Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has replaced the legendary Andre Agassi as the oldest player in the sport to be ranked number one following his 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Dutchman Robin Haase at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
Agassi was 33 when he last topped the rankings in September 2003.
“Getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old is an absolute dream come true,” Federer said. “I can’t believe it.”
Not only has the 36-year-old edged out the American from the record books, he has also surpassed the record in women’s tennis held by Agassi’s compatriot Serena Williams who was 35 when she was last number one in May of 2017.
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) February 16, 2018
Federer is also the proud holder of the longest ranked number one with 302 weeks at the tennis pinnacle under his belt, which will continue to add for as long as he holds on to his current position at the top.
His first stint at the ATP No. 1 spot was for 237 weeks – from February 2, 2004, to August 17, 2008, which is a record in itself.
He regained his top ranking on July 6, 2009, and held the position for 48 weeks until he lost it again on June 6, 2010.
His third stint at the first position lasted for 17 weeks starting July 9, 2012, and ending November 4, 2012, giving him a total of 302 weeks as the number one ranked tennis player in the world.
By regaining the top ranking after 5 years and 106 days, the 20-time Grand Slam winner has set another record – that of the longest gap between two stints at the top.
Also, the gap between his first time at the top and his latest is the longest ever, which was held by the Spaniard Rafael Nadal for sometime after he won back his top ranking in August last year, having first reached the number one spot in 2008.
Federer needed to win his quarter-final match and reach the last four in order to topple his great rival Nadal from the summit, which, as we know, he did, but not before showing some initial nerves as Haase broke him in the ninth game and followed it up with an ace to take the first set 6-4.
In a somewhat emotional tweet, Federer thanked his fans for their “love and support” which he said meant more to him than he could possibly describe. “Going to sleep well tonight,” said a relieved Federer.
Going to sleep well tonight. Thank you to everyone for the love and support. It means more than I could possible describe pic.twitter.com/8t0f38vTLB
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 28, 2018
The Swiss great, however, will have to wait until Monday morning for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings to be published before his position at the top becomes official for the fourth time in his career.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner previously achieved the feat on February 2, 2004, July 6, 2009, and July 9, 2012.
“This is an exciting challenge, I’ve struggled to try and get there. I had to win a lot of matches last year. I never imagined this after my knee surgery. Number one is a tough place to get to. I would have had great regret if I had not come here this week. I’m very excited for tomorrow’s match, I can’t wait for it to come around,” said the tennis legend before his face-off with Haase.
When Dutchman Richard Krajicek, tournament director and former Wimbledon champion, handed Federer the huge No.1 plaque after his quarterfinal triumph, he said, “Reaching number one is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport.”
He went on to say that “Sometimes at the beginning you get there just because you play so well. Later, you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrest it back from somebody else who deserved to be there, and when you’re older you feel like you have to put maybe double the work in. So this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career.”
One of the first to congratulate Federer was none other than the man who lost his oldest numero uno record to the Swiss legend.
Calling it a “remarkable achievement,” Agassi wrote that Federer continued to set new standards for the game.
36 years 195 days…@RogerFederer continues to raise the bar in our sport. Congratulations on yet another remarkable achievement!!
— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) February 16, 2018
Federer’s 20 Grand Slam wins
- Beats Andy Roddick in the semis and Mark Philippoussis in the finals to win his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon
- Wins the Australian Open and becomes world number one for the first time after beating Marat Safin in the finals
- Wins his second Wimbledon title with victory over Andy Roddick
- Wins his first US Open title beating Lleyton Hewitt
- Wins third Wimbledon title, once again beating Andy Roddick in the final
- Beats Andre Agassi in the American’s last major final to take home the US Open title
- Defeats Nadal to win fourth Wimbledon crown
- Wins second Australian Open title after victory over Marcos Baghdatis
- Wins second US Open title by beating Roddick
- Registers third Australian Open win without dropping a set, beating Fernando González in the final
- Again defeats Nadal in the final to record his fifth consecutive Wimbledon win
- Beats Djokovic in the final to win his fourth US Open title
- Successfully defends his US Open title for the fourth time, beating Andy Murray in the final
- Wins the French Open for the first time, defeating Söderling with a straight-sets victory
- Wins Wimbledon for the sixth year running, defeating Andy Roddick in the final
- Defeats Andy Murray to win his fourth Australian Open crown
- Defeats Andy Murray in four sets in the 2012 Wimbledon final to take home the grass-court title for the seventh time
- Triumphs over Rafael Nadal to win his fifth Australian Open title
- Defeats Marin Cilic in straight sets to win a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title
- Reaches the Australian Open final without dropping a set to beat Marin Čilić in a five-set final and take home the title for the sixth time. This also made him the first man to win 20 Grand Slam titles