Rotterdam | Federer clocks up his 97th title
Having become a few days ago the oldest player in both genders to become world number one, Roger Federer has gone on to collect the 97th title of his exceptional and long career and set his sights on reaching 100!
Only Jimmy Connors has won more and his record of 109 singles (1972-1996) could well come under pressure over the next 12 months. Martina Navratilova’s record of 167 singles (1975-2006) looks to be secure!
It's been unbelievable. I can't believe it, I got my 97th title, back to world number one after all these years. It's definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life so it's very, very special Roger Federer
Federer beat ‘Baby Fed’ Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2 in what proved a rather one-sided contest for his third title in Rotterdam. Dimitrov it seems, was carrying a knee injury which at the time was only briefly referred to by the champion in his on-court interview.
“It’s been unbelievable. I can’t believe it,” the 36-year-old Swiss great said on receiving his trophy. “I got my 97th title, back to world number one after all these years. It’s definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life so it’s very, very special.”
The final was expected to be a bit tighter than it was, but Federer was never troubled by the Hungarian who won the ATP Masters at the O2 last November.
“No, of course not [I did not expect it to be this easy],” Federer added. “I was expecting it to be tough and of course, be in trouble to be quite honest because Grigor’s a great player, a great athlete, he’s been playing super well in recent months, so I thought this was not going to be the result.
“I think he struggled a little bit at some point in that first set but honestly, I never looked back, I played great and felt the best by far this week.
“I just think I was able to execute the tennis I wanted to and Grigor couldn’t hold against it because he was maybe feeling a little dizzy and stuff, but I was able to take advantage of that and get the title so I’m very, very happy.”
Dimitrov himself didn’t offer up any excuses, saying: “Against Roger in the current situation he is in, you can’t play any less than 100 per cent.”
Federer now holds a 345 pints advantage over his rival Rafa Nadal in second place in the rankings and has yet to decide whether to play in Qatar starting next week. In the meantime, his Spanish rival will be resuming his own quest to recover the top spot at the same time in Acapulco.
Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, Dominic Thiem beat Aljaz Bedene, the former nationalised Briton who has reverted to playing under the Slovenian flag, the land of his birth, 6-2 6-4 for his second Argentina Open title. It was his 13th ATP final and the 9th title of his career. For Bedene it was his third appearance in an ATP Final.
In New York Kevin Anderson out-hit Sam Querrey to collect the New York Open for his first title since 2015. His victory will also lift him back into the top flight of the rankings at 9.
The 31-year-old Anderson – who lost in the final of the US Open in New York last September – expressed delight at bucking a trend which has seen him lose in 11 finals prior to Sunday.
“I’ve been to quite a few finals and if it doesn’t go your way it’s pretty tough to deal with,” Anderson said. “It means a lot to me that I was able to come through it today.”
New York also saw the successful return of Kei Nishikori from wrist surgery as he made it to the semi-finals where he gave Anderson a tough ride before submitting 6-1 3-6 7-6(4).
It was the former world No4s first ATP tournament since the Montreal Masters and he did show some signs of fatigue during the match. Currently ranked 27, he did play a couple of Challenger events earlier this month, losing in the first round in Newport Beach but winning in Dallas.