NEWS

History shows Roger Federer’s return to world No. 1 in Rotterdam is no guarantee

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Roger Federer is closing in on another remarkable piece of history next week, when he will look to become the oldest ATP world No. 1. After accepting a late wildcard into Rotterdam, a run to the semi-finals will see the Swiss leapfrog Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings and replace Andre Agassi (33) as the oldest man to sit atop of the men’s leaderboard. For most, it will seem like a foregone conclusion that the top seed will reach the last-four, but his record in Rotterdam suggests he may not have it all his own way. MORE: TENNIS Roger Federer on brink of history as he sets sights firmly on Rafael Nadal Nastase has ‘sexual harassment’ & ‘racially insensitive comments’ ban reduced Rafael Nadal plots Queen’s return on 10-year anniversary of maiden success The 20-time Grand Slam champion has never been out earlier than the quarter-finals, but he has fallen at that stage on four occasions – including his last visit to Rotterdam in 2013. So in half of his visits he’s fallen short of what’s required this time around to become world No. 1. Okay, okay! So the majority of those defeats came many, many years ago, but that’s not to say that mental ghosts of years gone by won’t rear their heads once more. Federer record in Rotterdam 1999 – Quarter-finals (l. Kafelnikov) 2000 – Final (l. Escude) 2002 – Quarter-finals (l. Escude) 2003 – Semi-finals (l. Mirnyi) 2004 – Quarter-finals (l. Henman) 2005 – Winner (d. Ljubicic) 2012 – Winner (d. Del Potro) 2013 – Quarter-finals (l. Benneteau) Perhaps even more encouragingly for Nadal fans is the level of opponent he’s suffered defeats to. His most recent loss in 2013 came to Julien Benneteau, ranked at 39 in the world, while he only beat one player ranked inside the top-30 (Juan Martin del Potro) during his 2012 triumph. His win over Del Potro is the only top-10 victory he’s enjoyed in the Netherlands, although to reach the semi-finals, he wouldn’t need to repeat that feat. However, there are several dangerous players lurking in the last-eight stage, with a potential meeting with former champions Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych on the cards. Federer may have to work hard (Picture: Getty Images) Canada’s teenage sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime, 17, is also set to make just his second appearance in an ATP main draw after being handed a wildcard. A meeting with Federer would certainly provide an insight into just how good he can be. It would perhaps be fitting for the Swiss to beat one of the Next Gen en route to claiming top spot, with Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov among the up-and-coming youngsters in the draw, as it was just the fifth ATP Tour event he ever participated in. Auger-Aliassime is one of the exciting youngsters in the draw (Picture: Getty) His first match win at Rotterdam was over France’s Guillaume Raoux, who will turn 48 next week – another astonishing example of the longevity of the world No. 2. But as Federer’s record at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament shows, it’s by no means a foregone conclusion that he will surpass Nadal at the top of the rankings next week. Although Federer’s recent form suggests he will take some stopping…

Write A Comment