Roger Federer has his work cut out for him if he is to hang on to the No. 1 ranking. Currently spending week No. 301 on top, Federer is in the comfy confines of Basel where he won his first round match 7-5, 6-3 over Benjamin Becker.
Afterward Federer called it “possible” that he could still finish ahead of Novak Djokovic who has over a 2,000 point lead in the 2012 Race for No 1.
“I think it’s possible, but look, it’s tough,” Federer said Monday. “It all depends on what the scheduling is, who your opponents are and if you get a chance to get on a run… But that shouldn’t be my goal right now to win all three again. The goal is to first play here and see how I go.”
But realistically, with Djokovic playing so well it’s hard to imagine the Serb laying down and crashing out of both Paris and London allowing Federer to rack up those valuable points, if Roger even plays Paris.
So Federer won’t let the race spoil these last few “crazy” weeks, especially his hometown Basel event.
“There’s no question I want to play well at the World Tour Finals,” he said. “That should be the highlight of the season now at the end of the year. It is one of the biggest events we have in the sport and I want to finish the season strong against my fellow Top 10 players. So there is still a lot on the line, but right now I have to think day by day. It’s the only way to handle the next crazy three weeks.”
Roger added, “I know if I lose, I lose points, but I’ve so long gone over this hurdle of having to defend points and this whole rankings system – I know how it works, so it doesn’t really consume me. For me it’s all about trying to play my best, enjoy the crowd and show them what I got. Coming back [to Basel] as the World No. 1 is an amazing feeling, so I think more of that than the pressure of having to win or having to defend or having to win again.”
In other news today, Tomas Berdych became the sixth player to qualify for London. Just two, or three if Rafael Nadal is removed, remain. Juan Martin Del Potro will get in and so too should JW Tsonga. That leaves the real race for the last spot (again provided Nadal doesn’t play) among Tipsarevic, Monaco, Almagro, Gasquet, Isner and Raonic. If any of those guys can get a big result this week and do well in Paris (reach the SFs?) that could be enough.
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