Federer Still Hungry for Records as he Sets Sights on Number One Spot
Roger Federer is a record breaker and tennis, possibly even sport, may not see the like of him again – but he’s still hungry for more.
He has 20 grand slam singles titles to his name, more than any other male in the history of the game, and claimed the most recent at the Australian Open last month – at the age of 36.
Federer’s climb back to the summit has been both spectacular and heart-warming, given he looked on his way out of the game in 2016 when his world ranking slipped to 17 and his barren run in the majors extended back to 2012.
But he shook off injuries, which have been rare for a player who has been on the go professionally since 1998, and claimed the Australian Open in 2017 – one of two majors that year.
A tailored schedule, aligned with arguably the greatest all-round game in the history of tennis, has enabled Federer to extend his career. He elected to swerve the whole of last year’s clay court season, reasoning that there was little merit in punishing his body on a surface that does not suit.
Fit and well, Federer followed his break in the spring by making it major number 19 at Wimbledon.
The win at Wimbledon placed Rafael Nadal’s world number one ranking in his sights and the pair had an epic race to the end of the year, which was won by the Spaniard.
Victory in Melbourne has narrowed the gap between the two to a meagre 155 points. The carrot is dangling before Federer and he wants to take it, as he’s accepted a wildcard to play in Rotterdam next week.
The tailored schedule saw Federer dive for cover following last year’s Australian Open. After a shock loss at to Evgeny Donskoy at the Dubai 500, he was not seen again until the Masters events in Indian Wells in Miami – winning both. A similar schedule would lessen his chances of wrestling back the number one spot, as he would be defending 2000 points on the American hard courts.
Instead, he heads to Rotterdam knowing that with Nadal sidelined as he nurses a thigh problem, a run to the semi-finals would ensure he takes the position –becoming the oldest man in history to do so; displacing Andre Agassi from that area of the record books.
Federer may be 36; he may be winding down but he is as hungry as ever for titles and records – and a player of his standing deserves everything and more.