Federer on a mission to regain tennis top ranking, says ex-coach Roche

January 31st, 2009 - 1:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Roger Federer

Melbourne, Jan.31 (ANI): Australian tennis coach Tony Roche is of the view that Swiss great Roger Federer is on a mission to reclaim the prized No.1 ranking, as well as his 14th Grand Slam title.
Roche, who steered a chastened Ivan Lendl back to the top when the Czech-born American won his first Australian Open in 1989, has also coached Federer for three years, and is looking forward to Sunday to see whether history can be repeated 20 years later at the same venue.
Recalling his stint with Lendl, Roche was quoted by the Herald Sun as saying: “Ivan just focused on winning. He was driven by winning. But it (reclaiming No. 1) doesn”t happen too often and I”m sure he’’s pretty proud of that achievement.”
Federer, he says, has to be more patient. He must first equal Pete Sampras’’s record of 14 grand slam singles crowns by winning on Sunday to narrow the chase after Nadal.
“I think he has a few things to focus on. First of all winning the slams, then he’’s after Pete’’s record and the No.1. So there are quite a few things to think about. Roger is very much aware of the past, and it is terrific for tennis in general to have somebody who cares about it, knows the history and appreciates everything about it,” said Roche.
Federer’’s semi-final win against Andy Roddick leaves him just one grand slam final behind Lendl’’s tally, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“I didn”t know I had reached my 18th final in a grand slam. I”m very happy and proud about that,” Federer said.
Lendl, so far the only player to surrender the No.1 ranking, regain it and retain it for the rest of the year, believes Federer can emulate his feat this year.
“One thing Roger has in his favour is that everything comes so much easier for him,” Lendl said earlier this month.
“He can win points more easily. That’’s never the case with Nadal, who’’s more like Mats in that he has to get an opponent to miss or come up with a passing shot. Guys like Roger, John McEnroe, or even myself, could hit a lot of winners, so there’’s not the need to grind as much match after match,” he added. (ANI)

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