Roger Federer took the first step in his journey to becoming the oldest world number one with a straight-sets victory over Ruben Bemelmans on Wednesday night (14 February). He will now face Philip Kohlschreiber in the second round of the Rotterdam Open.
The Swiss ace can take over Andre Agassi's record – the American was 33-years-old when he became the world number one in 2003. Federer needs to make the semi-finals at the ongoing Rotterdam Open to topple Rafael Nadal from the top of the world rankings.
The 36-year-old made light work of Bemelmans in the first round cruising to 6-1, 6-2 win in under an hour and will go into the match against Kohlschreiber as the overwhelming favourite. The 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion is just two wins away from creating history.
Federer, however, is not counting his chickens before they hatch and admitted after his win over the left-handed Belgian that he will have to make a slight change in his game as he will be facing a right-handed player in Kohlschreiber.
Despite the slight change, the Swiss tennis legend is in a confident mood after revealing that he enjoys playing against the German. The duo's most recent encounter was in the fourth round of the 2017 US Open when Federer won in straight sets, with Kohlschreiber trailing the current world number two 12-0 in their head-to-head meetings.
"It's a different match, changing from lefty to righty," Federer said after his first-round win, as quoted by the Express. "I just hope I can play a good match. It is a sprint to the finish."
"The beginning will be crucial tomorrow, you don't want to fall behind, you want to stay focused all the way. Any lapses could mean that you get in trouble.
"But, I enjoy playing against Philipp (Kohlschreiber), I played really good against him at the US Open so I hope I can keep that up tomorrow night," the Swiss ace added.
If Federer overcomes Kohlschreiber on Thursday (15 February) he will face the winners of the clash between Robin Haase and Stan Wawrinka conqueror Tallon Griekspoor.