Roger Federer labelled talk of him chasing the number one ranking "ridiculous" ahead of his first round match at the BNP Paribas Masters.
The Swiss ace started the year at number 17 but moved in to the top 10 following his win at the Australian Open in January. Federer is ranked number 10 at the moment but admits that challenging Sir Andy Murray for the top spot on the ATP rankings is a big ask owing to the commitment needed.
The 35-year-old will have to play as many events as the Scot and win most of the major tournaments to have a chance of catching up — 8735 points separate the two at the moment. Federer has made it clear that he is unlikely to play as many tournaments like in the past in order to avoid over-exertion and injuries.
"Just because I won Australia doesn't change anything. Would you like to be it? Everybody in the draw would love to be world no. 1. But right now, Sir Andy Murray is that and he's deserved it, very much so. And if I want to get back there, because I never can play the amount of tournaments that Andy can play or others will play right now, I have to win a lot of big tournaments. That's a big ask right now," Federer said, as quoted by tennisworldusa.org.
"I'm still in the back end of just enjoying the Australian Open and doing all that stuff. But sure, if it presents itself, maybe then I can start chasing it. Honestly right now, I'm so far away from that, it would be a bit ridiculous to talk about it," the former world number one added.
Federer, meanwhile, remains unfazed despite being pitted in what Murray labelled as the "toughest draw ever" at the ongoing BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells. The Swiss maestro was pooled in the same quarter as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios and Juan Martin del Potro. He faces the possibility of facing the Spaniard in the fourth round and the Serb in a potential quarter-final clash.
The 18-time Grand Slam winner revealed that he was not worried as he has to face the best players, if he has to win the tournament and it does not matter what round he comes up against his biggest rivals. The only concern was that most of the top players will be eliminated in the early rounds opening up the draw for lower ranked players to pick up good results and rise in the ranking.
"The first message I got was Dudi Sela or Stephane Robert. I was like, OK fine. Then I heard Rafa was in my section, and you're like, OK. And then heard maybe Novak's in your section and you're like OK, fine," Federer said of the draw at the first Masters Series event of the season.
"It doesn't matter — I've gone through so many draws. I came here to Indian Wells to play against those guys so it doesn't matter if it's the semis, the finals, or actually a fourth round. The only problem is that most (top) guys have to lose super early, and that opens the draw for other players and it's an opportunity for other guys to maybe rise in the rankings. But I think it's good for me to play those guys early. I look forward to it."