11 May 2011

Fed believes he can still claim Sampras record

6:35 am on 11 May 2011

Roger Federer rejects the idea that the balance of power in men's tennis has tipped towards Novak Djokovic after a 32-match winning run and believes he can still beat Pete Sampras's record for time spent as world number one.

The Swiss world number three, who has a record 16 grand slam titles to his name, has been left in the shade by Rafael Nadal for much of the past 12 months and has now seen Djokovic supplant him as the Spaniard's main rival.

However, Federer feels he can reclaim his throne and move ahead of American great Sampras who spent a total of 286 weeks as world number one to Federer's current 285.

Serbia's Djokovic could become the first player other than Federer or Nadal to hold the top ranking since 2004 if he wins the Rome Masters this week, but Federer remains confident he can still challenge the top two.

While the 29-year-old did not watch Djokovic's straight sets defeat of Nadal in the Madrid final on Sunday, he felt the Serb would have it tougher in Rome and Paris.

This year the Rome Masters, which for the first time in decades features men and women in one tournament, takes place after the Madrid Open.