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Federer To Play Rotterdam, Eyes Top Spot

Roger Federer is returning to Rotterdam—and could regain the world No. 1 ranking with a semifinal run.

The Australian Open champion has accepted a wild card into next week's ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, which begins on Monday. Federer, 36, first rose to No. 1 14 years ago on 2 February 2004 and holds the record for most weeks spent at No. 1 (302). He is attempting to eclipse Andre Agassi (33) as the oldest World No. 1 in ATP history.

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The second-ranked Swiss, who trails world No. 1 Rafael Nadal by 155 points in the rankings, can regain the top spot for the first time in more than five years if he reaches the Rotterdam semifinals.

Federer, who last held the top spot on October 4th 2012, is expected to play his opening-round Rotterdam match on either Tuesday or Wednesday night.

The 36-year-old Swiss won the Rotterdam title in 2005 and 2012.

"The tournament is special for me," Federer said in a statement. "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. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition.”

During his run to the 2005 title, Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka, Nikolay Davydenko, Mario Ancic and his future coach, Ivan Ljubicic, in a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) thriller.

Seven years later, Federer knocked off Davydenko and Juan Martin del Potro in succession to win Rotterdam.

It is quite a coup for tournament director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek to feature Federer in the field on the 45th anniversary of the tournament.

"The last twelve months have shown his tremendous drive," Krajicek said in a statement. "It makes perfect sense that he wants to capitalize on his current form. We are, of course, happy with this opportunity and see it as a crown on our 45th anniversary."

Federer is entered on the basis of the A + wildcard, which each ATP 500 tournament has available for a select group of players, to make a last-minute entry possibly.

The other wildcards were given to Felix Auger-Aliassime, Thiemo de Bakker and Tallon Griekspoor.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve