KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Swiss star Roger Federer says winning Wimbledon is more important to him than regaining his No 1 ranking.
"Wimbledon is something special. There is no substitute for it,'' Federer told reporters Monday, on the eve of an exhibition match in Kuala Lumpur, billed as the "Showdown of Champions.''
Others playing Tuesday night are James Blake, ranked 10th, and two former Wimbledon champions, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. The quartet will play two singles matches and one doubles.
Federer is currently ranked No. 2 behind Spain's Rafael Nadal, after spending a record 237 consecutive weeks at the top. He lost to fourth-ranked Andy Murray in the Masters Cup in Shanghai on Friday, hampered by the sore back that had forced him out of the Paris Masters two weeks ago.
Federer began the year recovering from a bout of mononucleosis. He lost the French Open and Wimbledon finals to Nadal, who overtook him for the No. 1 ranking. But Federer won the Olympic doubles gold, then his fifth straight U.S. Open to pull within one of Pete Sampras' Grand Slam record.
"While I would also love to beat Pete Sampras' Grand Slam record of 14 titles, and also to regain my No. 1 ranking, I place winning another Wimbledon title above all else,'' said Federer.
McEnroe, who also attended the news conference, said he is excited to be playing in a match that will showcase "two generations of players in action.''
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
"I also believe that there are personalities in the men's game, much more than in the women's. We must capitalize on this as we can bring more fans to the game,'' said McEnroe.
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