Paris: Former champion Pete Sampras saluted Roger Federer on Monday for surpassing his mark of 286 weeks at the top of the men’s rankings.
Swiss Federer, the holder of a record 17 Grand Slam titles, reached the landmark of an unprecedented 287th week as world No. 1 having already pulled level with Sampras on reclaiming top spot after a two-year absence following his seventh Wimbledon title a week ago.
“Great effort. The hardest thing to do in sports is the ability to stay on top. Roger has been able to do so by great play. He is durable,” Sampras said.
Federer, 31, is guaranteed to keep the No. 1 spot through the London Olympics, extending the mark still further. The ATP also lauded Federer. “Congratulations Roger on your all-time record for most weeks as No. 1,” the organisation said in a special tribute on its website homepage. 287 and counting...”
With the Olympics and US Open fast approaching, Federer shows no sign of his passion for the game waning despite being the second oldest man after Andre Agassi to hold the top ranking.
“I had set a goal with my team to try and get back to the top of the rankings, but I never thought with the depth in the game this year that I would have been able to get it back so quickly,” Federer said.
“I am extremely proud and honoured to have beaten Pete’s record as he was my childhood hero and I have always looked up to him.” Federer holds a 75-point lead over world No. 2 Novak Djokovic.