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Federer Eager To Break Connors' Record

Roger Federer is excited that he'll finally break the record for consecutive weeks as the top-ranked player in men's tennis on Monday.

"This is something that will stay with me for quite some time," the 25-year-old Swiss star said Sunday. "I think I will definitely keep it for the next three years, at least."

On Monday, the 10-time Grand Slam champion will be the No. 1-ranked player for the 161st straight week. That will eclipse the record set by Jimmy Connors from July 1974 to August 1977.

"It is a nice record to have," Federer said, a day before he plays Kristian Pless in the first round of the Dubai Open. "It is very hard to beat, not something that you can beat overnight. It is a long, hard work in progress."

Federer has been ranked No. 1 since Feb. 2, 2004. He has also won six of the last seven Grand Slam titles, but hasn't played since beating Fernando Gonzalez in the Australian Open final on Jan. 28.

The only Grand Slam Federer has not won is the French Open.

Federer, who is 3,415 points ahead of second-ranked Rafael Nadal, said his game has improved since his streak began.

"I knew I could play well on my days and could be really vulnerable on my off days," Federer said. "My fitness has also improved a lot. I have had a few fitness problems here and there. I always (used to) hope not to go to five sets, whereas I don't mind it nowadays."

Connors won eight Grand Slam titles in his career, which lasted more than 20 years. Although he also only failed to win the French Open, Connors did win the 1976 U.S. Open on clay.

"Jimmy is one of the all-time great players," Federer said. "He stayed so fit and played for such a long time, which allowed him to win so many titles.

Connors won 109 titles in his career. Federer has won 47 so far.

At last year's Dubai Open, Federer lost to Nadal in the final. The Spaniard will face Marcos Baghdatis in the first round this year.