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Roger Federer accepts Rotterdam wildcard, targets World No 1 spot

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Roger Federer accepted a late wildcard to play at the hard court toournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands. A foray into the semi-finals would lift the Swiss to World No 1 spot – ahead of Rafa Nadal – while also making him the oldest player to reach the pinnacle of the sport. Federer who is careful in deciding his calendar to ensure a lengthy career, has agreed to play at the tournament for the first time since 2015.

Nadal currently stands atop the ATP rankings with 9760 points as against Federer’s 9605 points giving him a 155 point lead. Federer recovers that by reaching the semis in Rotterdam. The Spaniard only returns to action at Acapulco later this month after recovering from injury that saw him pull out early at the Australian Open.

Federer, 36-years-old, last held top spot in October, 2012 and should he reach the semi-finals in Rotterdam, he would go back to the top of the rankings and become the oldest player in history to do. The previous oldest player to hold the World No 1 ranking was Andre Agassi at 33 years, 13 days.

Reigning Australian Open champion Federer won’t have it easy at the tournament though with the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and countryman Stan Wawrinka also in the field. The 20 Grand Slam holder is not new to the Dutch city as he’s won the Rotterdam title in 2005 and 2012.

“The tournament is special for me,” Federer told the official website. “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.”

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. The last 12 months have shown his tremendous drive. It makes perfect sense that he wants to capitalise on his current form.”

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