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The Last Time Roger Federer Clinched World No. 1…



After skipping the clay-court season, Roger Federer arrived at the 2018 MercedesCup following an 11-week hiatus. The Swiss star immediately had to find his top gear, as World No. 1 was at stake. If Federer reached the Stuttgart final, he would pass Rafael Nadal for top spot.

Roger in action

“I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” Federer said ahead of the ATP 250. “But then again, having lost here last year in the [opening] round, for me, it resets the goals.”

Federer was riding a two-match Stuttgart losing streak. Dominic Thiem saved two match points to oust the Swiss in the 2016 semi-finals, and Tommy Haas saved one match point in a second-round upset of Federer in 2017.

The 36-year-old lost his first set of the 2018 tournament against Mischa Zverev. But then Federer found his form, rallying past the German and ousting Guido Pella to set a semi-final clash against Nick Kyrgios. The stakes were clear: Win, and clinch a return to World No. 1 for the third time that season.

Federer played steadier tennis than the dynamic Aussie in a 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(5) triumph, securing No. 1 and reaching the championship match.

“I’m very happy, very relieved. I thought it was a tough match [like] I expected against Nick. We’ve played so many breakers already, I’m losing count,” Federer said. “It was close. It could have gone either way, naturally. But I’m happy I got it and get back to World No. 1 next Monday, so it’s very exciting. And I’ve got another final, so it’s great news.”

Federer had lost two of his previous three matches against his next opponent, Milos Raonic. But the Swiss claimed his 18th tour-level grass-court crown with a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory against the Canadian.

“I’m really happy. I thought it was a good final from my side. I think I played very well throughout the tournament, actually, having not played for a while. It’s a great comeback for me,” Federer said.

Federer only lost his serve twice all week, triumphing in Stuttgart for the first time on his third appearance. His efforts allowed him to reclaim World No. 1 for one week — Nadal took back top spot — which was the last week Federer spent atop tennis’ mountain.

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Novak Djokovic says he regrets his failure to win at the US Open or Roland Garros



“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life”

Novak Djokovic says he regrets the failure to win either the US or French Opens, despite playing some of the best tennis of his life in 2020.

Having won an eighth Australian Open in January, Djokovic was disqualified at the US Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge in the neck with a petulant swipe of the ball during his fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

He was then blown away by world No 2 Rafael Nadal in the final of the re-arranged French Open in October.

Djokovic remains on 17 Grand Slam titles while Nadal and Federer are on 20 each after the Spaniard clinched a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title.

“There is a lingering regret that I didn’t win either the US Open or the Roland Garros this year,” Djokovic told reporters at his tennis academy in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river.

“I was in outstanding form at both events but having reached the French Open final, I was beaten by a player who was much better on the day.

“I was below par and that’s it. As far as the US Open is concerned, I got myself into an unfortunate situation and was disqualified, but I won several other big tournaments.

“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life.”

Djokovic dismissed suggestions he was under intense pressure to overhaul Nadal and Federer in their three-way race to become the greatest male player of all time.

“Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learned how to deal with it,” he said.

“It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve.

“If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy.”

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