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Record-breaking Federer returns to No. 1

Roger Federer is back at the summit of men’s tennis. At 36, the Swiss is the oldest man to make it since the ATP rankings came into being in 1973. More than 14 years after Federer first reached No. 1, looks at the complete history of all the top-ranked male players in one graphic.  


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Federer first became world number one in 2004, when he beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in the semi-final of the Australian Open before going on to take the title. On that occasion he stayed there for 237 weeks. 

“The goal [this time] was to be world number one for a week, that’s plenty for me,” he said on Friday after beating Robin Haase in Rotterdam, a victory that guaranteed Federer would rise to number one for the fourth time in his career. “If it’s more, great, I’ll take it. If I play well, good things will happen. It’s the ultimate achievement in our sport to get the number one ranking, it just doesn’t come easy.” 

Asked to compare the 22-year-old Federer to the 36-year-old model, he said the older version had the edge. “I hope I would win – the 36-year-old me!” he said. “We hit harder now, you have less time.” 

federer tweet

Tweet by Roger Federer

Federer has thus broken the age records set by Andre Agassi and Serena Williams, who were 33 and 35 respectively when they topped the rankings. Federer was 31 when he vacated the top spot in November 2012 (to Novak Djokovic).  

In addition, Federer will now extend his record for the most total weeks at No. 1 (302 – almost six years!). 

20 years, 20 titles

How Roger Federer became the greatest tennis player of all time – this longform highlights his weapons, his opponents and his records.


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