Can Roger Federer Finish 2014 No. 1 in the ATP Rankings?


Roger Federer climbed back to No. 2 in the rankings this week after Rafael Nadal’s early loss in Shanghai and his own title win, and is within striking distance of ending the 2014 tennis season as No. 1 on the ATP rankings.

The Swiss’ win in Shanghai means he now has 8,020 points in the ATP race to London and is only 990 points behind first placed Novak Djokovic, a strong position to be in with 3500 ranking points up for grabs at his next 3 events.

With only 1060 points to defend in his remaining three events, plus points from his Davis Cup final appearance, Federer now has a chance to overtake the Serbian who must be feeling shaken confidence wise after Federer’s convincing win over him in Shanghai. Djokovic also has a much tougher road ahead of him when it comes to defending points on his ranking- the Serb has 2,500 points to defend the rest of the season. How that pressure combined with the pressure of knowing an in-form Federer is so close behind him in the rankings and the distraction of his soon to be born child, affects Djokovic will also be an important factor.

Anyone who had said at the start of the 2014 season that Roger Federer had a chance of finishing world No. 1 in the ATP rankings might have been called accused of knowing nothing about tennis. At the start of the season, the Swiss was ranked world No. 8 and suffered a humiliating loss to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Though he had taken on Stefan Edberg as his coach and adopted a more aggressive style of play, and the results were there to see in Melbourne as he crushed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray in Melbourne, Federer was not able to execute against Nadal as he was forced into the passive and error prone role he often does against the Spaniard. Post match, the feeling was that while progress had been made- it had been a year since Federer played a slam semi-final- Federer was still not able to perform his attacking game for an entire match against Nadal.

However, as Nadal, ranked No. 2 since Monday July 7th this year, struggled with form, the two did not meet the rest of the season, and Federer went on a roll. His decision to approach the net whenever the opportunity struck, a rare tactic in the sport, paid off. He won the Dubai title, reached the Indian Wells final (lost to Djokovic), made the Monte Carlo final (lost to Wawrinka),  won Halle, made the Wimbledon final (lost to Djokovic), finished runner up in Toronto (lost to Tsonga) and won Cincinnati and reached the last four at the U.S Open before his run to the Shanghai title, climbing all the way back up to No. 2 in the process.

Now only Djokovic stands in his way. However, the Wimbledon Champion’s beating in Shanghai suggests he might not be that difficult to overtake at the top of the ATP rankings. Djokovic has only Paris and the WTFs ahead of him, and if current form is anything to go by, he could face Federer in either final but only if he gets to that stage. Federer, however, has a stronger chance of reaching the finals or winning Basel next week, and making the finals of both Paris and London than the Serb does- Federer has made three of the last four finals of the events he has entered while Djokovic has made only one.

Only if Djokovic can produce the kind of tennis he did to play and win that final in Beijing against Berdych can he protect his No 1 ranking and finish top of the year end ATP rankings for the third time since 2011. Berdych said after the match, in which he was thrashed  0-6, 2-6, that Djokoivic was the best player he had ever competed against. And the Serb will have to compete at his best against Federer if they clash in either the Paris Bercy or WTF London finals. Federer has the confidence in his game and his new racket, and he has, perhaps most crucially, the momentum, to topple Djokovic at both those events and if Djokovic is at all distracted by the birth of his future child then Federer will finish world No. 1 on the ATP rankings for the sixth time (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009), the first time for five years, and the only time in the same year that he has never won a slam.

Commentary by Christian Deverille

Photo courtesy of Marianne Bevis- License
ATP Tour

9 Responses to "Can Roger Federer Finish 2014 No. 1 in the ATP Rankings?"

  1. Andrew   October 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

    He can. If he will is another story. I think he may be stretching it trying to play Basel, Paris and London back to back the way he is. For him to take #1 he needs to win two of these events and hope that Djokovic doesn’t make finals/win either of the latter two.
    I doubt Roger will have another win like the Shanghai finals over Novak. None of us saw that coming but I’m sure the Serb will be much better prepared and a lot fresher next time.

  2. Jon   October 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Past 33 the body readapts to what it can do and the performance level increases again. Federer could actually dominate professional tennis for the next 5 years if he tries. I could see him finish no 1 again two or more times till he retires.

  3. Krista Joyner   October 17, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Federer is amazing. And, he can do this!

  4. Raj   October 17, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Fed will finish No.1 for sure this year. He might even win 2 more titles plus the Davis Cup.
    But a slam, that’s tough. Someone will come and break our hearts in the final.
    But here, to a great year he had 🙂

  5. Jim   October 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Your statistics are wrong. Recheck on the official rankings:

    • Christian Deverille   October 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Yes, the article does not make it clear that it is referring to points in the ATP race to London which is different to the rankings, though at the end of the year they are the same. Federer is second in that race as well as in the ATP rankings.

  6. John R   October 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Fed you are the greatest! You can do it!

  7. boo Jay   October 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I have every faith in Federer that he could retake No. 1, yet again. If not this year, then next. Although it would be so sweet if he could end this year on top, considering his age and how much work he’s put in to get back there.

  8. JonnyBlaze   October 16, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I don’t think Fed can overtake Djoker but the fact he rose from 8 to 2 and has four titles this year is awesome at his age. Fed just needs to win a slam to get him back in true form. I hope he wins one in 2015.


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