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Page last updated at 22:51 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 23:51 UK

Pressure on Nadal now - Federer

Roger Federer (left) congratulates Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard's 2008 Wimbledon win
Federer (left) has had to play second fiddle to Nadal in 2008

Former world number one Roger Federer says the pressure is firmly on Rafael Nadal as they head into the US Open.

Wimbledon champion Nadal, who won the Olympic title last week, ended Federer's record 237-week run at the top of the world rankings last Monday.

"Rafa will now feel what I had to feel for a very long time," said defending US Open champion Federer.

"It will be interesting to see how he handles it, but so far he's been great and played so well on all surfaces."

Federer might have won the men's doubles at the Olympics, but he has had a difficult year, including a bout of glandular fever, as he seeks a fifth straight title at Flushing Meadows.

In addition to losing his place at the top of the world rankings Federer also lost his Wimbledon crown to Nadal.

Rafa has played great so he deserves the number one position

Defending champion Roger Federer

However, Federer feels the loss of his status as the man to beat could play to his advantage in New York over the next fortnight.

"I would think it does (reduce the pressure). Five years almost, I was expected to win every tournament I entered, so maybe now it changes a little bit," he said.

"Maybe it's nice to go into a Grand Slam for a change not having number one next to me.

"Rafa has played great so he deserves the number one position. He's in a way the favourite now all of a sudden, even on hard courts, because he's played so, so well."

While Federer is insisting no longer being number one is a weight off his shoulders, Nadal is determined to scotch any suggestion it may prove to be a burden.

"When you want to win, the goal is the same and the pressure is the same," said Nadal.

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"I am not thinking that I am number one or number two. I have been happy being number two for the last three years.

"I know how tough it is to be number one and I know I can just as easily slip back to number two or number three.

"I have to try to enjoy this moment and accept it because I am not always going to play like I did the last six months. Right now I am having the best moment of my career."

Meanwhile, third seed Novak Djokovic, who reached the semi-finals at the Olympic Games before losing a tough three-set battle to Nadal, has admitted he is feeling the effects of flying thousands of miles.

"The last couple of weeks for me were really exhausting," he said.

"I had to travel all over the world, because I went from Cincinnati, I went back home and then went to Beijing and then came here. Everything in 10 days. You can imagine how I feel.

"I feel excited (about the tournament) but physically I still need to work on some things hopefully so that (by) Tuesday, Wednesday, I can be fit."


see also
Men's singles draw
24 Jun 07 |  Tennis


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