Tennis: 300 Weeks at No. 1 for Proud Federer

By webadmin on 10:21 am Oct 12, 2012
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Swiss legend Roger Federer has consistently ripped up the record books
during his glittering career but his latest landmark — 300 weeks at
number one — is one of his proudest achievements.

The
31-year-old was forced to dig deep to reach his triple century, coming
back from the brink of defeat to beat Davis Cup team-mate Stanislas
Wawrinka on Thursday to make the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters.

For
a long time it appeared that Federer, overtaken by younger rivals
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, would never return to top spot —
leaving him agonizingly short of Pete Sampras’s record of total weeks at
number one.

Used to regularly picking up Grand Slam wins,
Federer went nine majors without a title, fuelling speculation he was a
fading force.

But his Wimbledon triumph this year pulled him
level with the American great on a record seven titles at the All
England Club and catapulted him back to the top of the rankings. A week
later he overtook Sampras’s mark of 286 weeks.

“It’s obviously an
amazing number. I never thought of something like this when I was a
little kid, that’s for sure,” said a relieved Federer after his narrow
escape against Wawrinka.

“I was just hoping one day my dream was
going to come true to play on the regular tour, play Wimbledon, maybe
become world number one at some stage.

“So here I am at 300
weeks. It’s pretty incredible. Probably one of my biggest
accomplishments. I’m very proud of that record, no doubt about it.”

Federer
first became world number one in February 2004. For a record 237
consecutive weeks, until August 2008, he was top dog, dominating the
sport with seemingly effortless grace.

Holder of a record 17
Grand Slam titles, the Swiss said he could still vividly recall the
excitement of reaching the pinnacle for the first time.

“It’s not one of those moments that happens and then you forget. It took me a lot of great performances to get there,” he said.

“It
was for me back then sort of the ultimate accomplishment next to
winning Wimbledon. That all happened in a span of sort of nine months,
which was so intense, huge relief in some ways, but a big satisfaction.

“Yeah,
here I am eight years later, even more. It’s pretty special. Obviously I
lost the world number one ranking a few times but I also stayed a long
time once I got there.

“I always felt tennis was easier for me playing as world number one than actually getting there.”

Federer
said reaching 300 weeks as number one — which he will achieve when the
next rankings are released on Monday — was reward for all the hard
work he had put in over the years.

“I never give up. Show up,
tired, injured, doesn’t matter how I felt mentally so many times over
the years. It’s gotten to this incredible number of 300. It’s a great
reward for me.

“I feel a great sense of satisfaction because of
that incredible number and because of all the effort I’ve put into it. I
know how much work it has been. It’s not easy to stay at the top for so
long.”

AFP