Monday, 19 February 2018 17:11 PM GMT
Federer returns to the summit

No tennis player is as familiar with the sensation of breaking records as Roger Federer. By recapturing the world No.1 spot at the age of 36, the Swiss champion - once again - wrote history this past weekend.

After winning seven tournament titles in 2017, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and taking his 20th major crown in Melbourne this January, a real opportunity to become No.1 again presented itself to Federer.

Therefore a call was made to the Netherlands, where 1996 Wimbledon singles champion Richard Krajicek granted his fellow All England Club member a wild card to compete in his ATP tournament in Rotterdam in February. The 45th edition of the indoor hard court event quickly turned into the stage for another chapter in tennis history.

Federer became the oldest world No.1 ever by reaching the semi-finals, leaving Serena Williams (35) and Andre Agassi (33) behind. He debuted as world No.1 14 years ago, thus breaking the record for time between first and last days as world No.1, and his last stint atop the rankings was in 2012, a five year and 106 day gap that is the longest in ATP history. 

Even though Federer’s past is littered with records, his latest feat feels surreal.

“I think reaching number one is the ultimate achievement in our sport," he said.

"This one maybe means the most to me throughout my career, getting to number one and enjoying it at 36 years old. It’s an absolute dream come true, I can’t believe it.”

Federer went on to win the tournament by beating Grigor Dimitrov in the final, gaining him enough ranking points to hold on to the No.1 ranking until at least 18 March.

Many all time greats and past Wimbledon champions, such as Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray have won the historic tournament, but Federer became the first three-time champion of the event and was a key factor in reaching a record attendance of 122,846 spectators during the week. Among the public on finals day were King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of The Netherlands.

When you win a tournament like Wimbledon you feel like you can win anything

- Roger Federer

Federer, tennis royalty himself, admitted to that winning a record eighth Wimbledon singles title in 2017 played an important part in his latest rise to the pinnacle of the sport. The reigning champion also revealed that only after his win on the Centre Court grass last year did the possibility of becoming world No.1 again crossed his mind.

“Clearly that was a big step in hindsight. When you win a tournament like Wimbledon you feel like you can win anything, especially with the experience that I have. It was a great tournament and amazing confidence booster for me last year, not dropping a set.”

What is next for Federer? Having won 97 career titles, the magical number of 100 is close. At this rate it is not unthinkable he will reach that milestone sooner rather than later.

Why not at Wimbledon?