Roger Federer will finish the year just 140 points shy of Rafael Nadal’s tally at World No 2 if he wins the on-going ATP Finals in London. And he is an overwhelming favourite to do so. But he admits that getting to the top of the charts is not a realistic goal for him at this stage in his career despite a staggering year.
The Swiss player won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year upon returning from an injury affected second half of 2016. But the 36-year-old, who has spent 302 weeks at World No 1 throughout his career, doesn’t believe the World No 1 crown is worth chasing without straining his body. He has carefully worked his calendar this year to keep his body fresh including by skipping the entire clay court season.
“Look, it’s not a realistic goal in some ways, the world number one. It is interesting. It’s the ultimate achievement in tennis in some ways, it always has been for me. But at this age, it just can’t be because I think I’ll make mistakes if I start chasing it. I’m not sure how much the body allows me to chase goals like this,” he said.
“Maybe if I start thinking about it too often and too much, I think I’m maybe also not playing the way I’m supposed to be playing. Maybe I tense up, maybe I’m nervous, maybe that’s not good for my back. Who knows what it is,” he added further.
Federer could have pushed Nadal further in pursuit of the World No 1 ranking had he not pulled out of the Paris Masters. But he maintains that he has no qualms about pulling out. “Regrets? I don’t have any. But maybe losing to Tommy Haas (in Stuttgart) and Evgeny Donskoy (in Dubai) ended up haunting me,” he said. “I had match points in both matches. It’s not like I didn’t try. So I’m just happy I’m playing a great season. I’m so happy that I was able to reach this level of play and still being able to play also at the end of the year. I totally exceeded my expectations. I’m just happy that I’m injury-free and healthy right now and enjoying myself still.”