On February 17th, Roger Federer once again rewrote the tennis history books. A double fault from Dutchman Robin Haase on match point in Rotterdam ensured that Federer would take over at the top of the ATP rankings, breaking several records in the process. On Monday Federer became the oldest player to attain the #1 spot at 36 years and 195 days old, breaking the previous record of 33 years set by Andre Agassi back in 2003. Federer will also break the record of the longest time between reigns at #1, which will now stand at 5 years and 106 days, with Federer last holding the #1 spot on November 4th 2012. It also marks the longest time between a players debut at #1 of 14 years and 17 days. Furthermore, Federer will extend his own record of 302 of weeks at the top of the men’s ranking. Finally, Federer also added to his own trophy haul with the Rotterdam title, dismissing Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets,6-2, 6-2, which now stands at 97 career titles. It also marks his 20th ATP 500 title – he had previously been tied with Nadal on 19.
Agassi was among the first of fans, coaches and players alike to pay tribute to Federer on his remarkable achievement, tweeting “36 years 195 days…@RogerFederer continues to raise the bar in our sport. Congratulations on yet another remarkable achievement!!” However the man himself, despite having previously deemed the return to the top “one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport,” took to Twitter to poke fun at his own expense, tweeting: “Apparently I’m the oldest tennis player with a #1 ranking. Somebody might have mentioned that to me already but I had a hard time hearing.”
Federer currently stands 345 points ahead of Nadal on ranking points, however Federer will have 2000 points to defend from last season with his titles in Indian Wells and Miami, meanwhile Nadal will have points to defend once the clay season begins with Monte Carlo and Madrid, in addition to his Grand Slam title defense of the French Open. As such, the #1 spot could very likely being changing hands again in the weeks ahead.
So what’s next for the newly minted #1? Having won 9 of his last 10 finals and 1144 matches overall, many are speculating that Jimmy Connors’ record of 1256 match wins and 109 titles overall are now within reach of Federer, and free of back and knee injuries, that they may be what Federer will be chasing in the months and possibly years ahead.