New Delhi: With the year-end closing on fast, two of tennis' greatest players are on a collision course with only 1000 points separating them in the ATP ranking. After winning the elusive Shanghai crown last week, Roger Federer has posed a direct challenge to the top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
After spending most part of the year outside the top-five ranking, Swiss maestro has risen to the occasion and won back-to-back titles, latest in China. With the Shanghai title, the 33-year-old also pocketed 1000 points and found himself suddenly fighting for that numero uno spot.
Scripting an extraordinary revival in his tennis fortunes, Federer defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals of Shanghai Masters, and thus proved his critics wrong that the age-factor is merely a perception. With three tournaments still available to him, Federer is in prime position to wrest back the top ranking from the Serbian.
For that, he will need to win at least one title, of the three remaining tournaments he is competing, starting with his home event in Basel. Swiss Indoors carries only 500 ATP ranking points, but a win at home will spur his chances further. Other two tournaments are Paris Masters or ATP World Tour Finals in London with 1000 and 1500 points at stakes respectively.
In Basel, Federer has reached the final in his last eight appearances, winning the title five times. His biggest opponent will be his old nemesis Rafael Nadal, who is struggling with injuries. In Paris, Federer will have Djokovic and Nadal's company.
Besides, like in every other Masters outing, Federer will get more than a handful of other worthy opponents in Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, all fighting for crucial points for the Finals and capable of lifting the title.