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At 32, and seeded 7th, Federer insists age and rankings are nothing more than numbers

The numbers are not the sort that Roger Federer likes to see beside his name.

One of them, his age, he cannot control.

The other, his ranking, he insists he can.

The 32-year-old, five-time U.S. Open champion enters the year's last Grand Slam seeded seventh, the biggest number next to his name since 2003, the year he started on his record-setting run of 17 majors.

Federer exited this year's Wimbledon in the second round, the earliest he'd been dismissed from a Grand Slam event since the 2003 French Open. Since Wimbledon, his season has included a steady diet of losses that would have once been considered freakish and a withdrawal from a tournament that went unexplained.

On Monday, he'll open play at Flushing Meadows against 61st-ranked Grega Zemija.