With the clock running out, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are both in action on Wednesday in Europe, with both aiming for lofty goals.
Despite going Slam-less in 2014, Federer finds himself with a decent shot at the year-end No. 1 ranking, and that chase resumes this week in Basel where 500 points are available for the taking.
“It’s all to play for and I hope to start off well in Basel,” said Federer trails Novak Djokovic by 990 ranking points. “The fact that I’ve gotten so close to No. 1 is a bit of a surprise to me, because clearly I’m aware I haven’t won a Slam. But I was extremely close at Wimbledon and I’ve been very consistent throughout, otherwise I wouldn’t be in this situation.
“It’s a different year end than I thought it was going to be, but it doesn’t actually change a whole lot. I was always going to play the tournaments that I’m playing now and I know that if I don’t win a few of them, World No. 1 is not going to happen as well.”
Federer plays tomorrow against Gilles Muller who has a dangerous game on an indoor surface. But it’s hard to see the Swiss losing at his home event.
“I’ve played here so many times. I know how the court feels and that is an advantage,” Federer said. “Of course, the pressure can always get to you, but I think with the experience I have these days, I walk out and I’m actually quite laidback and really excited to be back on the centre court in Basel.”
I still believe the race will hinge on the Djokovic baby. Regardless of Federer’s result in Basel, If Novak does play Paris and London I think the Serb takes the top spot home. If Novak can’t play, or he has to withdraw mid-event from one, then Roger’s got a very real chance of stealing it.
Also with a very real chance of a strong finish is Andy Murray. After going title-less for 14 months, Murray’s won two of his last four events putting himself right in the meat of the London race. A strong result this week in Valencia should get him in.
Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and David Ferrer are also in contention for those final spots. With Rafael Nadal seemingly out of London – he can’t officially announce his withdrawal until next week or after Paris if he plays in France – there’s new hope for these guys.
Nadal is also playing Wednesday in Basel against French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
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