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Federer wins World Sportsman and Comeback of the Year at Laureus Awards

Roger Federer was honoured by the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards, picking up the Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards at the ceremony in Monaco.

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Federer cruises past Dimitrov to claim Rotterdam title

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings with his second title of the season, swatting aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tournament in Rotterdam.

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Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

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Federer beats Cilic to win 20th Grand Slam

Roger Federer added another chapter to his phenomenal career when the Swiss captured his 20th Grand Slam to retain his Australian Open title with a thrilling 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic in the final.

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Federer beats Del Potro for eighth Basel title

Roger Federer won his eighth Basel title, battling back to defeat the surging Juan Martin del Potro, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3 to clinch his ATP World Tour-leading seventh title of the year.

Federer to skip 2018 clay season and French Open

Roger Federer knows better than anyone, at 36, it is as much about keeping a spark of motivation alive as it is about managing his body. Defeat then to the 175th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis in his opening match at the Miami Open, comes with a silver lining - the chance to rest and reinvigorate that hunger in time for the grass-court swing.

The loss prompted an announcement that, for the second consecutive year, he would skip the clay-court season, including Roland Garros. It proved a masterstroke in 2017 as he went on to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title.

Federer will hand over the No. 1 ATP Ranking to Rafael Nadal on April 2, having spent 309 weeks at the top during his career. That in itself presents a new goal for the season ahead - to reclaim his place at the top.

“Yeah, I decided not to play,” Federer said of the upcoming clay-court season. “I didn't play great last week either, I felt, overall. Nothing new, in my opinion. I'm trying to figure things out, so. I have time now.

“I'm a positive thinker. I feel like every match is another opportunity. Especially after losing one, clearly I'm down right now. I'm disappointed. I'm frustrated a little bit that I couldn't find a way. It's unfortunate how it goes.

“It's pretty simple at the end of the day. You go back to the practice court or go on vacation, you really take a break, get away from it all. When you come back to the practice court to work, whatever it is, you do it at 100 per cent.”

The 21-year-old Australian's 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory drew high praise from the Swiss. This was an opponent Federer had spent time training with at his Dubai base, a player who had endured more than his share of injury hurdles in his young career.

“Look, he's a cool guy, a cool demeanour,” Federer said. “He's been to Dubai to practise with me a couple of times. I knew him very well. We have worked very hard together. I've always liked his game.

“I'm happy for him that on the big stage he was able to show it, centre court, Miami, people watching, beating me. It's a big result for him in his career. I hope it's going to launch him, really getting his ranking up.”

Not since 2014 when he lost the Monte-Carlo final (l. to Wawrinka) and first round in Rome (l. to Chardy) had Federer fallen in back-to-back matches. Coming off a narrow defeat in the BNP Paribas Open final (l. to Del Potro), a match in which three championship points went begging, Federer admitted that he struggled to sink his teeth into his opening match in Miami.

Still there was plenty to be upbeat about. His semi-final victory over Borna Coric in Indian Wells gave Federer his best start to a season (17-0).

“Honestly, in the third set anything could have happened. I feel like I wasn't feeling good. The ball, I wasn't feeling. With my movement, things weren't absolutely working,” Federer said.

“I felt like the third set could be a tricky one, of course. I feel like every time I had chances, something bad happened for me, wrong decision making by me, good decision making by him. Who knows what happened. It just felt like I could be paying the price for opportunities missed.

“Look, it's disappointing. I don't know why I could never get to any level that I was happy with today. Sometimes you have these matches. Sometimes you find a way through. I just couldn't get it done today.

“He was just a bit better than me today. What exactly that was, I think you probably have to break it down to the key moments. He was a bit more relaxed. I was in search mode the whole match. I never got going.”

Date: 25 March 2018, Source: ATP

Federer reflects on losing championship points against Del Potro

Titles have never defined who Roger Federer is, although, if they did, they'd have a lot to say for him. The Swiss right-hander was three times a swing away from winning his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and his 98th tour-level title on Sunday against Juan Martin del Potro during the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells. But Del Potro erased all three championship points and captured his maiden Masters 1000 title 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (2).

