Sunday, 27 May, 2018

It's unbelievable and insane - McEnroe stunned by Federer's longevity

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Boris Becker GETTYRoger Federer Rafael Nadal's injury woes have cost him says Boris Becker
Lucia Summers | 15 February, 2018, 18:30

My wish for Federer to have won the 2008 Wimbledon final is like wanting Lebron James to sign with the Golden State Warriors: both would extend transcendent sports streaks but competition is obviously more fun, so long as some sort of narrative keeps the stakes high, whether that's four players trading grand slam victories or two teams competing in three straight National Basketball Association finals.

"I am very motivated to be the number one again". A semi-final run will earn Federer 180 points-and along with them, the accolade of the oldest tennis No1, man or woman, since formal rankings began.

Federer also gave some insight into his plans for the spring claycourt season, which he skipped completely a year ago on the way to winning his eighth Wimbledon title. And most importantly, at least for my 12-year-old self, Federer seems poised to continue serving aces for some time.

As it turns out, Federer is not done yet and is hungrier for more. If I didn't know better, I might be convinced that 2017 and 2018 are an alternative timeline in which 2007 and 2008 are being repeated with slightly different outcomes. I played full schedule from 1998 or 1999 to 2016.

"But I always had the flexibility in February".

"You always want to be better and better, but there is no need to rush".

But a theme of the previous year or so has been his own surprise at how things have unfolded.

After winning a round at the Australian Open, he then returned to battle last week in Sofia, reaching the semifinals before losing to eventual champion, qualifier Basic.

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"I'm hoping to get to No.1 and hoping to do it this week".

"It's not like with Rio [in 2016], where it was really something I set myself as a goal". In 2016, Novak and Andy were in their absolute prime, fighting for world No1. Rafa was young enough to come back. Continuing to win grand slam singles titles in your early 30s is rare. Federer, however, is still not scheduled to play in Dubai. Indeed the top half comprises nine out of 16 men over 30.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves it is not an automatic slam dunk that Federer will get the top spot.

Next is the victor between 34-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber and 21-year-old Karen Khachanov.

Federer could be on hand to take advantage of the Spaniard's latest setback at the ATP Rotterdam tournament, for which he accepted a wildcard entry. "It's exciting to see Stan in my section and it's great to have him back (after knee surgery in July)". We're doing it because we're older and we have thousands of matches in our bodies. "I won a tournament and I moved up into the top 100".

So if Federer jumps all those hurdles, he will be the new No1.

Dimitrov faces Japan's Yuichi Sugita in the first round, while rising German Alexander Zverev takes on Spanish veteran David Ferrer. He will next play either Joao Sousa or one more of the over-30s club, Andreas Seppi. I won two of them. He is not only the favourite with fans here this week but surely the favourite to set that No1 record come Friday.

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