I posted the following in the Federer forum but since it's being discussed here I hope people won't mind if I put it here also:
I think that the chance for breaking the record (by becoming number 1 again) might be gone for good. Nadal has an awful lot of points to pick up at Wimbledon and the World Tour Finals. Plus I wouldn't bet against him putting on a dominant performance on clay next year either. Also outsiide clay the points in Masters touraments are likely to be shared amongst top players...including Nadal.
In retrospect Federer only missed this record by a whisker. Things could have been so different if:
- He had taken the match after being 2 points away from victory against Del Potro at the US Open
- He had taken the match after being 2 points away from victory against Davydenko at WTF
- He hadn't contracted a lung infection prior to the Dubai tournament
- He had converted match points against Baghdatis and Berdych at Indian Wells and Miami respectively
- He converted break point opportunities against Nadal in Madrid
- Federer entered Monte Carlo
- Nadal had withdrawn from Madrid, as some rumours appeared to suggest
- A fit Del Potro / Davydenko could have won a match against Nadal on clay
- Becker didn't gift Sampras the year end number 1 in 1998
- Federer didn't make early exits in Cincy against Simon, Canada against Karlovic and the Olympics against Blake in 2008
- Federer finshed ahead of Roddick at tne end of 2003
But of course all these are irrelevant now. What matters is he picks himself up from this and pursue his main goal: winning more Grand Slam tournaments. Getting the number 1 back is a secondary matter as far as the rest of his career is concerned, in my opinion.