• Roger Federer is taking the absence of Rafael Nadal until the end of February as his opportunity to reclaim the world number one ranking.

    He recently surprised some by deciding to play in an ATP tournament in Rotterdam by accepting a late wildcard invitation.

    If Federer can make it to the semifinals, he will move from number two to number one.

    The Swiss wonder last held the number one spot in 2012. Many professional tennis careers have been shorter than the six years since Federer held the top ranking. He will be the oldest man ever to sit atop the rankings, about three years older than was Andre Agassi when he made it to the pinnacle in 1995.

    The Rotterdam Open, as the event is known, was won by Federer in 2005 and 2012.

    It will be walk in the park. Federer will be joined by top five stars Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev. Stan Wawrinka will also be in attendance, hopefully at a level of fitness that will see him back to his old tricks.

    Quoted on the official website of the Rotterdam Open, Federer said, “The tournament is special for me. 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.”

    Tournament officials were pleased as could be expected, including tournament director Richard Krajicek, who said, “After his fantastic result at the Australian Open, it is tremendous news that he will be joining us in Rotterdam.It is a crown to the celebration of the history of our tournament.The last 12 months have shown his tremendous drive. It makes perfect sense that he wants to capitalise on his current form.”

    Nadal is back training once again, after an injury forced him out of the Australian Open. He plans to participate in the tournament in Acapulco, Mexico that kicks off in late February, so if Federer does poach Nadal’s top spot, it may be short-lived.