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Federer writes off Rafa demise


 

Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56

In a complete reversal of fortune from last season, when Nadal took over as the best player in the world and all the talk was of Federer’s decline, the Swiss has enjoyed one of the best campaigns of his career while his rival has been dogged by injuries.

But the world number one insists Nadal has plenty more fuel in the tank, and said: “I don’t think we should exaggerate. The guy has had the most incredible first five months of the year.”

He added: “Okay he missed Wimbledon and couldn’t defend (his title) but other than that he’s seemed okay. He won the Australian Open, he played some incredible matches and he’s still got a chance to finish number one in the world. To me that doesn’t seem like a horrible scenario to have.”

Realistically, Nadal needs to win the title to usurp Federer, and their respective records make that outcome unlikely, with the Spaniard never having reached the final before while Federer won four titles from five successive finals between 2003 and 2007.

In addition, the 28-year-old can become only the second man since Ivan Lendl 20 years ago to regain the year-end number one ranking, and he said: “I’m aware of it. I’d be lying if I said I’m just here to play well.

“I’m here to win the tournament and try to stay number one in the world. Competition’s really stiff so it’s not going to be an easy task for me or Rafa if he wants to get it but it’s fun that it’s on the line for the last tournament of the season.”

Nadal, though, insists returning to the top of the pile is not his main priority.

“If I win the tournament it doesn’t matter if I’m number 10,” he said. “The ranking is important, yes, but not the most important thing.”

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