Federer says Djokovic deserves No. 1 ranking
BERN, Switzerland — Roger Federer says it’s good for tennis that Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon and became the top-ranked player.
The only player who has beaten him this year said Tuesday that Djokovic has earned his success after compiling a 48-1 record in 2011.
“He deserves to become No. 1 after an immense start to the year,” said Federer, who defeated the 24-year-old Serb in the French Open semifinals. “When you lose so rarely, your confidence carries you a long way.”
The third-ranked Federer said it wasn’t a big surprise that Djokovic dethroned Rafael Nadal after having beaten the former top-ranked Spaniard in four previous finals in 2011.
“And he’s proved before at Wimbledon that he can play on grass,” said Federer, a few days before the start to Switzerland’s Davis Cup match against Portugal. “It’s good for tennis that it happened.”
Despite Sunday’s final promising to write a significant chapter in tennis history, the six-time Wimbledon champion did not watch it at home in Switzerland.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch the final, but for sure it was being played at a very high level,” he said.
Federer lost in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. The five-set defeat was the first time he blew a two-set lead in a Grand Slam singles match, and just the third time in his career.
The first came against former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup semifinals against Australia — the closest Federer has come to lifting the trophy.
Since then, Federer has won all 12 singles matches on national duty, the most recent against Italy in September 2009 to help keep Switzerland in the elite 16-nation world group.
The Swiss were relegated after losing last year to Spain and then Kazakhstan, when national hero Federer received rare criticism for skipping the match.
“If I’m playing, it’s a priority,” Federer said. “Our priority is to get back into the world group.”
Switzerland must beat Portugal over five matches on indoor hard courts at PostFinance Arena to earn a playoff spot in September.
Federer and 15th-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka are heavily favored to beat clay-court specialists Frederico Gil and Rui Machado, ranked 90th and 93rd respectively, in Friday’s opening singles.
“One thing they have is that they have nothing to lose,” Portugal captain Pedro Cordeiro said of his team. “Everyone expects Switzerland to win the match.” (AP)