Federer, however, long ago learned to achieve contentment in life, despite some on-court disappointments here and there. The 36-year-old Swiss said he achieved such peace years ago, shortly after he began to make his mark on the ATP World Tour and at Grand Slam tournaments.

“I have been content for a long, long time on the Tour. I guess ever since I became world No. 1 back in 2004 and won Wimbledon in 2003, my life was complete as a tennis player. Those were my dreams as a little kid,” he said.

Federer said that's why he still enjoys most things about the tour life. “That's why retirement can wait, and I'm just really enjoying the ride. I'm really having a good time on the Tour,” Federer said.

It's easy to forget that Federer has had tough moments during his career, times that have taught him how to stay positive regardless of the outcome on the court. After falling to Del Potro in the season's first Masters 1000 final, Federer spoke at length about his attitude.

“I think staying positive through the tough moments is really key. Because you're always going to go through ups and downs in your career, or as a person for that matter. Not every day is sun shining. It's sometimes a bit of a struggle and important that you take the right decisions, you surround yourself with the right people, you're happy with what you have,” Federer said.

“Of course you can always try to want more and have more and everything, but you might never be happy when you search for things like this.”

Federer's outlook has helped him move on from losses. His 17-match win streak to start the 2018 season - the longest of his career to begin a year - was snapped against Del Potro. But the World No. 1 knows he won't have a lot of time to dwell on the match. The season's second Masters 1000 tournament, the Miami Open presented by Itau, starts on Wednesday. Federer is the defending champion there, too.

I feel frustrated, you know, that I let an opportunity like this go by. Serving 40/15, any game I probably win - I don't know what the stat is - 90-something per cent,” Federer said of his lead at 5-4 in the third set.

So it should sting, like you said, for a bit. The question is how long? It won't be long, but it's disappointing talking about a great match like this, losing, even though I was right there.

Obviously there is not too much time to dwell over it. Like I said, I'm happy for Juan Martin. It's a tough one. And I still had a good week here. I still see the positives at the end of the day.

It was a great match, honestly. Good fun. Good intensity. We enjoy that. And also it was tough and fair on the court. It was Juan Martin and myself. At the end you saw we are appreciative of the finals that we played against each other, which I think is really important for both of us.

Date: 19 March 2018, Source: ATP

Federer powers past Chung; Reaches Indian Wells SF

World No. 1 Roger Federer equalled his best start to a season to stay on course for a sixth Indian Wells title. Federer booked his semi-final spot and extended his season win streak to 16 straight matches with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over South Korea's Hyeon Chung on Thursday.

The last time Federer started 16-0 unbeaten streak was 12 years ago in 2006.

Switzerland's Federer recalls parts of that streak but not all the tournaments he played in to get there.

"Twelve years ago, a long time ago. I don't know. What was I doing back then?" he asked. "I don't even remember what tournament I played first up and won.

"I guess I had a similar good start to the year. Back then I was on this massive streak of winning 40-plus matches. It had already started the year before that, which this time it didn't. I had to get it going again in Australia.

"It's a great start. Hopefully I can do one more and beat my best streak on Saturday."

It was Federer's second win against the 21-year-old Chung this season, and they had a crowd of all-time greats watching. Tennis legends Rod Laver and Pete Sampras looked on, as did Bill Gates, Federer's philanthropic partner, and actor Will Ferrell.

Thursday's quarter-final was more competitive than Federer and Chung's Australian Open semi-final, which Chung aborted down 1-6, 2-5 because of blisters. But the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion, like everyone else on the ATP World Tour this year, had no lasting answer for the five-time BNP Paribas Open champion, who improved to 11-1 in Indian Wells quarter-finals.

By making the semi-finals, the Swiss right-hander guaranteed himself another two weeks at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings and will extend his record reign to 308 weeks.

Federer will next meet Croatia's Borna Coric, who reached his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final by beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) earlier Thursday. Federer won their lone ATP Head to Head matchup, a 6-2, 6-1 rout at the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Federer, just as he had done in Melbourne, jumped out to an early lead against Chung, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. The top seed broke in the second game and led 3-0. But Chung grew more comfortable under the lights against Federer, and the South Korean broke back for 3-3.

From there, however, Federer didn't let up, mixing slice with power to break Chung in the 12th game and, in the second set, winning six of seven games to advance. The 36-year-old finished with 32 winners compared to eight from Chung.

"I'm happy I found a way. Started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set. I think that was the key to the match, those 10 to 15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second,” Federer said. “I'm very happy. It was a good match. I played well."

The 21-year-old Chung was upbeat about his Indian Wells run. On Monday, he will become the highest-ranked Asian player in the ATP Rankings, surpassing Japan's Kei Nishikori. Chung is projected to rise to a new career-high of No. 23.

Date: 16 March 2018, Source: AFP and ATP

Federer breezes into quarters at Indian Wells

It was tighter than perhaps Roger Federer would have liked, but the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings still pushed his way past the confident and big-hitting Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday, and is now only one win away from matching his best start ever.

The 36-year-old Swiss was untouchable on serve at the BNP Paribas Open, winning 90 per cent of his service points (44/49), including 100 per cent of his first-serve points (25/25), to beat Chardy 7-5, 6-4 in a packed Stadium One. It's only the fifth time Federer has won a match (not by retirement) without losing a first-serve point.

The five-time champion improved to 15-0 in 2018, with every match occurring on hard court. Even more remarkable, Federer has still lost only three sets this year (36-3 in sets).

If he can repeat his Australian Open semi-final victory and beat Hyeon Chung of South Korea in the Indian Wells quarter-finals, Federer will match his previous best start to a season, which came in 2006, when he was 24 years old (16-0).

It's been great. But, look, it's a totally different year, many years after,” Federer said. “Felt like I found my range, my rhythm early in the year. So many years I felt good actually in Australia already. I don't know if it's Australia per se or taking the benefits from the hard work I put in into the new season.

Then also Rotterdam was great. I was very happy that I was able to win the tournament there, not just get to the semis and get World No. 1. So that was nice.

And here now I'm relieved that I was able to win three matches already. Because in a big, tough draw like here at Indian Wells, you're never quite sure what to expect. So I'm just happy I'm on a good run.”

Chardy was loaded with confidence ahead of their fourth-round tangle. In his second-round match, the Frenchman had come back from a set and 4-1 down to beat Italian Fabio Fognini, and he used that momentum to achieve his best showing in Indian Wells.

But although Chardy played aggressively with his forehand and defended his serve well, erasing three of five break points, he could never find a way into Federer's service games. The top seed never faced a break point and broke exactly when he needed to - in the 11th game of the first set and in the ninth game in the second.

“You can't plan for these runs to happen. Either they happen or they don't. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to keep the runs going. And this year it's just been really good, solid matches,” Federer said. “We'll see how long it lasts really. This might be the last day. So we'll see. It's just how it goes. Don't jinx it.”

His next opponent, Chung, has continued his impressive start to the season. The reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion recorded his 15th win of the year by beating Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-3. Last year, Chung didn't reach 15 wins until the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Montreal in August.

Federer will go for win No. 61 at the BNP Paribas Open against Chung. He has now recorded 60 wins at six tournaments.

Federer is one victory away from guaranteeing that he will maintain his No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings next Monday. If he loses against Chung, the Swiss will fall to No. 2 and Rafael Nadal will regain the top spot.

Date: 15 March 2018, Source: ATP

Federer cruises past Krajinovic at Indian Wells

World number one Roger Federer needed just 58 minutes to dispatch Filip Krajinovic at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Monday, mixing overpowering serves and pinpoint groundstrokes to advance to the fourth round of the tournament.

Playing for a third consecutive day due to weather delays in Indian Wells, the 36-year-old Swiss showed no sign of wear en route to a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of the Serbian in the pair's first ever meeting.

