Federer breaks number one record
Federer said he was honoured to have broken the record set by Sampras, his childhood hero (Keystone)
Roger Federer has set yet another tennis record, surpassing Pete Sampras with the most weeks at number one in the ATP rankings, which are updated every Monday.
Federer, who also holds a record 17 grand slam titles, returned to the top for the first time since June 2010 after winning Wimbledon a week ago. It was his 287th week at number one, one more than Sampras.
The 30-year-old Swiss said he was “extremely proud and honoured to have beaten Pete's record as he was my childhood hero and I have always looked up to him”.
He added that it was “really an amazing feeling” to have regained the top spot. “I had set a goal with my team to try to get back to the top of the rankings, but I never thought with the depth in the game this year that I would have been able to get it back so quickly.”
By defeating top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at Wimbledon and winning the final against Andy Murray, Federer leapt from three in the rankings to one. Djokovic slides to two and Rafael Nadal drops to three. Murray remains fourth.
Federer first made it to number one in February 2004 after winning the Australian Open and stayed there for 237 consecutive weeks, another record.
He was then overtaken by Nadal for 46 weeks before coming back again in 2009 after winning Wimbledon. He would hold onto the top slot for another 48 weeks until the French Open in 2010.
Federer enters the upcoming London 2012 Olympics as the world's top-ranked player.
Sampras acknowledged Federer’s one-up on his record, saying: “Great effort. The hardest thing to do in sports is the ability to stay on top. Roger has been able to do so by great play and durability.”