As the ATP 500 tournament of Rotterdam kicks off next week (12-18 February) all eyes will be on 1st seed and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer to see whether he can fulfill his quest to become the oldest male tennis player to reach the summit of the rankings in the Open Era. Talk to Federer’s fans and you will notice lifting the trophy is a secondary goal, albeit him lifting the trophy means he has gotten that no.1 spot back as he only needs to reach the semis.
If you can’t wait to see the draw here it is so you can have a look at it yourself.
The Swiss Ace had surprised the entire tennis world by selecting the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament of Rotterdam to launch a premature attack on the top of the rankings. Only Richard Krajicek, the tournament director of the Rotterdam tournament, knew of Federer’s arrival.
So let’s cut to the chase. It’s a matter of perspective, but it looks like Federer has been dealt a favorable draw. He meets a qualifier in the first round. In the second he’s likely to face world no.35 Philipp Kohlschreiber but the German’s opponent, Russian world no. 49 Karen Khachanov, has beaten Kohlschreiber in their previous and sole encounter on clay in 2016.
In the quarters Federer is likely to face compatriot and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, that is if Stan the Man can shake off either one of the Dutch local heroes Thiemo de Bakker or Robin Haase, who have been pitted against each other in the opening round.
Stan looks to be picking up some good form, showing finesse in his run in the tournament of Sofia in Bulgaria where he has just reached the semifinal stage of the tournament. His knee injury was visibly hampering him at the Australian Open but now he looks like he has regained his footwork that is the foundation behind his powerful strokes.
The tournament headlines no less than four top ten players. In Federer’s half world no.5 Alexander Zverev resides, the second eye-catching big name, who faces a man in the twilight of his career: David Ferrer. Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga opens up his title defense against a yet to be determined qualifier.
In the bottom half we find world no.16 Tomas Berdych the baseliner versus the serve & volley protagonist Mischa Zverev. A lovely clash of styles. World no.7 David Goffin has a final spot to defend from his great run last year and has to find a way to get past the always tricky Frenchman Benoit Paire.
Last, but certainly not least, Grigor Dimitrov’s name pops up at the very bottom. The world no.4 looks to have a straightforward route to the semis and starts his campaign against the Japanese Yuichi Sugita.
In short, while Federer absorbs all the attention once more as he pursues a would be historic run towards another unprecedented feat in the tennis history books, the field is littered with household powerhouses that would just love to stop the FedExpress in his tracks.
Whoever wins the 2018 edition of the Rotterdam tournament most definitely will have earned each and every single one of those 500 points.
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