Novak Djokovic a threat to Roger Federer hitting 300 weeks as world number one
Roger Federer races past milestones with the speed of some of the taxi drivers on the freeways here in China's largest city. The latest target in the sights of the 31-year-old Swiss is a record 300th week at the top of the world rankings, which he will achieve if he reaches at least the quarter-finals of this week's Shanghai Masters.
The man breathing down Federer's neck is Novak Djokovic, who arrived yesterday following his victory in the China Open in Beijing on Sunday. Djokovic needs to win the title next weekend to reclaim the No 1 spot, which Federer took from him by winning Wimbledon this summer.
Federer's feat in returning to the head of the world rankings, 14 months after he had been supplanted by Rafael Nadal, was arguably the greatest achievement of his career. However, he faces a huge challenge between now and the end of the season to hold off Djokovic.
Once this week is out of the way Federer will have to defend 3,000 of his current total of 11,805 ranking points in three successive weeks at the end of the season, having ended 2011 by winning his hometown tournament at Basle, the Paris Masters and the World Tour Finals in London.
Djokovic, in contrast, won just 560 in the same three tournaments last year after apparently running out of steam following his extraordinary efforts earlier in the campaign.
"That's the target," Djokovic said when asked about the world No 1 ranking. "It's still quite open and there are still tournaments to come, big ones."
Britain's Heather Watson, the world No 71, is hoping to improve her own ranking at the Japan Open in Osaka this week and made a good start when she beat Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. Laura Robson was due to play her opening match today against Greece's Eleni Daniilidou.
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant