

“I feel good, even if I’ve played a lot of tennis recently. It was good to have the week off between Rotterdam and Dubai. It’s good to be back ‘home’ for a few days.”

Federer and Llodra are longtime friends from the same generation, with the Swiss beating the Frenchman in 1999 and again in 2010.

Llodra lost in the final over the weekend in Marseilles and will arrive in Dubai tired but likely satisfied with his form.

“It’s a tough draw against him,” said Federer. “He’s playing well.”

Federer won the last of his four Dubai titles in 2007, with Novak Djokovic wining the last three including last year’s final over the Swiss.

Third seed Andy Murray will be making a Tuesday start in his first match since losing in the Australian Open semifinals to Djokovic.

The Scot has been on the practice court every day since his Wednesday night arrival, but gave it a miss on Sunday due to a sandstorm in the emirate. Murray is just back from a 10-day training block in Florida with coach Ivan Lendl.

“I was playing points and sets,” said Murray, who has never been beyond the Dubai quarters and begins against a qualifier. “I think in today’s game, fitness is huge. It’s a tough field here.”