Rotterdam | Federer captures the No.1 spot
There can’t be many records left which Roger Federer can now target. With his quarter-final victory over Robin Haase in Rotterdam on Friday, he acquired the requisite number of points to overtake Rafa Nadal as world No.1 and in the process become the oldest player to have reached that status.
Reaching number one is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport, Roger Federer
That will be confirmed on Monday when the latest rankings will be revealed.
The 36-year-old Swiss marked his rise thanks to a 4-6 6-1 6-1 win over the Dutchman as he continues his dramatic resurgence since returning from a six-month injury break in 2016 to win three out of five grand slam titles having gone five years without one.
Federer has also now raised the bar to 36 as regards ages of world No.1s, surpassing the previous oldest player Andre Agassi who reached that position in 2003 when 33.
He also beats Serena Williams who was 35 when she made it to the top for last year.
Federer was last number one in October 2012, and first had the status in February 2004.
He became aware that he could overtake Nadal when he collected his Aussie Open trophy – the 20th of his career and another record – and with the Spaniard sidelined for the moment, injured, he decided to ask for a wild card into the Rotterdam event.
“Reaching number one is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport,” Federer said on court after being handed a huge No.1 shaped plaque by Dutch former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, the tournament director.
“Sometimes at the beginning you just kind of get there because you played so well, but later you have to fight for it and have to wrestle it back from someone who deserves to be there. When you are older you maybe have to put double the work in. This maybe means the most to me in my career.”
There has also been pressure on the women’s No.1 position but Caroline Wozniacki, who overtook the incumbent Simona Halep in the Australian Open final, is assured of hanging on to it for a bit longer following her 7-6(4) 1-6 6-3 defeat of Angelique Kerber in Doha.
The withdrawal with a foot injury of Halep before her semi-final against Garbine Muguruza, has no doubt also taken off some of that pressure.
“I am surprised that I could play three matches and win them,” Halep, the 2014 champion, said. “I felt pain every day, so it was not easy to manage it.
“I didn’t have much time to recover before this tournament, but today was too much, and I decided to stop.
“The MRI shows I have fluid and also tendinitis at the fourth toe, so I have to take care of it and think about my health first.”
Meanwhile Wozniacki will face Petra Kvitova for a place in the final where Muguruza now awaits.