Federer, who had looked slightly off his game in his rain-disrupted third round match against Federico Delbonis, was his dominant self on Monday, winning 89 percent of his first service points while cracking six aces to just one double fault.

Krajinovic had no answer for Federer's serve or relentless return game and ended up winning just 31 of the match's 93 points.

"I was playing aggressive and feeling like he was not loving my slice, and then also mixing in with drop shots eventually," Federer said.

"I think really I was able to mix up my game nicely, make it difficult for him there. At the same time, have fun with my game, play variation, but for the most part try to stay on the offensive, as well. I think it was a good match."

With rivals Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych are eliminated, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title.

Despite the promising outlook, Federer insisted he was taking it one match at a time.

"You can't really look ahead to semi-finals, finals and speculate about who you could play," he told reporters.

"I think that would be a mistake. I am on a good run right now and I want to maintain that. I have to stay sharp."

Next up for Federer is a meeting on Wednesday with France's Jeremy Chardy, who upset his countryman Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 earlier on Monday.

Federer holds a 3-1 ATP Head to Head series edge against Chardy, with three of their four meetings having come at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. The Frenchman's lone victory came on red clay at 2014 Rome in a match that went to a third-set tie-break.

If Federer should continue his run of good form and advance to the final at Indian Wells again, it will be his fourth consecutive appearance in the title match (2014, 2015, 2017).

Date: 13 March 2018, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer opens his bid for 6th Indian Wells title

In his first tournament since returning to the top spot of the ATP Rankings, Roger Federer overcame a spirited effort from Argentina's Federico Delbonis to advance to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.

Federer prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (6) in a match that was carried over from Saturday evening due to rain. Four games were played in the second set when the skies opened at 10:30 PM local time. Upon resumption on Sunday, Delbonis did well to force a tie-break, but Federer was too strong in the end. He closed out the win after one hour and 41 minutes, saving all three break points faced.

It was the Basel native's 450th match at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, improving to 351-99. Making his 17th appearance in Indian Wells, he kicked off his bid for a sixth tournament title.

"It is interesting, when you go from night to day and you know there is a difference," said Federer. "So naturally it's all a change. Here now you play the same guy the next day, so you can really compare how different conditions are. It was actually quite interesting.

"They play very different. In the nighttime, the ball is much more deader. The surface doesn't react so much. The ball doesn't travel so fast. Even though I served my five aces yesterday, I hit none today. So talking about faster, I just think there is more bounce to it, especially if you play someone who has a lot of spin like he has and kicks the ball around a lot. It's been a long time since I have been interrupted at night and have to come back the next day."

Delbonis entered the encounter with hopes of springing the upset,  having claimed their lone previous encounter in Hamburg in 2013, but that was quickly quashed by the top seed. Federer, who returned to World No. 1 at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Rotterdam last month, is assured of remaining at the pinnacle of the ATP Rankings should he reach the semi-finals in Indian Wells.

Federer remains ruthless in 2018, extending his win streak to 13 straight since the start of the season. Champion at the Australian Open and ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, he has dropped only three sets from 35 played this year.

Still looking to adjust to the high-bouncing conditions in the desert, Federer will look to improve on his 40 unforced errors when he faces 25th-seed Filip Krajinovic in the third round. It will be their first meeting. Krajinovic, who reached the final at the Rolex Paris Masters last year, defeated American qualifier Mitchell Krueger 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.

Date: 12 March 2018, Source: ATP

Roger Federer wins World Sportsman and Comeback of the Year at Laureus Awards

Roger Federer was honoured by the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday, picking up the Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards at the ceremony in Monaco.

The Swiss tennis icon, who reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking after overcoming a knee injury and winning his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month, fought off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Mo Farah, Lewis Hamilton and Chris Froome to land the Sportsman of the Year award.

Federer's awards were his fifth and sixth since the Laureus Awards began in 2000, making him the most decorated winner in its history.

