Roger Federer targets No 1 ranking after claiming eighth Wimbledon title

Simon Briggs
The Telegraph
Roger Federer is a man on a mission  - PA
Roger Federer is a man on a mission  - PA

Despite his pick-and-choose approach to tennis over the last year, we are likely to see plenty of Roger Federer before the season is out. He has indicated that he will probably skip the Rogers Cup in Montreal in three weeks’ time, but will return for Cincinnati the following week as a build-up to the US Open.

From there, he plans to go to Asia for the Rolex Shanghai Masters, and then he loves the indoor swing at the end of the season. Basel, Paris and the Nitto World Finals give him the chance to express his peerless hand skills without any disruption from wind, sun or weather.

Now lying in third place in the rankings, Federer’s main rival for the year-end No. 1 position would seem to be Rafael Nadal, who stands 920 points ahead of him in second place.

Meanwhile Andy Murray, the tottering incumbent, is still waiting on the results of the hip scans taken in Switzerland last week. Given that he is defending a colossal 5,960 points between now and the end of the season – just over three-quarters of his overall tally – Murray’s days on top of the ladder are numbered, as even he admits.

“I haven't played well enough this year to deserve to stay there for much longer,” Murray acknowledged after his quarter-final defeat to Sam Querrey last week. “If it doesn't happen [that he is dislodged] by the end of this tournament, it will happen by the end of the US Open.”

Wimbledon 2017 ball in pictures
Wimbledon 2017 ball in pictures

And then there is Novak Djokovic, who admitted after his own exit the same day that he has been carrying pain from an elbow injury for 18 months. “The specialists that I've talked with, they haven't been really too clear,” Djokovic said, “mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options. Obviously schedule will be readjusted.”

Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Federer agreed that the path back to the top of the rankings – a position he has already occupied for a record 302 weeks, in three different visits – could soon be open.

“I think it's going to be a three- or four-way race,” Federer said. “Or maybe a two-way race with me and Rafa at some stage, when Andy is going to drop his world No 1 ranking. But if all of a sudden Andy starts winning again, we also have to win again. But at some stage if he starts dropping points, we'll just get there. 

Wimbledon 2017 Tennis Championships
Wimbledon 2017 Tennis Championships

“I hope it's me and not Rafa,” Federer added, “because it would mean a lot to me to get back to world No 1. I have to speak to the team and decide how much am I going to just chase it in the near future so maybe I get to world No. 1 at least one more time in my career.

“Or is it actually maybe a goal to finish the year as world No. 1, which is an even bigger deal? But for me maybe that makes no difference being world No. 1 for a week or year-end No. 1 at this stage of my career. So I have to just have a bit of a meeting and discussion with my team about that in the coming weeks.”

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