Roger Federer was given a trip down memory lane reminding him of his longevity in the game after he became the oldest world number one in ATP history when the rankings were revised on Monday, 19 February.
He achieved this feat following his quarter-final win over Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open on Friday, 16 February, and he crowned it by winning the title two days later.
The Swiss maestro is returning to the summit for the first time since November 2012 and the achievement is a culmination of an incredible 13 months which has seen him win nine titles, including three Grand Slams – two Australian Open titles and one Wimbledon Championship.
Federer has been on the pro circuit for two decades, having played his first tour-level match at the Rado Open in Gstaad in 1998, where he lost in the first round to Argentinian Lucas Arnold Kerr. The 20-time Grand Slam winner's first singles title came at the 2001 Milan Indoor tournament when he defeated Frenchman Julien Boutter.
The Swiss ace then won his first Masters Series title at the Hamburg Masters in 2002, which led to his first foray into the top 10 in the ATP rankings. It was in 2003 that he won his first Grand Slam title at the Wimbledon Championships after beating American Andy Roddick in the semi-finals and Australian Mark Philippoussis in the final.
It was in February 2004 when Federer first reached the summit of the ATP rankings, and he has been playing at the top level ever since. The 36-year-old currently holds the record for most number of weeks as the world number one – 303 – as well as the most number of consecutive weeks as the top-ranked player – 237.
Federer was given a trip down memory lane after his latest achievement during a press conference at the Rotterdam Open. He was reminded that since he first became the world number one in 2004, all the others in the top 10 from that year had hung up their rackets.
"It tells me that I am old, very old," Federer quipped with a smile on his face, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
"I saw a list of the top 50 and there is only like four guys of us still playing. And three of them being Spaniards, that is interesting. It just happens to be this way. What do you want me to tell you? [Laughter] I wish they would still be playing.
"Many of them were friends of mine. And there were guys I looked up to and admired. I miss the guys that I came through with at the time then," the Swiss legend added.