• Wimbledon, Day 12

Djokovic: Federer deserves to return to world No. 1

ESPN staff
July 6, 2012
Novak Djokovic will surrender his No. 1 ranking if Roger Federer wins Wimbledon © PA Photos

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Murray fends off Tsonga

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Novak Djokovic said he would step aside graciously if Roger Federer wins a 17th grand slam title at Wimbledon on Sunday - which would see the Swiss return to the top of the world rankings:

"Look, if he wins and becomes No. 1 it's going to be well deserved. He's played fantastic this year. He's been so consistent. If he wins, he wins. There's nothing I can do about it. The best player will win this tournament. I'm out.

"He was always there. Last couple years he didn't win a major, but he was in a couple of finals and always semifinals. He's always playing close matches against whoever. This is tennis. Of course he was so dominant, and then you had Nadal who made a great rivalry with him.

"Then myself, [Andy] Murray, a couple other players who were young and who started believing they can win against him. That's what I think makes this era right now in men's tennis very interesting."

Federer revealed seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, whose record he can equal on Sunday, gave him the belief he could win another grand slam:

"Everybody knows what a hero he is to me and how much I admire what he's been able to achieve. He won seven, which is just incredible, particularly in the times he played against all the big servers, when things were a bit more unpredictable. So I'm very proud to have a shot of equaling Pete.

"I particularly remember obviously the end of his career, because before that I was following [Boris] Becker and [Stefan] Edberg more. But I admired how he stuck around, how he tried to win maybe one more, maybe two more. It was a big surprise and a shock that I was able to break his five Wimbledons in a row. For me it was an inspiration to see somebody, while I was coming up, dominating the game and breaking the all time grand slam record."

Andy Murray admitted feeling the weight of expectation as he became the first British man to reach a Wimbledon final in 74 years with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"At the end of the match it was very emotional. It obviously meant something to me. There's a lot of pressure and stress around this time of year. I don't feel it when I'm playing or on the practice courts - but at the back of my mind it's obviously there."

Tsonga, who beat Federer in five sets during last year's quarter-finals, admitted it would be tough for Murray to defeat the six-time champion.

"It's going to be tough for Andy because he need to recover from the last match and this match against me. He looked pretty tired at the end, so I don't know how he will be physically. But I hope for him he will recover and have a chance against Roger."

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