A late wildcard entrant into this week's ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, the 36-year-old Swiss is bidding to become the oldest man in ATP history to hold the top spot by almost three years (Andre Agassi was 33).
Federer will face a qualifier in round one on Wednesday evening, and he is projected to meet fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.
Roger Federer holds the unique record for being the only man to spend 237 consecutive weeks at World Number 1 and 302 weeks overall.
Since a 2016 season hampered by knee surgery, Federer has been rejuvenated and rediscovered his brilliant best - his decision to skip the Olympic Games and the US Open that year proving a masterstroke as he has won three of the last five grand slam titles, including back-to-back Australian Opens. Two-time former Rotterdam champion Federer is one of seven players in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings competing at the Dutch tournament.
Nadal notably pulled out of the ATP Finals in London in November of past year due to a knee problem. We'll see if it works and makes sense.
Federer, who won the event in 2005 and 2012, told his official website: 'The tournament is special for me. "You always want to do it the tough way, it's not easy to get there". If the 20-time Grand Slam champion accomplishes the feat, he will surpass Andre Agassi (33 years old) as the oldest-ever top-ranked player on the ATP World Tour. The latter, if fully fit, certainly has the potential to ruin Federer's dream of regaining the No. 1 rank. Watch Live On TennisTV Watch Full Match Replays If Federer does get back to No. 1 on 19 February, the gap of five years and 106 days will be the longest between stints at No. 1.
"I hope I take that fear away a little bit, that sometimes it's OK to take time".
"The achievement would be quite incredible", he added.
Federer is only 155 points behind current number one, Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and making it to the semi-finals will gain the tennis champion 180 points.
Of course, nothing suggests Bemelmans is capable of producing the kind of tennis that will trouble a red-hot (and soon-to-be world No. 1?) Federer.
"If I'm still playing, great".
Nadal is defending 300 points as the finalist in Acapulco, while Federer would drop 45 points in not playing Dubai. "I happy I'm here, healthy and eager to play".
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