Roger Federer has taken a late wild card into next week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, a 500-point event on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam. It gives Federer, who played only one tournament (Dubai) in between the Australian Open and Indian Wells last season, a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking.
The 36-year-old Swiss is 155 points behind Rafael Nadal, who has maintained the top spot since overtaking Andy Murray this past August. A semifinal performance at a 500-point is worth 180 points, so Federer needs to win just three matches in order to clinch a return trip to No. 1 for the first time since November of 2012.
It would also make Federer the oldest-ever world No. 1–by far. Andre Agassi holds the current record at 33 years and 13 days.
“The tournament is special for me,” Federer said of Rotterdam, where he is 23-6 lifetime in eight appearances with two titles. “I remember playing for the first time in 1999, as it was one of the first events where I got the chance to play at the highest level. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition.”
“After his fantastic result at the Australian Open, it is tremendous news that he will be joining us in Rotterdam,” tournament director Richard Krajicek assured. “It is a crown to the celebration of the history of our tournament.”
Federer captured the Rotterdam title in 2005 (beat his current coach Ivan Ljubicic in the final) and again in his next appearance in 2012 following a six-year absence. He last played there in 2013, losing to Julien Benneteau in the quarterfinals.
This year’s field also includes Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, David Goffin, Stan Wawrinka, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nick Kyrgios was also scheduled to play, but he withdrew on Wednesday due to an injury that hampered him last week during Davis Cup competition.