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Federer's number one ranking up for grabs: Murray

sports Updated: Aug 19, 2009 01:16 IST

Roger Federer's lead at the top of the world rankings is far from insurmountable, number two Andy Murray said on Tuesday.

The Briton, who this week took over second spot from Rafa Nadal, begins the defence of his Cincinnati Masters title on Wednesday, fresh from his triumph at the Montreal Masters last weekend.

Murray (9,250 points) is the first British male to be ranked number two and a good performance this week could help him close the gap on Federer (11,040).

"It (the gap) is not that far," the Scot told reporters. "It's a matter of a couple of matches.

"If I'd had a slightly better run at the Australian Open or instead of losing a tight game to (Andy) Roddick in the semis at Wimbledon, who knows?

"I know it's a long way from losing in the semi-finals to winning but that would have made a huge difference," added Murray. "I would be very close to Roger in the rankings if I had won those two matches from the semis onwards.

"That's really the only difference, getting a slam, between being number one and number two because the consistency in the other tournaments has been pretty similar."

Only three men, Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter and Roddick, have won in Canada and Cincinnati back-to-back.

Winning 10 matches in two weeks is a tough task but Murray said he was not worried about the risk of overdoing things ahead of the US Open which starts on August 31.

"In the US Open you can play your first round on the Wednesday so you could in theory have nine days in between matches," Murray said.

"Because I took a five-week break after Wimbledon I would hope I would still be reasonably fresh.

"I think it's more mentally than physically that's important, because physically I think I'll be strong enough to compete in the slam," added the Scot.

"You need to go in there mentally fresh. It's a long, stressful couple of weeks if you want to do well. But I am not that fussed about having to play five matches (here). It can get hot here but I guess it's the same for everyone."