PARIS  - Former champion Pete Sampras saluted Roger Federer for Monday surpassing his mark of 286 weeks at the top of the men’s rankings.

Swiss Federer, already the holder of a record 17 Grand Slam titles, reached the landmark of an unprecedented 287th week as world number one having already pulled level with Sampras on reclaiming top spot after a two-year absence following his seventh Wimbledon title a week ago.

“Great effort. The hardest thing to do in sports is the ability to stay on top. Roger has been able to do so by great play and durability,” Sampras said on www.atpworldtour.com. Federer, 31, is guaranteed to keep the number one spot through the London Olympics, extending the mark still further.

The ATP also lauded Federer. “Congratulations Roger on your new all-time record for most weeks as no.1,” the organisation said in a special tribute on its website homepage. “287 and counting...”

Federer holds a 75-point lead over world number two Novak Djokovic. He now has a tour-best five titles in 2012, including his 20th Masters crown in Madrid in the run-up to the French Open.