Recently, Becker and McEnroe have suggested that Nadal is now the unofficial world no. 1 - as he is by a hefty margin in the 2008 ATP Race and of course winning two Grand Slams back-to-back at the French Open and Wimbledon.
However Federer will not hear of that as the world rankings are a moving 12-month window that includes his 2007 US Open triumph.
Roger Federer has denied that Rafael Nadal is the top man, contradicting the view of two former greats.
"There is never an unofficial world No1. Of course he has still won two unbelievably difficult tournaments and whoever wins those is supposed to be No1. But I have had a very good end to the past two years. It's hard to snatch the No1 position, he knows that."On the other hand, I think Nadal is smart as he was playing a psychological game too by saying, "Right now I don't want to be No1. I only want to play a good tournament here (at Rogers Cups)."
Still battling to adapt to the loss of his Wimbledon title after five years, Federer is now trying to gain back his confidence and respect at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada.
However, his hope falls short after losing in the second round to French hottie Gilles Simon 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.
"It's a bad start, no doubt. I wish it could have been different. Now I'm going to get some practise in."Federer obviously not happy with his game but yet gave credit to the Simon, the world no. 22.
"As the match went on I struggled a little bit to put the forehands away. He's a good baseliner. We saw that today. He moves well. He's deceiving because he's kind of thin and tall but moves really well for his height, you know."Nadal, meanwhile, won in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday over Canadian Jesse Levine to move into the 3rd round.
"He flicks a lot of balls with his backhand as well, so when you come in you can't see where he plays."
Should second-ranked Nadal win the Rogers Cup, he would have a chance at next week's Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati to end Federer's 234-week reign as the top- ranked player.
Federer had begun 2008 with a 1,445 point lead over Nadal in the rankings. That advantage had almost halved going into the Toronto event, where 500 points are awarded to the winner.
(Image by AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)