Tennis ace Roger Federer became the oldest man in the history of the sport to reach the top spot of ATP rankings on Friday, February 16, in Rotterdam.
The 36-year-old returned to the numero uno position after a five-year gap, thereby surpassing Andre Agassi, who held the top spot at 33.
Federer needed to reach at least the semi-final in the ongoing ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam to overtake Rafael Nadal in the ATP rankings. The wildcard entrant did it in style by beating Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the quarter-final on Friday. | Watch Rotterdam Open live on TV, online |
Nonetheless, Federer took to Twitter after his win and said he "had a hard time hearing" about the "oldest man" record. The Swiss ace followed his tongue-in-cheek remark by saying he felt "surreal" about the record and "happy" about his fitness at 36.
Check out Federer's cheeky reaction to his latest record below.
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
Federer will be officially crowned the world number one when the ATP rankings get updated on Monday, February 18. He first held the top spot in February 2004, weeks after winning his first Grand Slam at Australian Open.
'Absolute dream come true'
The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will turn 37 in August, also said his latest record "means the most" to him and that is an "absolute dream come true".
Federer has defied the odds and silenced his critics ever since he defeated Nadal in a five-set marathon in Melbourne last year to clinch his fifth Australian Open title last year. The ageless tennis star thereby ended his four-year major drought and signalled his return to the chasing pack.
The Swiss legend then proved his Australian Open win was not a flash in the pan by capturing the Wimbledon title last year after skipping the clay season. He remained unbeaten against Nadal in all their four meetings last year, including the ones he claimed en route to a Sunshine Double.
After having successfully defended his Australian Open crown last month, Federer is a couple of wins away from a title in Rotterdam. Notably, the wildcard entrant will take on world number 81 Andreas Seppi in the semi-final of the ATP 500 tournament on Saturday.
"I think reaching No. 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport. So sometimes at the beginning you just all of a sudden get there just because you're playing so well. Later you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrestle it back from somebody else who deserved to be there. And when you're older, you know you feel like you have to put maybe sometimes double the work in," Federer said was quoted as saying by ATP's official website.
He added: "So, this one maybe means the most to me [of any achievement] throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old. [It] is an absolute dream come true, I can't believe it."