Federer, Djoko begin quest for number one
Federer currently leads Djokovic 11805 to 10970, but with a massive number of points to defend in the upcoming ATP tournaments in Basel, Paris and the World Tour finals in London (all of which he won last season for a total of 3000 points), the smart money is on the Serb to finish as world the number one player in the world for the second year running.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters represents Federer's best chance to pick up additional points, given that he has no points to defend here, having skipped the tournament in 2011.
"I hope I will finish World No. 1 at the end of the year," he said after arriving in Shanghai.
"For me it's about trying to play well here in Shanghai and go from there. If everything would have been totally focused on World No. 1, I would have gone to Tokyo or Beijing, most likely, and all those things.
"I've already reached my goal by getting back to World No. 1 in the summer. That was for me the goal, getting back there and winning a Grand Slam, particularly Wimbledon. I feel very much at peace and I'm happy.
"I always have to look 12 months ahead, as well, making sure I stay injury free, that I stay hungry for more. This is where if it works out, great, and if it doesn't, someone else plays better. I am here, so I'll give it the best shot I can and we'll see how it goes."
Federer holds the record for the most number of weeks spent at tennis' summit, 299, and that number is likely to tick over to 300 this week. The Swiss was given a bye in his opening round and will face the winner of Yen-Hsun Lu and Ze Zhang. It seems like fairly straight-forward run to the last four for the world number one.
Countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, his likely third round opponent, lags 1-13 in their head-to-head record. In the last eight, Federer could come up against Marin Cilic - who gave Andy Murray an almighty scare in the US Open quarter-final last month - before meeting the US Open champion himself in the semis. Murray, despite his somewhat surprising loss to Milos Raonic in Tokyo last week, will go into the match as favourite.
While Federer seems to be at ease irresepective of where he ends up at year-end, Djokovic has made no bones about his desire to regain the number one ranking. Having arrived in Shanghai after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the China Open title, the 25-year-old said: "[The] No. 1 of the world is a goal for me till the end of the year, [it is] definitely an objective, something I [will] try to achieve."
Just like Federer, Djokovic didn't play in the Shanghai last year, but unlike the 31-year-old, faces a tough path to the semi-final. He'll play the tricky Feliciano Lopez in the third round before a clash with world number nine and fellow countryman Janko Tipsarevic in the quarters. His last four opponent is likely to be either Tomas Berdych or Milos Raonic - both big-hitters capable of taking out the best players on their day. Of course, then it could either be Murray or Federer in the final.