Roger Federer has dominated the circuit since his comeback in 2017 and becoming the World No
“If I’m here (Rotterdam), it’s because I really want to be here. I really want to give it a chance and see what happens," Roger Federer said prior to his first appearance at the Rotterdam Open in five years.
Federer missed the second half of 2016 with the knee injury and he returned to action only in January last year. Over the last 12 months or so, he has clinched eight singles titles, which are inclusive of three Grand Slam trophies - two Australian Opens and a record eighth victory at the Wimbledon Championships. Federer's fairy-tale run can take a beautiful turn, provided he managed to make it to the semi-final of the ongoing Rotterdam Open 2018 in the Netherlands. According to the latest ATP rankings, the points gap between World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and next best Federer has cut down to 155 and a semi-final place in the tournament will reclaim Federer as the No. 1 player in the singles category.
Federer, who has held the No. 1 position for 302 weeks in his career so far, last ranked on the top back in 2012. That year, Federer bagged six titles, including the Wimbledon title too. He then went on a Grand Slam drought in the next four years before he finally won his long-awaited 18th Grand Slam in Australian Open 2017 followed by the No. 19 and 20 Grand Slams at Wimbledon and Australian Open.
Although Federer has claimed that he has always liked playing in Rotterdam and it has been one of his favorite tournaments as he has won there twice, his intentions behind playing the tournament are crystal clear. Also because the man himself has revealed that last month in Melbourne he didn't want to focus on the rankings as he knew Rotterdam followed next and he always could play in that to aim for the pole position. This is probably for the very first time when Federer has openly expressed about having the thought of rankings on his mind.
The Swiss champion has not played at the Rotterdam Open in the last four years. Just after ATP announced the new rankings, Federer requested a wildcard at late notice to take part in Rotterdam, starting on Wednesday. Federer's family, friends and fans have supported him through thick and thin and he has always valued them. When Federer would play a tournament where he could have ended as the new No. 1, he wanted his family and the entire team to be on board with them during that week and hence Rotterdam was perfect because it was not very far away from
"My comeback since 2016 has been so incredible that we're already happy as is but I thought I'd give it a go and see if I can get No 1 this week," the 20-time men's singles Grand Slam winner said.
Federer has also manifested that he wants to break the record of former legendary tennis star Andre Aggasi as the oldest World No. 1 player. "I'm here with all my heart and will do anything for it. That's why I'm here,” Federer, who could become the oldest tennis World No. 1 at the age of 36, said.
In the coming week, he could meet his countryman, Stan Wawrinka, in the quarter-final of Rotterdam Open. The latter, if fully fit, certainly has the potential to ruin Federer's dream of regaining the No. 1 rank. However, the Swiss legend is not worried about his opponent. "I would like to be in that position (to take the No 1 spot), no matter who I face. When I return to the top, I do not want it to be easy. It would be an incredible achievement. That's why I'm so excited that I have Stan in my half of the draw," Federer said.
Federer No. 1 - Permutations & combinations:
Meanwhile, Nadal, who retired from the Australian Open with a leg injury, is not scheduled to return to play until Acapulco, ATP 500 event in three weeks. If Federer failed to win Rotterdam despite making it to the semi-final and Nadal goes on to triumph in Acapulco, the Spaniard will return to the top of the rankings. In order to deny Nadal the No. 1 rank, the same week when Nadal plays in Acapulco, Federer will have to play the 500 Dubai tournament.
Nadal is defending 300 points as the finalist in Acapulco, while Federer would drop 45 points in not playing Dubai. Federer, however, is still not scheduled to play in Dubai.