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Roger Federer bids to reclaim the world no. 1 ranking next week as he takes a wildcard into ATP Rotterdam

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 7 Feb 2018
  • Roger Federer will play the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament after accepting a wildcard
  • Federer will overtake Rafael Nadal as world no. 1 if he reaches the semifinals in Rotterdam
  • ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament tennis is live from Rotterdam from 12-18 February 2018
Roger Federer will play the 2018 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, live from Rotterdam from 12 February (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

Roger Federer will play the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam after accepting a wildcard.



Australian Open champion Roger Federer has given himself a chance to reclaim the world no. 1 ranking after more than five years by accepting a wildcard into the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, live from Rotterdam from 12-19 February 2018.

The 500-level ATP World Tour event, played on indoor hard courts in Rotterdam, announced on Wednesday that Federer had joined the field.

‘We are thrilled that Roger has chosen to come to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament last minute,’ tournament director Richard Krajicek said. 

‘After his fantastic result at the Australian Open, it is tremendous news that he will be joining us in Rotterdam. It is a crown to the celebration of the history of our tournament.’

Federer will be playing for the first time since he defeated Marin Cilic in five sets to win his twentieth Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

Federer has made eight previous appearances in Rotterdam. A quarterfinalist on his debut in 1999, Federer reached the final in 2001 (losing to Nicolas Escude) and took the title in 2005, defeating Ivan Ljubicic. Returning after a seven-year absence in 2012, Federer won his second title when he defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the final but fell in the quarterfinals in 2013 to Julien Benneteau. The outdoor hard-court event held the week after Rotterdam, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, henceforth largely replaced Rotterdam on his schedule.

‘The tournament is special for me. I remember playing for the first time in 1999 as it was one of the first events where I got the chance to play at the highest level. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition,’ Federer said.

The advantage of playing Rotterdam in 2018 is clear: It gives Federer an opportunity to reclaim the world no. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.


Federer and Nadal battled for the no. 1 ranking down the stretch in 2017, a tremendously successful season for both men in which each won two majors. But ultimately, Federer’s decision to skip the clay-court season entirely counted against him, as did his withdrawal from the Paris Masters, and he was not able to take back the top spot from Nadal, who ended 2017 on top despite struggling with knee problems in the closing stages of the season.

But after Nadal failed to defend his Australian Open runner-up points, retiring in the fifth set against Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals, Federer’s successful title defense meant that he was just 155 points behind Nadal in the rankings – the Spanish player on 9,760, Federer on 9,605.

With Nadal not scheduled to play again until the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, which begins two weeks after Rotterdam on 26 February, Federer has given himself a chance to retake the top spot by playing Rotterdam, which begins on Monday 12 February.

All he has to do is reach the semifinals and Federer will be ranked world no. 1 for the first time since October 2012.

Federer already holds the record for most weeks ranked no. 1 after being on top for 302 weeks throughout his career, as well as the record for most consecutive weeks ranked world no. 1 (237).

But if Federer does succeed in taking back the world no. 1 spot, the 36-year-old would become the oldest man to rank at the top, surpassing previous record-holder Andre Agassi, who was 33 years and 131 days old when he last ranked world no. 1 back in August 2003.

Federer will be joined in Rotterdam by a strong field, led by world no. 3 Grigor Dimitrov, world no. 4 Alexander Zverev and world no. 7 David Goffin, who was the last player to beat Federer indoors. Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and past winners Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych are also in the field, as is Nick Kyrgios. 

The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament begins on Monday 12 February. 

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Roger Federer bids to reclaim the world no. 1 ranking next week as he takes a wildcard into ATP Rotterdam

Australian Open champion Roger Federer will replace Rafael Nadal as world no. 1, returning to the top spot after more than five years, if he reaches the semifinals of next week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam

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