Further adding to his un-official status as the greatest tennis player of the open era, the 30-year old Swiss tennis ace has spent an incredible 287 weeks in the top position. Although this is the first time since the 2010 French Open that Federer has held the position, he has surpassed Pete Sampras’ previous record best of 286 weeks at number 1 and is guaranteed to hold onto the number 1 spot throughout the Olympic tennis tournament.
Speaking about the achievement just one week after winning his 17th Grand Slam title, Federer explained how his goal this year was to move back to the top of the rankings but that he “never thought with the depth in the game this year that I would have been able to get it back so quickly.” Equally “proud and honoured” to have beaten his childhood hero Sampras’ previous record, Federer described the “amazing feeling” at regaining the ATP top spot and setting a brand new record.
Sampras himself applauded the “great effort” that Federer has made in surpassing his record in a statement released on the official ATP website. As aware as ever of just how difficult it is to hold on to a top position in the sport, the Hall of Famer spoke of how “the hardest thing….is the ability to stay on top” and that Federer has been able to achieve this with “great play and durability”.