I may not return to No.1, says Federer

Monday, 22 November 2010 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Roger Federer admits he faces a long struggle to regain the world No.1 spot from Rafael Nadal.

Federer goes into the ATP World Tour Finals, which begin in London on Sunday, in the unusual position of not being the sport’s pre-eminent force after a relatively unsuccessful year by his high standards.

Although the Swiss star started the season by winning the Australian Open, he lost his grip on the Wimbledon and French Open titles he won in 2009 and failed to return to the US Open final.

Even victory in the annual end-of-season showdown between the world’s top eight players won’t change that as world number two Federer is nearly 4,000 points behind Nadal in the rankings.

The 29-year-old broke Jimmy Connors’ record of 160 successive weeks as the number one in 2007, but he concedes there is little chance of reestablishing that kind of dominance if Nadal continues his current fine form.

Spaniard Nadal will take some stopping as he is on a hot streak after winning Wimbledon and the French and US Opens.

“Sure it is challenging (to get back to No.1). It is going to be very difficult because Rafa is playing well,” Federer said on Friday.

“It’s not something I have in mind right now. The goal is to play well here in London and prepare for next season and hopefully at some stage get it back.

“If not then I will focus on just winning tournaments. That is something I like doing as well!

“I have Australia to defend first. Rafa has no points to defend here, that’s why things look very good for him for the next few months.”

After a disappointing run at the Grand Slams this year, Federer, who opens the tournament against David Ferrer on Sunday, has regrouped over the last two months and arrives in London in decent form. Like his rivals, he could be forgiven for feeling a little tired at the end of another gruelling campaign, but he is determined to ignore the aches for long enough to end the year on a high.

Federer says number one Nadal will be hard to topple

LONDON (Reuters) - There is hardly anything Roger Federer has not achieved in tennis over the past decade but the Swiss admits seizing back the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal may stretch even his mercurial powers.

Federer has arrived in London for the ATP World Tour finals a distant second to the phenomenal Spaniard in the rankings and while his desire still burns as strong as ever he is not expecting a return to the top any time soon.

“Sure, it’s going to be challenging,” Federer told reporters from a hotel lounge overlooking the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament.

“It’s going to be very difficult because Rafa is playing well and I have to defend my points in Australia and he has no points to defend here in London,” added Federer, immaculate in a navy blue suit and tie.

“That’s why things look very good for him over the next few months.”

Federer, 29, who began the year by winning the Australian Open but subsequently lost the top ranking to Nadal just one week short of equalling the 265 weeks Pete Sampras spent as number one, has not ruled out the possibility altogether though.

“Right now the number one ranking is not something I have in my mind,” said the 16-times grand slam champion.

“My goal is to play well here in London and then prepare well for next season and then hopefully, at some stage, I’ll try get it back. If not I’ll focus on winning tournaments because I enjoy doing that too.”

Federer has won the year-ending showpiece four times and, outside the four grand slams, rates it as a priority each year.

“Right now it’s about saving energy, getting ready to play the matches,” he said. “I’ve played four of the last five weeks and my game is right where I want it to be.

“It’s the ninth time for me and I know the drill. I feel like I’ve got one more tournament left in me. My body is not screaming for a vacation quite yet,” said Federer.

“This is a huge tournament for me. It is a goal of the season to make it here. I hope I can save my best until last.”