TENNIS NEWS • RETURN OF THE KING • ROGER FEDERER IS THE OLDEST-EVER ATP WORLD NO. 1

Written by: on 16th February 2018
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TENNIS NEWS • RETURN OF THE KING • ROGER FEDERER IS THE OLDEST-EVER ATP WORLD NO. 1  |
Photo by @abnamrowtt via Twitter

 

 

By Richard Pagliario

 

Thrusting two arms skyward, Roger Federer celebrated a singular achievement with pure passion.

 

Launching his quest for a milestone in Rotterdam, Federer stuck the landing in style.

 

The 36-year-old Swiss soared past Robin Haase, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the Rotterdam semifinals and make history as the oldest-ever ATP world No. 1.

 

Swiss flags were flying and a pair of female Federer fans wearing Swiss jackets were sobbing when Federer completed his historic flight.

 

The victory vaults Federer 25 points ahead of rival Rafael Nadal in the rankings as he regains the world No. 1 ranking for the first time since November 4, 2012 and the journey moved Federer.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has played some of his most inspired tennis realizing an improbable dream.

 

“What an amazing run and a journey it’s been for me throughout, so to clinch World No. 1 again this following Monday in Rotterdam, it really means a lot to me, so thank you very much, everybody,” Federer told the crowd after ending Nadal’s 26-week stint as No. 1.

 

Spending 302 weeks as world No. 1 has not diminished Federer’s taste for the top nor his appetite for competition.

 

Photo by @ATPWorldTour via Twitter

In addition to his age-defying record, Federer set the record for longest time between stints at the top regaining No. 1 14 years after his initial rise to the top of tennis.

 

Producing a resume that resembles a Grand Slam record book, a revitalized Federer called regaining No. 1 “the ultimate achievement”

 

“I think reaching No. 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport,” Federer told the crowd afterward. “So sometimes at the beginning you just all of a sudden get there just because you’re playing so well. Later you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrestle it back from somebody else who deserved to be there and when you’re older you know you feel like you feel like you have to put maybe sometimes double the work in so maybe this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old, is an absolute dream come true, I can’t believe it.”

 

Shattering the record Andre Agassi held as the oldest top-ranked man in history when he reached No. 1 at age 33 years and 131 days in 2003 is extraordinary given the physicality of today’s tennis. Even more impressive is how much the Australian Open champion relishes the rush of match play before packed crowds.

 

Rotterdam tournament director Richard Krajicek praised Federer’s return to the top spot as “one of the most remarkable moments in tennis.”

 

“You’re an unbelievable guy and amazing ambassador for the sport we all love,” an emotional Krajicek said as he presented the Swiss wild card with a special No. 1 trophy to commemorate the occasion.

 

Fearlessly taking advancing age on the rise, Federer solidified his status as a champion for the ages.

 

Returning to the top of tennis for his 303rd week as world No. 1 is an astounding achievement for the father of four who is six months away from celebrating his 37th birthday.

 

The two-time Rotterdam champion will face wither Andreas Seppi or Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the final as Federer continues his quest for a 97th career title showing no signs of slowing down.

 

Tennis is a lifetime sport and Federer continues to amaze as a champion for the ages.

 

After Federer fought off Marin Cilic in five sets to capture his 20th Grand Slam crown at last month’s Australian Open, he summed up the experience saying “the fairytale continues.”

 

At this rate, Federer may well have years left before the climax of a storybook career.

 

Waving to fans who showered him with a standing ovation, Federer embraced the occasion then handed over the trophy to attend to more pressing responsibilities: signing autographs for the young fans who swarmed the front row thrusting tennis balls toward the new No. 1.

 

The father of two sets of twins faced every one of them with a smile—life is seldom lonely at the top when you’re Roger Federer taking the world along for a memorable ride.

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