Federer to try make history in Rotterdam

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal tennis news

GETTYRoger Federer Rafael Nadal missed out on the Australian Open to his Swiss rival

This evening the 36-year-old will face Belgian Ruben Bemelmans in the first round for the right to play Philipp Kohlschreiber in the next round. Federer could be set to return to World #1 for the first time since November 4th, 2012. If seedings hold up, that means he would have to defeat compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka in what would be a high-profile quarter-final.

He is a 20-time grand slam champion but Boris Becker does not believe Roger Federer would be able to beat John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in their prime. I always thought I was going to be in the mountains in Switzerland, and depending on how the Open went... and I just thought I'd love to go play Rotterdam and give it a go there-and then always have the option to go to Dubai. I want to be ready for this event. He has the most weeks at world number one, which is an impressive record.

"I'm happy I'm here, healthy and eager to play", he added. I played at the Australian Open not thinking about the rankings, but I knew I had the flexibility in February over my calendar.

Meanwhile, Federer also said he has set sights on defending the Sunshine Double titles and that he will take a call on his clay-court plans after the Masters 1000 tournaments in Miami and Indian Wells.

"I hope I take that fear away a little bit, that sometimes it's OK to take time".

"To see a guy at that age and play at that level and move better than he did when he was 28, maybe not when he was 25 or 26, but I don't understand how the hell he's doing it". And Wawrinka is still working his way back to his prime fitness after his own knee surgery last August.

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Netherland's Thiemo de Bakker enjoyed practicing with the great Roger Federer over the weekend.

Wawrinka plays unknown Tallon Griekspoor in round one after the Dutch youngster earned a wildcard to the tournament.

So if Federer jumps all those hurdles, he will be the new No1.

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... He will next play either Joao Sousa or one more of the over-30s club, Andreas Seppi. If Federer failed to win Rotterdam despite making it to the semi-final and Nadal goes on to triumph in Acapulco, the Spaniard will return to the top of the rankings.

Unlike the women's game, however, the men seem to have been engaged in an unorthodox relay for some time: Federer and Nadal passed the baton to Djokovic and Murray, but now seem to have taken it back for a victory lap.

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