Tennis Expert & Columnist
Roger Federer wants to be known as tennis' greatest player, believes Greg Rusedski
Last Updated: 15/10/17 7:52pm
Greg Rusedski believes Roger Federer wants to be remembered as the sport's greatest player of all time after securing his sixth title of the year with victory over Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters.
Federer claimed his second Shanghai crown, after his first in 2014, and third at the Masters 1000 level this season to narrow the gap behind the world No 1 from Spain.
The 36-year-old Swiss, who has already won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, suggested he had not committed to playing in Basel and Paris ahead of the season-ending World Tour Finals, when he spoke to Sky Sports following his victory in the Chinese city, and would instead target winning in London as his main goal.
Rusedski believes that despite hurting his ambitions of finishing the season as the end-of-year world No 1, should he not feature in Basel and Paris, he would be adopting a "clever" strategy as the season draws to a close.
"Roger is very clever," Rusedski said. "Even if he doesn't play (at Basel and Paris) and get to world No 1 but he wins more Masters series, they have two Slams apiece and then wins in London he will have actually won more of the bigger titles.
"Because that [the World Tour Finals] is probably the fifth major if you are looking outside the majors. Roger is thinking of the bigger picture all the time. Really the only player to threaten him as the greatest player of all time is Rafa. He has equalled Sampras with 16 majors - Roger has 19."
Federer decided to miss the clay court season this year to help his chances during the grass court season which paid dividends as the world No 2 picked up his eighth title from the All England Club but Rusedski believes Nadal will push Federer close in the number of Grand Slam titles if the Spaniard stays injury free.
Rusedski added: "There is a five-year difference between the pair. Rafa, apart from the little strapping on his knees in the final, has looked very healthy. He (Federer) is going to try and keep Rafa away from having more majors than him."
Meanwhile, the former US Open finalist described the year's tennis so far as "phenomenal" and "great for the sport", despite former world No 1s Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic being ruled out for the second half of the year through hip and elbow injuries respectively.
The former British No 1 is adamant that Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, can rediscover his best form on his return to the scene, but he does not feel so optimistic for Djokovic.
The Serb's best performance at this year's Grand Slams were runs to the quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon, with Rusedski concerned by the 30-year-old's "fall from grace".
Rusedski added: "Murray for me it's not mental - it's physical. If the body comes back and the hip is fine and he can get himself physically fit again, and everything is firing, he will be in the mix to win majors again.
"Djokovic for me, however, with the elbow injury - it's such a mental question mark. He was the best player bar none when he held all the four majors [at the same time] - which no player had done since Rod Laver.
"The fall from grace he has had has been incredible - that to me is mental and that can be more difficult [to overcome] sometimes than a physical injury."
We will have all the action from the Erste Bank Open and Swiss Indoors Basel followed by the Paris Masters.
The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and season-ending extravaganza World Tour Finals at London's O2 in November end another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs and updates as the season reaches its climax.
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