As new Wimbledon champion Roger Federer enjoys a well-earned week off before returning to the All England Club for the Olympics, the Swiss will no doubt be looking forward to the release of the world rankings next Monday. His victory over Andy Murray saw him return to top spot this week – equalling the all-time record for weeks at No 1 held by Pete Sampras. When they are updated again at the start of next week, he will set a new record with 287 weeks at the top, a truly phenomenal mark that will take an awful lot of beating.
Looking at the calendar over the next month – and the ranking points each of the top players has to defend – the Swiss has a pretty good chance of holding onto top spot as well, at least up to the US Open. His lead over Novak Djokovic is slight, at just 75 points, and it is entirely possible that the Olympics could see the Serb regain top spot. Of course, having just won Wimbledon, Federer will feel he is more than capable of winning again on the same courts and so the 750 points on offer to the winner could well be his too.
When asked about No 1 earlier in the year, Federer said he would have a chance to get it back right through to the US Open and not surprisingly, he is absolutely right. In fact, if he holds on to it after the Olympics, then he is almost certain to go into the US Open as the top seed for while Djokovic defends 1600 points from winning in Canada and reaching the final in Cincinnati, Federer has just 270 points to defend over that fortnight. Rafael Nadal, who is only 1200 points behind top spot himself, could also close the gap on the top two. It’s entirely possible that should Djokovic fail to defend his US Open title, he could even find himself down at No 3 come the middle of September. Federer made the semis last year so anything better than that this time and he will be gaining points.
That’s when it will start to really get interesting for the Swiss. He won everything he played after the US Open last year, including Paris, Basle and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, when he picked up a maximum 1500 points as an undefeated champion. Though he could play Shanghai to add points, having skipped it last year, it really does look set to be a bun-fight at the top over the next few months. Should Murray win the US Open, then he would make it a four-way race for the top, something that I can’t remember ever seeing at the end of a year.
Having carried the flag for Switzerland at two Olympic Games, Roger Federer was asked if he would like to do it for a third time in London this month. But the new world No 1 says he is leaning towards saying thank you, but not this time. Federer says it might be time for someone else to get the honour. That’s nice to hear.