"I didn't believe I would ever come back to this level," said Federer. "The year I had was something else. This means the world to me. The comebacks are always extremely emotional. Last year was a dream come true.

"This is a very special moment for me. Everyone knows how highly I value my Laureus Awards, so to win another would have been wonderful, but to win two is a truly unique honour. And so unexpected.

"I am delighted and I would like to thank the Laureus Academy for all their support. It was an unforgettable year for me, to come back after a very difficult 2016 and these Awards just make it even more memorable.

"When I won my first Laureus Award back in 2005, if you had said I would have ended up winning six I would not have believed you. It's been an amazing ride."

Following a 2016 season curtailed by knee and back problems, Federer returned in 2017 to win seven titles, including two Grand Slams and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s in a run that laid the groundwork for his eventual return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings earlier this month.

Date: 27 February 2018, Source: Sky Sports, BBC and ATP

Federer cruises past Dimitrov to claim Rotterdam title

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings with his second title of the season, swatting aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Federer, 36, who guaranteed becoming the oldest ever ATP world number one by reaching the semi-final, had won all six of his previous meetings with Dimitrov and was in command throughout Sunday's 55-minute final.

He broke the Bulgarian opponent early in the contest and cruised to a one-set lead at the Ahoy Rotterdam. Putting Dimitrov under heavy pressure throughout the championship clash, he fired 15 winners and converted four of eight break chances.

Playing flawless tennis, the 20-times major winner carried the momentum forward in the second set to seal a 97th career title and third in Rotterdam having won in 2005 defeating his current coach Ivan Ljubicic, and in 2012 with victory over Juan Martin del Potro.

"It's definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life," said Federer. "It's unbelievable to get my 97th title and get back to World No. 1. It's very special.

"I was expecting it to be tough today. Grigor is a great player and a great athlete and he's been playing super well in recent months. I thought that this wasn't going to be the result, but he looked to be struggling a bit midway through and I never looked back. I was able to execute my tennis the way I wanted to. I'm very happy."

The Swiss, who won the Australian Open last month for the second year in succession, also improved his head-to-head record against world number five Dimitrov to 7-0.

With King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in attendance, it was Dimitrov who burst out the gates behind a blistering start. The World No. 4 sent an early message across the net with a stunning backhand winner and running cross-court forehand in the opening game. He would claim seven of the first eight winners and it looked to be a tight affair in the Dutch city.

But a netted backhand drew first blood for Federer in the fifth game and he would not look back. The Swiss did not yield an inch from the baseline and a rattled Dimitrov saw a total of 13 unforced errors come off his racquet in the first set. And an immediate break to open the second would prove decisive. Federer crossed the finish in just under an hour, marking the second straight year he has streaked to a title in less than 60 minutes. He defeated Alexander Zverev in 53 minutes in Halle last year.

"I played a great first match and a great last match," Federer added. "In between it was a battle and nerve-wracking, getting back to World No. 1 and managing my expectations and my nerves as well. I was able to handle the pressure and today I played great from the beginning. I pushed forward and I'm very proud that I could win here in Rotterdam."

With his victory in the Rotterdam final, Federer clinched a record 20th ATP World Tour 500 level title. He was previously tied with Nadal with 19 crowns.

Federer has carried the momentum from a dominant finish to 2017 into the new season, opening his campaign with a ruthless 12-0 start. Since falling to Del Potro in the US Open quarter-finals, he has won 25 of 26 matches, with his only blemish coming in the semis of the ATP Finals (l. to Goffin).

Despite falling in the championship, Dimitrov celebrates a 15th final appearance on the ATP World Tour. He streaked to the final without dropping a set, earning impressive wins over in-form opponents Yuichi Sugita, Filip Krajinovic and Andrey Rublev.

"It was a great week, but I just came up short today," said Dimitrov. "Anything can happen, but all credit to Roger. He deserves to win the tournament and played unbelievable tennis the whole week. He raised the bar. I just want to take the positives from the week. My goal was to come out here and play well with each match, but I just came up short today. You do the best you can and play with whatever you have."

