Wimbledon top priority, not world ranking: Federer

Kuala Lumpur, November 18:

Roger Federer plans to regain the No 1 ranking next year and surpass Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam record, but says winning Wimbledon is his top priority.

The Swiss great is winding down his season with an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur today against James Blake, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg but is already thinking about next year, and insisted retirement was not on the horizon. “For next year, I guess it goes hand-in-hand a little bit, winning Grand Slams and getting the No 1 ranking back,” he said here.

Federer could equal Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam titles if he wins in Melbourne in January. But Wimbledon is his clear priority. Asked what was more important, regaining the world No 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal or winning the grass court championships for a sixth time, he emphatically nominated Wimbledon. “I’d take Wimbledon any day in front of my No 1 rank,” he said.

Federer has had a tough season, losing his top spot after 237 weeks and seeing his five-year Wimbledon winning streak snapped by Rafael Nadal. But with the ATP Tour revamping the tournament schedules next year, he said he was looking forward to getting back out there. “I think it is going to be an interesting year ahead for me, because I think next year will be a much better scheduling year for everybody,” he said. “This year the travel was pretty gruelling

and I think next year is going to be better so I’m looking forward to that.”

Asked what he would do when he retires, the Swiss star admitted he was thinking about his post-tennis life a lot more now, but said he was not ready to hang up his racquet in the foreseeable future. “I don’t know what I am going to do after my tennis career. It’s not going to happen anytime soon because I want to play for many years to come.”