Swiss tennis player Roger Federer will take part in the ABN Amro World Tennis tournament in Rotterdam in an attempt to reclaim the world’s number one ranking for the first time in five years and make history.
Federer, who arrived in the Dutch port city this past weekend, said he had not given the ranking much thought until he beat Croatia’s Marlin Cilic in the Australian Open finals.
“I played at the Australian Open not thinking about the rankings, but I knew I had the flexibility in February over my calendar,” Federer said.
In order to become number one, Federer will need to make it through to the semi-finals. If the 20-time Grand Slam champion wins, he will take up the number one position for the first time since 2012.
Federer is only 155 points behind current number one, Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and making it to the semi-finals will gain the tennis champion 180 points.
Nadal is currently recovering from a thigh injury he picked up at the Australian Open last year.
Of his decision to compete in Rotterdam Federer said: “You have to do it, not because it’s the right thing to do, but you have to be here with all your heart and really go for it. Try my very best. Having the option of getting to number one is highly motivating and very exciting to say the least.”
In addition to wanting the top spot, the 36-year-old tennis champion is also in the running to becoming the oldest number one in Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) history, surpassing American tennis player Andre Agassi (33 years and 131 days old), and setting a new record for the longest gap between stints as number one (five years and 106 days).
Federer, who already holds the record for the most weeks spent at number one (302), said he “would do anything” to make history as the oldest number one.
The veteran is set to play Belgian’s number one, Ruben Bemelmans, for the first time on Wednesday in his first-round match.