Roger Federer has been at the pinnacle of the ATP rankings for a total of 285 weeks. The Swiss Master has finished the tennis season in the top two every year since 2003. That’s a total of eight years—quite an eternity in tennis time.
This year, however, Federer has found himself in an unfamiliar position of being ranked No. 3 behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic—a somewhat colossal fall for "The Mighty Fed," or is it?
Although every tennis player aspires to be ranked No. 1, it is not a stable goal that players can pursue. Being No. 1 is the repayment for being consistent and winning four or five important trophies throughout the year. It is more of a reward than a goal—like extra cheese on a delicious hamburger—and Federer has had enough cheese to last a lifetime.
Furthermore, there is not that much difference in being the No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the world since each of those players gets their own quarter in a draw. Obviously, Nos. 1 and 2 cannot meet until the final, but because the current top four players (Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray) are so consistent, most times for anyone to win a trophy they have to play two top four players in order to do so.
The draw, especially for Federer, has not changed that much apart from the fact that he may meet his nemesis Nadal in the semifinals as well as the finals.
The fact of the matter is that Federer’s outstanding tennis level is still present, his consistency is still sublime and he is still competing to win nearly every tournament he enters.
He has already accomplished the feat of being the No. 1 player in the world and the Swiss will go down as one of the all-time greats.
So yes, we can get used to him as the No. 3 player in the world. There is nothing new to get used to. At this moment in time Roger Federer is still Roger Federer, and there is nothing anyone can do to change it, not even a computer generated ranking system.