Roger Federer: 'Next 3-5 months are going to be interesting'
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3018
Novak Djokovic breaks one of Roger Federer's records. A record that, only three years ago, seemed unsurpassable. Today, for the Serbian, week 311 begins as number 1 in the world, one more than the Swiss, stopping at 310; the last time for Federer at the top of the ranking dates back to 24 June 2018.
Djokovic, therefore, becomes the absolute monarch of the ATP rankings. A chase on Federer - but also on Rafa Nadal - lasted almost ten years, from that distant 4th July 2011, the day after the first triumph at Wimbledon (and third career Slam trophy), won by the Serbian over Nadal.
Thanks to that success (Nole imposed himself on the Majorcan 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3), Djokovic - at the age of 24 - climbed to the top of the world ranking for the first time. At that time, Federer had already been number 1 for 285 weeks and was aiming for the all-time record of Pete Sampras, who on November 19, 2000 had stopped at 286.
Nadal, who on July 4 gave up the top of the standings, had already been first in the ATP ranking for 102 weeks. It is precisely by observing these numbers that Djokovic's feat appears even more extraordinary. In the almost ten years it took the Serbian to break Federer's record, the Swiss - who, it should not be forgotten, is still six years older and will be 40 on August 8 - was in first place for 25 weeks, the Spaniard - who is only one year older than Nole - for 107.
In the midst of these three incredible phenomena, the only player able to reach the top of the rankings was Andy Murray, the fourth of the "Big Four", number 1 for 41 weeks from 7 November 2016 until 20 August 2017, when he ceded the scepter to Nadal.
The last player out of the "Fantastic 4" to be number 1 is Andy Roddick on February 1, 2004. When asked if he had any concerns about his level of play, Federer replied in the negative. But the 39-year-old did admit that he wasn't fully relaxed about his knee, and that he would constantly monitor his condition over the next few months.
Roger Federer on his return
"For me, tennis is like riding a bike, I always knew that I could play very little and still play very good," Roger Federer said. "My biggest concern is the knee. I've had two knee surgeries, I had to build from scratch.
Next 3-5 months are going to be interesting, how the knee is gonna react. I'm not sure my knee will hold up," Federer added. "But I'm confident, otherwise I wouldn't be here. The knee will dictate what my comeback looks like. It sure is rare to see a 40-year-old back on tour after so much time." Roger Federer's words seem to indicate that he hasn’t fully gotten rid of the pain in his knee, but the Swiss star stressed that everything was 'under control'
Federer also believes he can play back-to-back three-setters for up to five days in his current condition. "It is important that I am free of pain," Federer continued. "I'm curious to see how it plays out. When I wake up in the morning I feel pretty good.
The pain is under control. I can play two and a half hours for five days in a row. There are many positive things. But matches are different. When the nerves are also playing a part."