“I will definitely check out the new ranking on Monday morning to see whether I am really the new No 1. To make sure no mistake has been made! It will be a special moment for me,” said Roger Federer on Sunday after lifting the Rotterdam title by beating Grigor Dimitrov. And he will be glad to see that he has indeed returned to the top of the rankings – more than 14 years after he first reached the pinnacle of the sport.
As Federer begins his 303rd week at the top of ATP rankings, he has displaced his great rival Rafa Nadal. It is the fourth time that Federer has taken the World No 1 spot and the first time since November 4, 2012.
Federer assured himself of the World No 1 spot by reaching the semifinals when he beat Robin Haase in the quarters. “I think reaching No. 1 is the ultimate achievement in our sport,” said Federer. “This one maybe means the most to me [of any achievement] throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old. [It] is an absolute dream come true, I can’t believe it.”
By returning to World No 1, Federer has become the oldest player to achieve this milestone at 36 years and 195 days, eclipsing the record previously held by Andre Agassi. At the same time, he became the player with longest period between two No 1 stints and the longest time period between first time of taking No 1 and the latest.
To think just 13 months ago, when Federer returned from a knee injury, he faced an uncertain future with many writing him off. Fast forward to February 19, Federer has a 64-5 win-loss record and has won nine titles from 10 finals played.
Federer is guaranteed to hold on to the World No 1 spot through to March 18 where the battle for the top spot between the Swiss legend and Nadal will resume at Indian Wells – the first Masters 1000 event of the year.
In other changes in ATP Rankings, Dimitrov has moved to World No 4 with a charge to the Rotterdam final as Alexander Zverev moved a place down to World No 5. Kevin Anderson returned to top-10 (World No 9) by winning the New York Open. He overtook Juan Martin del Potro and Pablo Carreno Busta who slid one place each.
India’s Yuki Bhambri could have breached the top-100 chart but he finished second-best at the ATP Challenger in Chennai. With a 5-7, 6-3, 5-7 defeat to Australia’s Jordan Thompson, Bhambri continued his wait for a return to reach the top-100 in the ATP Rankings. Thompson was rewarded with a jump by 12 places to move into World No 95.