WASHINGTON, February 14, 2018 (by Michael Dickens)
At a time when Roger Federer could be enjoying a winter vacation with his family in the Swiss Alps, instead, he’s enjoying being the center of attention in the tennis world. It’s a special occasion for arguably the great player of all time.
This week, the 36-year-old Federer is trying to become the oldest male tennis player since Andre Agassi (at 33 years and 133 days old) to reach the World No. 1 ranking – and if his first-round win at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Wednesday night is any indication, chances are very good he’s going to add another remarkable achievement to his already great career. Federer only needs to reach the semifinals in Rotterdam to reclaim the World No. 1 ranking for the first time since Nov. 4, 2012.
The No. 1-seeded Swiss maestro, who received a wild card into this ATP 500 World Tour event, was dominant against qualifier Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, in winning easily 6-1, 6-2, on Centre Court, to advance to the second round against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany on Thursday night. Federer owns a 13-0 career head-to-head win-loss record against the No. 36 German.
Federer, who has now won 12 consecutive matches, needed just 47 minutes to defeat the 116th-ranked Belgian lefty. He had six easy service holds, won 91 percent (21 of 23) of his first-serve points and did not face any break points. Meanwhile, Federer broke Bemelmans four times in five opportunities. In his last 10 matches against left-handers he’s a perfect 10-0.
Before the start of the tournament, Federer reflected on what it would mean to him to be No. 1 in the world, again.
“I think it would be unbelievable for my team, maybe more for them than for myself personally,” said Federer. “There’s so many different people who have put in so much work over the last decade, all of my coaches for that matter.
“I’ve been able to stay motivated and keep going for as long as I have, and to reward everybody along the way by being No. 1 would be very special. Regardless if I make it or not, it just would be nice to be World No. 1 again.
“I’m not there yet. It’s not going to be easy; I know that. Being World No. 1 is never easy. I’m going to try and see what happens.”
About the author
Michael Dickens is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance journalist who writes and blogs about tennis.