Federer: Novak is true number one
Roger Federer hailed Novak Djokovic as the rightful number one ahead of the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London this week.
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Federer usurped Djokovic at the top of the rankings by winning Wimbledon in July and has held the position ever since but that will change on Monday when the Serb reclaims top spot.
And, with Federer unable to improve on his perfect record at last year's tournament, there is no scenario by which the 31-year-old can regain the place until next season.
Federer said: "We know who the real number one is. It is going to be Novak. I do not think there should be any debate around about that.
"You do not get to number one by chance. The rankings are something that shows how you have played over a 365-day period. It might all change again in two months at the Australian Open but right now it is clear."
Federer essentially waved the white flag when he chose not to defend his Paris Masters title last week, deciding he could not play back-to-back tournaments in Basle, Paris and London.
The Swiss crowd favourite plans his season carefully to give himself enough rest, but he vowed to give himself the best possible chance to get back to number one next year.
He said: "I obviously gave it everything I had. I've played so much tennis the last one and a half, two years and I'm happy I got back to world number one.
"It's obviously a time where you need to win at least a slam, if not more slams, or at least five to 10 titles, so we're not talking about just a quick jump to number one and then you lose it again.
"This is a full-on process. That obviously takes a lot of sacrifice. For the time being I'm willing to do all of that. So I'm putting my schedule into place for next year and there are no extraordinary changes."
Although it has not lived up to his sensational 2011, Djokovic has again had the best year on tour, winning five titles, including the Australian Open, and reaching the finals of the French Open and US Open.
On returning to number one, the Serb said: "It means a lot to all of us in the team. We are very proud of what we have achieved.
"It is not easy ending the season as world number one considering the competition we have had this year. This will serve as a confidence boost for upcoming years."
Djokovic struggled in London last year as fatigue caught up with him and he was surprisingly beaten in the second round in Paris last week by America's Sam Querrey.
The 25-year-old also made an unscheduled trip back to Serbia to visit his ill father, but he is optimistic of raising his game at the O2 Arena this week.
Djokovic opens his campaign against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Monday evening, and he said: "It is expected not to be always in your top form at this time of year.
"The effects of the long season can influence you physically and mentally but this is an important tournament and I definitely want to do well. I am sure I will find the strength to perform my best and we will see if that best is good enough."
Federer, meanwhile, backed Andy Murray's calls for more drug testing in tennis, particularly blood tests.
He said: "I feel I am being less tested than I was six or seven years ago so I do not know the exact reasons why we are being tested less. At this moment, I agree with Andy, we do not do a lot of blood-testing during the year.
"It is vital that the sport stays clean, it has got to. We have had a good history in terms of that and we want to ensure it stays that way."