On Wednesday, Swiss ace Roger Federer announced that he will play in next week’s ATP event in Rotterdam. What makes this a special occasion is that, a semi-final spot would make him the oldest world no1.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is 155 points behind current World Number 1, Rafael Nadal in the rankings. As there are 180 points ripe for the taking for reaching the last four in the Netherlands, Federer has a golden opportunity to reclaim the number 1 spot. It will also be the 36-year-old’s first tournament since winning his sixth Australian Open title.
Federer said, “The tournament is special for me. I remember playing for the first time in 1999 as it was one of the first events where I got the chance to play at the highest level. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition”. The previous holder of this achievement was American legend Andre Agassi. He achieved the feat at the age of 33 years and 131 days in 2003.
If Federer can make it into the semifinals in Rotterdam, he could beat Agassi’s mark by more than three years. However, he will not have it easy, he is competing with several strong players. They include, compatriot Stan Wawrinka, world number four Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the draw.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is not in a position to reclaim the crown just yet as he is recovering from a leg injury. However, he has said that he plans to return to the tennis circuit in time for the Mexican Open. The 31-year old Spaniard has a different target in his sights. That target is his 11th Roland Garros title. If and when Federer takes back the number 1 throne, can Nadal retake it once again?