Andy Murray's former coach, Mark Petchey, has congratulated Roger Federer for his achievement and believes that it is his uniqueness that makes him one of the greatest players to ever rule the court. He talks about how Federer has beaten all odds at the age of 36 despite people writing off his chances to make the top of the ATP rankings.
The Swiss ace came from being a set down to beat Robin Haase in the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam Open 4-6 6-1 6-1 on Friday (16 February). The win led him to the top of the ATP rankings, eclipsing Andre Agassi to become the oldest player in the history of the sport to achieve this feat.
Federer's record of 302 weeks at the top is followed by Pete Sampras with 286 weeks, Ivan Lendl with 270, Jimmy Connors with 268, Novak Djokovic with 223, John McEnroe with 170 and Rafael Nadal with 167.
Nadal will have the opportunity to take back pole position when he stars in the Mexico Open starting on 26 February.
This will be Federer's fourth stint at the top of the rankings, creating a record for the longest gap between successive stints at number one. The opportunity came about as he managed to lift his 20th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, winning his sixth Australian Open by defeating Marin Cilic in the finals.
Both Federer and Nadal have turned back time to rule the courts since the turn of 2017, sharing five Grand Slams between them since, with Federer winning two Australian Opens and Wimbledon, and Nadal keeping pace by taking the French Open and US Open. Petchey believes that Federer's rise to the top again is unique and that's what sets him apart from the rest.
"We've savoured his triumphs, we've analysed his defeats, the injuries," Petchey said, as quoted by the Express. "We've read his various sporting obituaries over the years. Yet he has come back to defy what was believed to be impossible. His greatness is simply in his uniqueness. This is a unique triumph tonight."