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Federer eyes return to world No. 1

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer won a 20th Masters title in Madrid © Getty Images
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Roger Federer admits he has one eye on eclipsing Pete Sampras' all-time record for most spent time as world No. 1 after leapfrogging Rafael Nadal in the world rankings.

Federer's victory at the Madrid Open saw him move back to No. 2 in the world rankings as he came from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych 3-6 7-5 7-5 on the controversial blue clay.

The last time Federer won in Madrid he went on to win the French Open - victory at Roland Garros would see him return to No. 1 - equalling Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the top of the world rankings.

"Back then I was just trying to stay world No. 1 and I never really looked at Pete's record that much," Federer said. "I guess I could have chased it a few years ago, just really trying to beat that record. It's no secret for any player out there that you'd rather be No. 1 than No. 2.

"But I look at the long term, maybe if I wasn't good enough to break that record, then maybe I never will be."

Novak Djokovic is aiming to hold all four major titles by winning the French Open, but while the Serb tips six-time champion Rafael Nadal as the man to beat at Roland Garros, Federer is a man in form - having claimed a fourth title of 2012 on the blue clay in Madrid.

"I don't need to beat every record Pete set, he's my idol after all and I'm just happy I'm that close already," he said. "But it's exciting times ahead for me. Winning so many tournaments and playing so well, obviously I do believe I can win the grand slams.

"But I know the difficulty of the French Open and the focus will be a lot on Novak because he's going for four in a row and on Rafa because he's the defending champion. It's going to be an exciting tournament."

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