Federer quietly dreaming about world rankings record


The Swiss will be extra motivated this week as he will dethrone Spain's Rafael Nadal from the No. 1 spot if he reaches the semi-finals.

But his quarterfinal opponent could well be long-time friend Stan Wawrinka, seeded fifth as he comes back from a 2017 knee surgery.

After winning the Australian Open last month, Federer was not expected to return to the tour until Indian Wells in March but opted to take a surprise wildcard into Rotterdam.

The Australian Open star is fast catching up to move to the number one spot.

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"You can always play more if you want to", Federer told the Guardian newspaper.

"I would love to be in that position with anyone, but with Stan it would be like a grand slam final, a big-time match", Federer said, AFP report. "It's just a number", he said after winning the Melbourne title for a sixth time. "What I did previous year - and what Rafa (Nadal) is doing also - is maybe a bit of a lighter schedule, and it shows to others by working or practising a bit more... you become a different or better player". It was the second longest grand slam final ever, obviously exciting in and of itself, but I think its reputation derives more from what it represented in the context of the Federer-Nadal rivalry. "After the Australian Open was over, I thought I'd love to play Rotterdam and give it a go".

"I'm happy I'm here, healthy and eager to play", he said.

The only reason, given he had a 4-0 record over Nadal when the two rivals did meet, was that Federer chose to sit out the entire clay court season.

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"I guess by being here now, and maybe being in Dubai, it's just going to have to be lighter if I play the clay-court season". "I didn't expect to win Australia, I played it not thinking about number one". We'll see how it goes, I'm healthy and glad to be playing. "That's the secret for me moving forward".

Tough starts for (3) Zverev vs. the veteran Ferrer, (8) Muller vs. a qualifier then the hot-handed Gasquet, (6) Berdych vs. the elder net-rushing Zverev, and (7) Pouille vs. the riser Rublev...

It was the 20-year-old German's first win over the former French Open finalist at the third attempt.

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". Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, last year's finalist David Goffin, 2015 victor Stan Wawrinka, 2014 champion Tomas Berdych and last week's Open Sud de France champion Lucas Pouille also feature in the draw.

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