Speaking to the press today at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Tennis Masters 1000 in Rome, Roger Federer sounded intent and confident of a return to the No. 1 ranking. The 16-time Slam winner says that with the ATP Finals already in his pocket, adding a Grand Slam title could push him right back to the top.
Federer is still one week from Pete Sampras’s record 286 weeks at No. 1.
He also acknowledged that rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are playing much better than he is. But he says that he’s been right in the mix week-in and week-out when you consider all the semifinals he’s reached the last 10 months.
“It’s important for me to get to back to being No. 1,” Federer said in Rome. “I said this at Wimbledon and it is still very real and very possible. I still have the World Tour Finals in my pocket and I don’t have any Grand Slams yet. If I maybe got one of those, things will change drastically all over the place. Right now these guys are playing better than me and better than the other players and that’s a fact. Novak is winning all the big tournaments with Rafa this year and that makes it difficult to get to the big tournaments, but I am in the position I want to be in and I am close to winning tournaments as well. I am feeling very good physically and it is definitely an interesting time right now that Novak has not lost all season long.
“It’s a very different situation but it has not changed very much other than I might be in the semi-final with Rafa. It’s not really much different to when I was No. 1 or No. 2 because then it was Murray or Novak, and Nadal of course was also in my section once or twice. There have been really tough draws in the last years because everyone has been playing so consistently. I don’t think that Murray can’t play on clay or Rafa can’t play on grass or Novak struggles indoors. I think that everyone can play on all of the surfaces and this makes it extremely hard to win all of these big tournaments.”
Federer will begin his Rome campaign tomorrow against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman beat Federer two summers ago but Roger leads 3-1 in their meetings including a straight-set win this season in Doha.
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