Roger Federer, at 36, is the #1 tennis player in the world

by Nurein Ahmed @nuren94

Roger Federer is the gift that keeps on giving.

For a man of his age, we should all cherish what the legendary Swiss has left in store for the remaining part of his career.

It is almost inconceivable that in almost every match or tournament he plays, he is chasing or rewriting history.

 

Watching Federer Play Is Watching History Being Made

On the 16th of February 2018, he chalked another record – coming from a set down in his quarter final match to beat Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open and thereby reclaiming the World #1 ranking.

His participation at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament raised a few eyebrows, not least the 15,000 people packed inside Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam to witness Roger Federer become the oldest ATP World #1 in tennis history at the age of 36, beating the previous record held by American Andre Agassi who did so at 33.

For Federer, he is also set to extend his unmatched record of 302 weeks at number one. Federer replaces old rival Rafael Nadal at the summit of the men’s game.

 

Federer is in a class of his own

Federer’s achievements in Rotterdam will surely rank as one of sports great success stories. Partly due to his brilliant winning form during the last year and more so due to his incredible comeback from a knee operation during the second half of 2016. In his semifinal defeat to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon that year, Federer was a lonesome man and at one point he fell on the pristine grass on Center Court. It was evident the Swiss was hurting. And perhaps, that was probably the lowest point of his tennis career, and avid tennis fans alike, felt Federer’s moment for another shot at a Grand Slam title may well be beyond him – even by his standards.

Federer, who spent six months out of the game and convalescing on a career-threatening knee injury during the second half of 2016, slipped to as low as 17th during the Australian Open in 2017. But astonishingly, he recorded one of his best seasons on tour last year by winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the latter of which was a record-breaking eighth title at the All-England Club. Along with title wins in Indian Wells, Miami, Halle, and Shanghai, Federer finished 2017 second to old rival Rafael Nadal, who topped the rankings.

 

An Opportunity To Return to the Top

But having successfully defended his crown in Melbourne this year, which was also another milestone (20th Grand slam, and record-tying 6th Australian Open), Federer trailed Nadal by a mere 155 points following the conclusion of the Australian Open.

In an evening of sustained emotions at the Rotterdam Open, Federer overcame Dutch hopeful and close friend Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1–and at 36, etched his name in tennis history by reclaiming the world number one ranking.

The Swiss Maestro put a seal on a perfect week in the Netherlands, by making light work of Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the final, winning in straight sets to claim his 97th career title. That in itself is also a significant milestone bearing in mind the competitive nature of the current generation of tennis superstars. Only Jimmy Connors can take the mantle of standing ahead of the Swiss with a remarkable 109 career titles.

For Roger Federer though, it feels like time doesn’t affect him, and he has added yet another chapter to his glorious tennis career.

 

  • Nurein writes for The Slice from Kenya. @nuren94 on Twitter.

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