All Eyes on Federer in Rotterdam with Top Spot his for the Taking
Roger Federer has had lots of big weeks in his storied career, but this week in Rotterdam is pretty big for the Swiss maestro.
With grand slam title number 20 tucked away at the Australian Open, Federer now turns his sights on the world number one ranking.
With current top dog Rafael Nadal sidelined with a thigh problem, Federer has accepted a wildcard to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament knowing that a run to the semi-finals would ensure he returns to the top of the tree for the first time since 2013.
It would also secure him another place in the record books, as he would usurp Andre Agassi as the oldest player to top the world rankings. Given Agassi was 33 when he scaled the mountain, it shows what an achievement it would be if Federer gets the job done at 36.
Taking his place in Rotterdam shows how important it is to Federer, as his last appearance in the event was back in 2013. A tailored schedule played a big part in his brilliant 2017 and this is likely to be a one-off, so don’t expect to see the great man pitching up in events all over the world in search of ranking points. Those days are over, it’s big events and marquee moments that are Federer’s targets now.
What Federer has to guard against is complacency. Ever since it was confirmed he would be taking his place in the draw, it’s been taken as a given that he would make it to the semi-finals and be crowned world number one.
There are a couple of potential stumbling blocks, with Karen Khachanov and Stan Wawrinka in his side of the draw. Three-time major champion Wawrinka needs no introduction, but Khachanov is a rising star of the game with plenty of weapons to draw on.
Before any potential meeting with Khachanov or Wawrinka, Federer opens up against Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans in the first round. The world number 116 should be the ideal tune-up for Federer, helping him get a feel for the pace of the court before bigger tests.
February is one of the few months without top-level action, there are no grand slams or 1000-level events, but thanks to Federer and his hunt for the number one ranking, we have a storyline that will keep tennis fans on the edge of their seats.
And the advice is don’t bet against the GOAT delivering.