STUTTGART • Roger Federer said that becoming tennis' world No. 1 again had already given him a boost before his Stuttgart Open final victory over Milos Raonic yesterday, and hopefully he can keep up the momentum ahead of the Wimbledon Championships.
The Swiss celebrated returning to the top of the world rankings by defeating Canadian Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) and lifting the 98th Tour-level title of his illustrious career.
The 36-year-old, who by reaching the final had already guaranteed his return to world No. 1, will supplant long-time rival and good friend Rafael Nadal when the new rankings are released today.
He takes the honour back from the Spaniard for the second time this season and continues the duel on court between the two tennis icons.
"I played very well throughout the tournament, it is a great comeback for me. I am so happy to have won," said Federer, who beat Raonic for the 11th time in 14 meetings.
"I was hoping to play a couple matches here, but I have played four and won them all. The last few have been very good.
"I hope I keep it up at Halle and Wimbledon. It will give me a boost as well being back at world No. 1."
"We'll see how I play next week. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I hope I can continue to play good tennis."
His 78-minute win, sealing his first Stuttgart triumph, was the perfect tonic for the Swiss in the build-up to defending his Wimbledon crown as the Grand Slam starts on July 2, having extended his unbeaten 12-month sequence in grass-court matches to 16.
Federer, who beat Raonic en route to winning Wimbledon last year, broke the Canadian's powerful serve just once in the third game but, with his own delivery proving unbreachable, it was enough for him to win the first set.
In a decisive tiebreak after no breaks in the second set, a double fault from Raonic paved the way for Federer, playing his first tournament in 11 weeks after giving the clay-court campaign a miss, to claim victory.
Today, Federer will begin a record-extending 310th week at the top of the rankings before seeking to retain his Halle grass-court title.
If he manages to do so, he will then seek a landmark 100th career title at Wimbledon, where he has won a record eight times.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE