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Federer back on top in rankings

ROGER Federer certainly is not ready to stop at a record 15 grand slam titles.

Still, he figures his recent run of success is about as good as it gets: a first French Open title to complete a career grand slam and tie Pete Sampras with 14 major championships, followed by a sixth Wimbledon trophy for No. 15 overall.

"I don't know if I've had a more happy period in my tennis life. I don't know if I can ever top this," Federer said yesterday, less than 24 hours after beating Andy Roddick 16-14 in the longest fifth set in major final history.

"These last months, with all the records on the line, and coming through both times," said Federer, who also returned to No. 1 in the rankings. "Knowing what it means to me, it's quite amazing."

After attending the Wimbledon Champions Dinner on Sunday night, Federer managed to squeeze in two hours of sleep - from 7-9am.

"Sleep is so overrated," he said with a smile. "Then you wake up, and you're like, 'Man, you did it again.'"

Federer was asked whether it mattered that Rafael Nadal wasn't around this year at Wimbledon.

"No. Not at all. Sure, people might see it this way, and I wish I could have played him again," Federer said.

"Rafa was part of the French Open - I didn't play him there in the final, and it didn't take anything away, in my opinion. Some people are always going to say, 'You should have beaten him to do that.' I disagree," Federer continued.

"(Bjorn) Borg walked away from tennis at 27 - does that take anything away from John McEnroe or the legacy he had? No. You only have to beat who's across the net, and that's what it takes, and you can't always play the other biggest rivals. But I'm sad for him that he didn't even get a chance to defend Wimbledon."

Sampras attended Sunday's final and said later that he thought Federer could wind up with 18 major titles or more.

Federer didn't disagree.

"It definitely seems possible, you know," said Federer, who turns 28 next month. "I've reached, what is it, 16 out of 17 grand slam finals in a row now? So you'd figure I'd definitely have a shot in the next few years. I'm still young, in tennis terms, I think. It's only after 30 the clock starts ticking."

He described how back pain had sidelined him for about six weeks this season, taking a toll, mentally and physically, and limiting him when it came to chasing down shots.


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