London: Roger Federer today returned to No. 1 position on the ATP Rankings for the first time in more than two years. And in a double reward for capturing his record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title on Sunday, Federer also has earned the right to play for his seventh Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown at The O2 in London this November. Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have become the first three players to qualify for the eight-man season finale, to be held 5-12 November.
In joining Pete Sampras and William Renshaw as the only seven-time Wimbledon champions, Federer moves into a tie with Sampras for most weeks at No. 1. The 17-time Grand Slam champion holds top spot for the 286th week and next Monday will set a new all-time record.
On reclaiming the No. 1 spot, Federer said: “I never stopped believing...it all worked out. I got great momentum, great confidence and it all came together. It's a magical moment for me. I was so close to the (Sampras) record two years ago and it is really amazing to be No. 1 again. I played and won a lot of tournaments since the US Open last year, I’m happy that all the hard work I have been putting in has paid off.”
One month shy of his 31st birthday, Federer is the second-oldest man to hold No. 1, behind Andre Agassi, who was 33 years and 131 days old. Federer last held the top spot on 31 May, 2010.
Federer, who has won a Grand Slam title in nine different years, holds a 75-point lead over Djokovic and is guaranteed to hold the No. 1 ranking heading into the London Olympic Games. Federer ended the 2011 season winning three consecutive titles, including the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and has won a tour-best five titles in 2012, including his 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in Madrid. Federer has compiled a 63-6 match record since last year’s US Open, going 17-0 at the end of 2011 and 46-6 this season.
ATP Executive Chairman & President, Brad Drewett, said, “On behalf of the ATP, I would like to congratulate Roger on winning an incredible seventh career Wimbledon title, and regaining the No.1 position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, a reflection of his outstanding performances over the past 12 months. Roger is now assured of breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks at No.1, the ultimate testament to his excellence and longevity at the top of the men’s game. Roger has done what many said he couldn’t do, and written yet another chapter in the history books.
"Congratulations are also in order for Andy Murray, who became the first British men’s singles finalist at Wimbledon in 74 years. Professional tennis is enjoying unprecedented success thanks to the incredible champions we have in the game today.”
Later this year, Federer will make his 11th consecutive appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He has won the title in 2003-04, ’06-’07 and the past two years.
Djokovic, who won the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2008, has qualified for the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament for the sixth consecutive year after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, where he lost to Federer in four sets. Since capturing the Australian Open title in January, Djokovic has compiled a 34-7 match record including his third crown at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Miami.
Nadal, who lifted a record seventh Roland Garros trophy last month and set a record with his 20th and 21st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Monte-Carlo and Rome, has clinched his spot at an eighth straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. In 2010, he lost to Federer in the title match.
Andre Silva, Tournament Director of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, said, "We look forward to welcoming Roger, Novak and Rafa back to The O2 in London this November, where fans will have the chance to see them battle once again for the coveted last title of the ATP World Tour season, where so much will be at stake for all of them.
By Indian Sports News Network