Federer hails Djokovic as ‘real’ number 1

Federer hails Djokovic as ‘real’ number 1

LONDON - Daily News with wires
Federer hails Djokovic as ‘real’ number 1

Tennis superstar Roger Federer of Switzerland says Novak Djokovic deserves the top spot in the ATP rankings, but adds that he ‘obviously gave it everything he had.’

Tennis great Roger Federer is in no doubt that Novak Djokovic deserves to finish 2012 as the world’s top-ranked player.

Federer replaced Djokovic at the top of the standings after winning Wimbledon in July but ceded the number one position to the Serb yesterday.

And with the Swiss star unable to improve on last year’s perfect performance in winning the 2011 season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, not even an unblemished victory in this year’s edition at the O2 Arena will see him regain top spot before 2012 is out.

“We know who the real number one is,” said Federer. “It is going to be Novak. I do not think there should be any debate around about that.

“You do not get to number one by chance. The rankings are something that shows how you have played over a 365-day period. It might all change again in two months at the Australian Open but now it is clear.”

‘I gave it all’

Federer all but conceded the top ranking this year when opting out of the Paris Masters last week on the grounds he could not do himself justice by playing successive tournaments in Basle, Paris and London.

“I obviously gave it everything I had,” said Federer. “I’ve played so much tennis the last two years and I’m happy I got back to world number one. It’s a time where you need to win at least a slam, or at least five to 10 titles, so we’re not talking about just a quick jump to number one and then you lose it again.

“So I’m putting my schedule into place for next year and there are no extraordinary changes.”

Although Djokovic has failed to hit the same heights as in 2011, when he won three Grand Slam singles titles, this year has seen him retain his Australia Open crown and reach the finals of both the French and US Opens, losing the latter to Andy Murray.

Fatigue caught up with Djokovic in London last year and he suffered a shock loss to Sam Querrey in Paris.

And Djokovic, who begins his London campaign against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said it was tough to be in peak shape at this stage of a long season.

“It is expected not to be always in your top form at this time of year,” he said. “The effects of the long season can influence you physically and mentally but this is an important tournament and I want to do well.”