Federer: Return to No. 1 would be very special

Roger Federer got off to a roaring start on Sunday at the ATP World Tour Finals, needing 88 minutes to dispatch Milos Raonic 6-1, 7-6(0) as the seal was broken on the 2014 season finale.

Federer hopes his stay at The O2 in London will yield a record seventh title and is seeking to achieve something that is “very special” to him - another shot at World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

“As long as I could get back to World No. 1 for one more time, I think that would be very special,” said Federer. “I've been there and I know how much it would mean, because winning a tournament is a one‑week thing or a two‑week thing, but getting back to World No. 1 is an entirely different animal. I'll try to get there, but obviously Novak is going to dictate as well what's going to happen here.”

Djokovic, however, needs just two round robin victories in London to guarantee he ends the season at the summit of the rankings, and Federer admits it will be a tall order to overhaul him.

If Federer is to add to his record 302 weeks as the top dog on the ATP World Tour, potentially finishing year-end No. 1 for a record-tying (Sampras) sixth time, he will have to wrestle Novak Djokovic from his throne. A perfect week at the season finale is critical for the 33-year-old's chances.

The Swiss also addressed his epic clashes with Djokovic over the years and discussed how they relate to the other legendary rivalries he has been a part of during his career. Should they meet later in the week, it would be their 37th ATP Head2Head encounter and the third straight year at the ATP World Tour Finals.

“I know against Novak, the matches and the rivalry is nice. I really enjoy playing against him.  It's very evenly matched. I played him more often probably in semis than in finals most likely. I don't know if that's true, but that's kind of how it felt like.

“I feel a special connection towards Rafa just because we did have a very strong, intense rivalry for many years, starting in 2004 maybe. Especially we played each other that many times in finals of slams, which hasn't been the case with the other players as much.

“But then also I always like to look back and see who my tougher opponents were when I was coming up. In the beginning I struggled against the likes of Henman, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Roddick. So for me those were really interesting players to play against. I was lucky enough that Andre Agassi played as long as he did because I got to play him also, I think almost 15 times.”

Federer is in the midst of spawning a new rivalry with Kei Nishikori, and the Group B leaders will clash in Tuesday’s day session at The O2. The winner will take a significant step to qualifying for the semi-finals.

Date: 10th November 2014, Source: ATP and ESPN UK


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