Federer eyes 'crazy' return to the top

Rafael Nadal

Watching Federer lose 9-7 in the fifth set was disappointing because it made me feel like I had missed a once-in-a-lifetime display of excellence: I had missed the golden era of Roger Federer, in which he won eleven of sixteen grand slams and held the number one world ranking for a record 237 consecutive weeks.

Nadal is now recovering from a thigh injury he picked up at the Australian Open a year ago.

Federer, who stormed to his 20th major title at the Australian Open last month, says he understands the demands of the sport after playing a full schedule for over 15 years and believes that players can improve from intervals.

Out to stop Federer's progress will be second seed Grigor Dimitrov, victor of the London year-end showpiece in November and an Australian Open quarterfinalist. Just after ATP announced the new rankings, Federer requested a wildcard at late notice to take part in Rotterdam, starting on Wednesday.

The spotlight has again shone brightly on Roger Federer since 2017. "I would love to be in that position with anyone, but with Stan it would be like a Grand Slam final, a big-time match", said Federer.

He would also surpass Andre Agassi as the oldest ever world No 1 - the American was 33 when his sixth stint at the summit of men's tennis ended in September 2003. "I'm here with all my heart and will do anything for it". Federer and de Bakker know each other very well as the Swiss has four wins and zero losses against De Bakker.

If seedings hold up, Federer would have to defeat compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka in what would be a blockbuster quarter-final. "I would like to be in that position (to take the No 1 spot), no matter who I face".

Roger Federer
GETTYRoger Federer can reclaim the world No 1 spot this week

"But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities".

But while Federer's appearance in Rotterdam may have come as a shock to some, Gimelstob has revealed the Swiss star and his team worked out the best place to mount an attack on world No 1 soon after finishing in Melbourne. The achievement would be quite incredible.

The 20-time Grand Slam Champion understands that climbing back to the top of the ATP Rankings is no cakewalk especially at a baffling age of 36.

"In Australia, I played it not thinking about No.1, which I thought was probably won't happen or is too far out of sight", he said.

Nadal is defending 300 points as the finalist in Acapulco, while Federer would drop 45 points in not playing Dubai.

Federer, though, is not the only "veteran" player in the Rotterdam draw.



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