On Friday, Roger Federer became the oldest world number one and reached the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open. The 20-time Grand Slam title winner overcame the early setback and beat Robin Haase of Netherlands by 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. The 36-year-old Swiss will now replace his old rival 31-year-old Rafael Nadal at the top rankings.
"What an amazing run it's been, to be number one again means a lot to me. This is incredibly special, I'm so happy. I didn't really think I could get back to number one, this is a significant moment in my career," Federer told Agence France-Presse.
The Swiss triumphed in 79 minutes, ending with six aces. Federer surpasses Andre Agassi, who ruled the top spot as the oldest man at the age of 33 years and 131 days in 2003. Since October 2012, this is Federer's first time back at the summit. He first claimed the top position in February 2004.
"Reaching number one is the ultimate achievement in tennis. When you're older you have to work double the amount, you have to wrestle it back from someone who's also worked hard to get there. It's a dream come true," said an emotional Federer.
He further added, "It's been an amazing journey and to clinch it here, where I got my first wildcard in 1998, means so much."Agassi was quick to congratulate Federer on Twitter.
Federer too expressed his joy on the social media platform.
36 years 195 days...@RogerFederer continues to raise the bar in our sport. Congratulations on yet another remarkable achievement!!
— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) February 16, 2018
Apparently I'm the oldest tennis player with a #1️⃣ ranking. Somebody might have mentioned that to me already but I had a hard time hearing 👴🏻
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) February 16, 2018
Federer was as low as number 17 in January 2017, before he returned to form with the Australian Open title. On Thursday, he spoke of his desire to retake the world number one spot and said, “I've struggled to try and get there. I had to win a lot of matches last year."The world champion now plays Andreas Seppi or Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals on Saturday.