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Wimbledon Diary: Battle For World No. 1

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic was in a light-hearted mood at Aorangi Park on Thursday afternoon. takes a look at the news and talking points on Thursday ahead of the Wimbledon semi-finals.

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Battle For World No. 1
When Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer meet for the 11th time (tied 5-5) at a Grand Slam championship on Friday, much more will be at stake than reaching The Championships final.

If top seed and defending champion Djokovic beats third seed Federer for the 13th time in 27 meetings, then the Serbian is guaranteed to remain at No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday.

Federer, who is already guaranteed to replace Rafael Nadal as the World No. 2, will be attempting to become the first man to reach eight Wimbledon finals. If he goes onto capture his seventh trophy at the All England Club, then he would regain the top spot.

Read Djokovic vs. Federer Semi-Final Preview

When asked about potentially losing the World No. 1 ranking to Federer, Djokovic said, “When you're playing at this stage of a Grand Slam against one of your biggest rivals, there is a lot of things involved, a lot of things on the line. It's not the first time that I'm playing to win or lose a ranking. It's not something that I think about too much. I really just want to focus on the match."

Federer was last World No. 1 on 25 May 2010. He has been No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for 285 weeks, which is one week shy of equalling Pete Sampras’ all-time record of 286 weeks.

Player Total No. Of Weeks At No. 1
Pete Sampras (USA) 286
Roger Federer (SUI) 285
Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA) 270
Jimmy Connors (USA) 268

Djokovic added, “It is a challenge when you play Roger and Rafa or any of the top players. Roger has been on the top of the men's game for so long. This is where he won six titles. He definitely wants to prove himself and to everybody else that he can win it once again.

“We [have] never played on grass, so we'll see how that is going to turn out.  He has a really smart game for this surface. But I [have] improved playing on grass in last couple of years. I won the title here last year, got to another semi-final this year, so I'm feeling good about this surface, about myself on the court. I really have nothing to lose.”

Boris Backs Murray
Boris Becker, the three-time former Wimbledon champion, in his column for The Daily Telegraph, writes, “If he (Murray) keeps playing like this, I believe Andy will be the man who lifts the Wimbledon trophy above his head on Sunday afternoon. And Britain will finally have ended its grand slam jinx. What impressed me above all [against David Ferrer] was that he kept improving throughout the match, until by the end he was playing genuine championship tennis.

“And so to the semi-final. Of course Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be another tough opponent, but who would you rather face - Tsonga or Rafael Nadal? Andy is the man with the greater experience and the more varied arsenal.  If he can maintain this level of competitiveness, of positive attitude at the crucial moments, it’s going to take him a long way. Maybe even to the big prize he has been chasing all his life.”

Read Murray Vs. Tsonga Semi-Final Preview

No More Mr Nice Guy
Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 titlist, says Murray must be positive when he plays Tsonga on Friday. Speaking to Reuters, the popular Croatian looked back at his own career, saying, “I needed to be more arrogant on court. I had too much respect for everybody. For Becker, for [Andre] Agassi, for [Pete] Sampras [and] for [Jim] Courier; I even had respect for the guy ranked No. 100.

"That's why I like Djokovic. He doesn't respect anybody on the court. He's great. Even when he was young, he thought he was going to No. 1 one day, and he became No. 1. Whereas I was always happy being No. 2 behind Sampras... maybe if I thought I could be No. 1, I wouldn't have lost so many matches.

"I had a bad, bad record in the finals. It is the same for Murray. In a final and semis Murray has to take chances because against these guys, he can't wait for them to miss as they are never going to miss. He has to make them miss and he has to put the pressure on them."

Welcoming Voice At Wimbledon
Throughout the fortnight, John Parry has been a welcome voice over tannoy system at The Championships, keeping spirits high when rain clouds move in overhead. From his office overlooking Court 14, Parry told The Daily Telegraph, “The main thing is to keep people informed,” said the 73-year-old former RAF squadron leader. “I always say: you can only under-communicate. I like to keep optimistic. I often say that there is a ‘reasonable’ chance of play. That’s a good Met Office word.”

Parry, a two-time former junior Wimbledon titlist, with 30 years of experience as a chair umpire, has contacts dotted over the south of England and Wales for weather updates. “My daughter lives in Cardiff, so I often call her and ask her what the weather’s doing,” he said. “If you know what direction the cloud base is coming from, and speed it’s moving at, you know what’s coming.”

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