Federer will now decide within a few days whether or not to travel to Dubai for the ATP event starting a week from Monday.

He has a home and training base in the UAE and has won the hardcourt tournament seven times.

Date: 18 February 2018, Source: Reuters, ATP and AFP

Federer to face Dimitrov in Rotterdam final

Roger Federer reached his third ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final on Saturday after beating Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-6 (3).

The two-time Rotterdam champion moved into the championship match after one hour, 24 minutes and will aim to become the first player in the tournament’s history to win the event on three occasions on Sunday. Federer guaranteed with his quarter-final victory against Robin Haase that he will become the oldest World No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings on Monday.

“I wasn't sure if I was going to get out of this one today,” admitted Federer. “It was tough, maybe my best match of the tournament. I am very excited to be in the final here in Rotterdam.”

If Federer goes on to win the title, it will be the 15th year in the 36-year-old’s career that he has won multiple tour-level titles. The right-hander is pursuing trophy No. 97.

The Swiss superstar will meet World No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov for the title after fourth seed David Goffin retired from his semi-final against the Bulgarian with an eye injury while trailing 3-6, 1-0. Federer has won all six previous ATP Head to Head meetings with Dimitrov. If the top seed goes on to win, it will be the 30th time that he defeated a Top 5 opponent in the final to earn a tour-level title.

“He is in great form,” Federer said of Dimitrov. “He had a wonderful season last year. He started solid again this year, so I think he is fresh, ready and eager to go. I enjoy playing against Grigor. I am going to have to try to play aggressive, to play my game and then hope for the best.”

Federer said he was more relaxed on Saturday after achieving his goal of returning to World No. 1.

“Maybe the pressure being gone helped me a little bit,” he said.

Dimitrov, 10 years younger than Federer, will be playing for his ninth career title.

Date: 17 February 2018, Source: ATP and AP

Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

By overtaking Spaniard Rafael Nadal at No.1 on Monday, Federer will break a number of ATP Rankings records - the longest period between stints at No.1, the oldest player to attain top spot and the longest duration between first and last days at the summit of men’s professional tennis.

Richard Krajicek, the Rotterdam Tournament Director, presented Federer with a special award in an on-court ceremony. "What an amazing run it’s been and a journey it’s been for me throughout, so to clinch World No.1 again this following Monday here in Rotterdam really means a lot to me, so thank you very much, everybody," Federer told the crowd.

"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. 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."

His third straight victory over Haase means that the Swiss superstar has completed a dramatic return from No.17 in January 2017, following a six-month lay-off due to a knee injury. Since returning, Federer has compiled a 63-5 match record, including titles at three of the past five Grand Slam championships, three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and two other tournaments.

Having saved three break points at 1-1, Haase appeared not to have read the script when the World No.42 broke Federer for a 5-4 lead, then calmly closed out the 35-minute opener. Federer refocused and signaled his aggressive intent by winning four first-serve points in his opening service game of the second set, which lasted just 19 minutes. From a 3-1 lead in the second set, Federer won nine of the next 10 games to wrap up the match in 80 minutes.

Federer has ensured top spot for the first time since 4 November 2012, five years and 106 days ago - the longest period of time between stints at World No.1. At 36 years of age, Federer is also the oldest player to become No.1, eclipsing the record held by American Andre Agassi, who last held the top spot aged 33 on 7 September 2003.

Federer first became No.1 in the ATP Rankings on 2 February 2004 - a record 14 years and 17 days ago - for a total of 237 straight weeks until 17 August 2008. He then returned to the top spot on two further occasions between 6 July 2009 and 6 June 2010 (48 weeks) and from 9 July 2012 to 4 November 2012 (17 weeks).

Nadal, his great rival, started his fourth stint at No. 1 on 21 August 2017 - 26 weeks ago - and has been the sport’s leader for 167 weeks in total. Federer, with a 10-0 record in 2018, will now add to his record of 302 weeks at No.1 when the latest ATP Rankings are published on Monday.

Date: 16 February 2018, Source: ATP