Roger Federer says becoming the oldest world number one in tennis history – 14 years after he first topped the rankings – is a “dream come true”.
The 36-year-old beat Robin Haase 4-6 6-1 6-1 in the last eight of the Rotterdam Open to replace Rafael Nadal, 31, at the top of the standings.
Federer surpassed Serena Williams, who was 35 when she lost her women’s number one ranking in May 2017.
“This one means the most at 36 years of age, almost 37,” the Swiss said.
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
“When you’re older you have to work double the amount. You have to wrestle it back from someone who’s worked hard to get there.
“Reaching number one is the ultimate achievement in tennis. It’s been an amazing journey and to clinch it here, where I got my first wildcard in 1998, means so much.”
“I will definitely check out the new ranking on Monday morning. To make sure that no mistake has been made.”
— ABN AMRO WTT (@abnamrowtt) February 18, 2018
Eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi previously held the men’s ranking record – he was 33 when he lost the number one spot in September 2003.
Federer’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals in the Netherlands looked slim when he lost the first set, but he dropped just two further games to set up a tie with Italian Andreas Seppi or Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
It’s been a long road, and sometimes windy, but feels surreal to be back at the top. I’m just happy to be healthy and playing tennis every day 🙌🏼👊🏼
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) February 17, 2018
At the end of the match, the 20-time Grand Slam champion sat down and wiped away tears, before returning to the court to take the acclaim from the crowd and receive a trophy for his achievement.
BBC Sport (Video: ABN AMRO WTT)