After Rafael Nadal failed to defend his points from the year before at Melbourne, Roger Federer caught up in the rankings big time. To pass him however, would require another slip up from Nadal as Federer is the defending champion at the next two Master’s events. However, Federer decided to compete at Rotterdam, a 500 event, and needs just three wins to reclaim no. 1. Suppose that he does in fact reclaim the no. 1 ranking, then there are a few things this will mean for the Swiss great.
Federer would be the oldest no. 1 ever
Federer, at age 36, would be the oldest no. 1 ever. Despite all the records he holds in his storied career, this would possibly be one of his best. He may have the record for weeks at no. 1, men’s Grand Slam singles titles, and more, but this one truly demonstrates consistency. In addition to that, it shows his commitment to reinventing himself when he switched racquets back in 2013 paid off. Federer will most likely be pleased with that, and given how he is going, it looks like playing until age 40 is a possibility.
Federer may need to play on clay this season if he wants to hold onto that ranking
As good as Federer Has been, he did not exactly have the toughest competition at the Australian Open. That means he may truly be tested at Indian Wells and Miami and if he does not defend all 2000 points, he could easily lose the ranking once again. Nadal, by contrast, has 1200 points to defend, so Federer has nothing to gain really in the weeks after Rotterdam. That is, unless he decides to play on clay. Since Federer skipped clay last year, it means that any performance would net him points at these clay court events. Nadal also has a lot to lose, given that he is the defending champion at many of these events, but betting against Nadal on clay is foolish.
Last season, Roger missed out on a potential 5000 points combined from Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, and the French Open. Should he elect to skip clay again, maybe he will set himself up well for Wimbledon, but at the same time, set up a finish like last year’s where he is unable to overtake him at the end of the season.
Federer will have a target on his back
At age 36, Federer will be man to beat. Younger players might go into matches against him with nothing to lose. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will be returning as two big threats to his reign. Should either of these two meet Federer in the coming weeks, things could get quite interesting. This will reveal two things: 1. How close are these two players to their top form, and 2. Is Federer truly the man to beat when these men are around, or in other words, how much did these two players’ absences help Federer in his path to victory. He seems to have conquered his Nadal demons for now. Can he assert himself over the two previous world no. 1’s?
At just a month into the season, there is much tennis to play. Things could get interesting in a hurry, so pay close tabs come Indian Wells and Miami.