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Federer Recalls First Time At No. 1

Shanghai, China

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer will celebrate 300 weeks at No. 1 on Monday.

It happened way back in 2004, but Roger Federer says that he ‘vividly’ remembers the moment he first ascended to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Just days away from beginning his 300th week as World No. 1, the Swiss also said that staying No. 1 is easier than getting to No. 1.

“I do remember it very vividly, actually,” Federer told media in Shanghai Thursday. "It's not one of those moments that happens and then you forget.  It took me a lot of great performances to get there. I had an opportunity I think in the match against Roddick in Montréal.  Lost 7-6 in the semis there against him.  It took me to win Wimbledon, the [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals, then basically get to the finals of the Australian Open.  After beating Ferrero in the semis, I knew I clinched it, but obviously I wanted to finish the tournament on a high note winning the Australian Open as well.

“That's what I was able to do then. But I remember after the semis how happy I was becoming World No. 1. It was for me back then sort of the ultimate accomplishment next to winning Wimbledon. That all happened in a span of sort of nine months, which was so intense, huge relief in some ways, but a big satisfaction. Here I am eight years later, even more. It's pretty special. Obviously I lost the World No. 1 ranking a few times, but I also stayed a long time once I got there.  I always felt tennis was easier for me playing as World No. 1 than actually getting there.”

In a relaxed mood with the media after rallying from a set down to beat countryman Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals, Federer said that he still played for the love of the game and not just for all the success that comes his way.

"Sometimes you're just happy playing. Some people, some media unfortunately don't understand that it's okay just to play tennis and enjoy it. They always think you have to win everything, it always needs to be a success story, and if it's not obviously what is the point. Maybe you have to go back and think, Why have I started playing tennis?  Because I just like it.  It's actually sort of a dream hobby that became somewhat of a job.  Some people just don't get that ever.”

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