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Federer Wins Again In London, But Not Thinking About No. 1 Ranking Down The Road • Or Is He?

Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action against Croatia’s Marin Cilic during his Round Robin match at the ATP World tennis finals in London, Britain, 16 November 2017. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Roger Federer isn’t thinking about a return trip to the No. 1 ranking in the world.

 

Perhaps he should.

 

Closer to Rafael Nadal than he thinks–or cares to admit–he is, Federer picked up 200 more points when he defeated Marin Cilic 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1 in his last round-robin match of this year’s Nitto ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday afternoon. The 36-year-old fired 17 aces and saved the only break point he faced before prevailing in one hour and 54 minutes.

 

With ranking 600 points in London thanks to his trio of Group B victories, Federer is now 1040 points behind Nadal–who lost to David Goffin in his tournament opener and then withdrew. The Swiss can gain 900 more points (400 with a semifinal win and 500 with a final win) and go into 2018 a mere 140 short of Nadal.

 

But he isn’t thinking about the top spot.

 

“I have 2,000 points to defend in Australia; he doesn’t,” Federer explained. “So there’s the problem already. I know he has a lot of points to defend, too, but not as many as me. That’s why I always said it’s not a realistic goal in some ways, world No. 1. 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.

 

“Still far away from being close in the points with Rafa. Still need to win this tournament before it’s actually really close.”

 

Winning the tournament would give Federer his eighth title of the season, which includes victories at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Nadal, meanwhile, also captured to Grand Slams among his six titles.

 

“The year played out the way it did, and Rafa was better,” Federer admitted. “He deserves to be there. I’m really happy for him because he had a rough season, as well, in ’16. It’s great for him.”

 

Nadal was better–at times–but also played more. The Spaniard wrapped up his year with 78 matches under his belt. Federer has played 55 so far. But the 19-time major champion has no regrets about his schedule, which featured zero weeks of the clay-court swing.

 

“I don’t have any,” Federer said. “But maybe losing to Tommy Haas (in Suttgart) and (Evgeny) Donskoy (in Dubai) ended up haunting me. I had match points in both matches.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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