Roger Federer said Monday he could allow himself to dream about recapturing the world number one spot at this week’s tournament in Rotterdam.
The Swiss maestro will become the oldest man ever to hold the position at the age of 36, but he would have to at least reach the semi-finals of the event.
If seedings hold up, Federer would have to defeat compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka in what would be a blockbuster quarter-final.
And the 20-time major winner says he’s already salivating at the prospect.
“I would love to be in that position with anyone, but with Stan it would be like a Grand Slam final, a big-time match,” said Federer, who downed Marin Cilic in the final of last month’s Australian Open for his sixth title.
“I’m hoping to get to number one and hoping to do it this week. You always want to do it the tough way, it’s not easy to get there.
“The achievement would be quite incredible. It’s exciting to see Stan in my section and it’s great to have him back (after knee surgery in July).”
Federer, who won at Rotterdam in 2005 and 2012, said he made a relatively late decision to play at the event
“I didn’t think of the rankings at all in Melbourne. Afterwards, I thought I could always play Rotterdam, I’d love to play, give it a go and see what happens.
“I’m happy I’m here, healthy and eager to play,” he added.
Federer starts his bid on Wednesday against Belgian Ruben Bemelmans, but he hinted at a light hardcocurt schedule so as to stay fit for clay.
“The clay season is up in the air. If I’m playing a lot during this part of the season, it would be hard to play a robust clay season.
“It would be light (schedule) if I do play. We’ll see how it goes, I’m healthy and glad to be playing. I should be playing when I feel that way and not play when I don’t feel at 100 percent or don’t feel ready to do it.
“That’s the secret for me moving forward.”