DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Now that Roger Federer is back atop the world rankings, he intends to stay there in 2010.
Federer, who faces Christophe Rochus of Belgium in the Qatar Open on Tuesday in his first competitive match of 2010, reclaimed the No. 1 ranking last year from Rafael Nadal.
“I would like to stay No. 1 for an obvious reason — getting to No. 1 from No. 2 was very hard work,” the 28-year-old Swiss player said Monday. “Nadal played so well to stay No. 1. Now, I want to stay No. 1 for as long as possible. I am sure if I stay healthy, I can win tournaments and stay No. 1.”
Federer was dethroned at the top of the rankings in August 2008, only a few weeks after losing an epic five-set Wimbledon final to Nadal. Federer returned to No. 1 after beating Andy Roddick in last year’s Wimbledon final.
“I am healthy now,” Federer said. “I know I can win many more tournaments than I did last year. Last year was fantastic, but I am looking at one match at a time at each event I play this season. Right now, my focus is on the first match here.”
The 15-time Grand Slam champion, who won four tournaments in 2009, said he enjoys the pressure that comes with being arguably the greatest player of all time.
“There’s always pressure from one quarter or the other,” Federer said. “There’s pressure from yourself, pressure from fans, your team. But I play better under pressure.”
Winning tournaments has become easier after a decade on top, he said.
“You go back to your roots,” Federer said. “You tell yourself how you became a good player. You enjoy competition. You tell yourself how you have been around for so long. You have to have regard for the hard work you have put in.”
Federer, who competed in all 40 Grand Slam tournaments in the last decade, said his technique allowed him to avoid serious injury.
“My movements are very smooth. That has helped me stay injury-free. And if there was a niggling injury, I would listen to my body. I would listen to signals my body would give me,” Federer said.
“You have to look at the larger picture,” he added.