London 2012: How Long Will Roger Federer Last as World No. 1?

Martin Baldridge@MARTIN BALDRIDGECorrespondent IIJuly 19, 2012

A smiling Roger Federer fresh from returning to world No. 1
A smiling Roger Federer fresh from returning to world No. 1Julian Finney/Getty Images

The day after his Wimbledon victory saw Roger Federer return to the world No. 1 position for the first time since June 2010.

However, going into the London Olympics, he leads world No. 2 Novak Djokovic by a slender margin of just 75 ATP ranking points.

So, will this lead be extended, or Federer be overtaken by his younger rivals in the coming months?

Olympic Challenge

The winner of the London 2012 tennis event picks up 750 ATP points; the finalist 450.

With Nadal and Murray both more than 2000 points behind, the only player capable of overtaking Federer as world No. 1 is Djokovic.

Federer is the favourite for the Olympics, and on grass and over just three sets it's likely that the Swiss will add an individual gold medal to his impressive trophy collection.

American Hard-Court Season

Roger usually takes three weeks off after Wimbledon to prepare for the US Open, and gruelling hard-court campaign.

This being an Olympic year means he will get no such rest.

The Masters 1000 events at Toronto and Cincinnati are mandatory.

Federer, though, lost at the last 16 and quarterfinals stages respectively of these tournaments in 2011, and doesn't have many points to defend in the rolling 12-month ranking system.

It's more than likely that if he competes, Federer will add to rather than lose ranking points at these events. 

US Open

Roger probably considers the 2011 US Open as the one that got away.

Serving at 40-15, 5-3, in the fifth set of the semifinal against Djokovic, the Sebinator produced a forehand return of serve, which goes down as one of the most audacious in recent tennis history.

Some 20 minutes later Federer was leaving the court defeated, allowing Novak to advance to the final where he beat Nadal.

Djokovic and Murray are fantastic hard-court players and it remains to be seen how Nadal's knees will hold up on the punishing American hard courts.

It's possible, but not probable in my opinion, that Federer will retain his No. 1 ranking through the summer.

Fall Indoor Season

Struggling with "niggling" injuries, Roger was unable to compete at the 2011 Shanghai Masters 1000, but said at the time that he would be back the next year.

With no points to defend, a fit Federer will be looking to add to his tally.

Murray won three consecutive Asian titles at Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai in 2011—that's a lot of points to defend.

Djokovic and Nadal aren't at their best indoors.

2011 saw Federer finish the year winning consecutive titles at Basel, Paris and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

That's a lot of points to defend too.

But the Swiss is the world's best indoors, knows how to prepare physically for the long ATP season, and will no doubt want to end the year in style.

I wouldn't bet against Federer ending the year ranked world No. 1—would you?