Roger Federer has revealed that he had to manage plenty of nerves between the first match and getting to the world number one spot after his win in the quarter-finals of the recently concluded Rotterdam Open, which he won beating Grigor Dimitrov in the final.
The Swiss maestro's most comfortable matches in the tournament were his first round win over Ruben Bemelmans, which he won 6-1, 6-2, and the final against the Bulgarian, which he won 6-2, 6-2. He dropped just one set throughout the tournament and it was in the quarter-final against Robin Haase.
Federer was crowned the oldest world number one in tennis following his win over the Dutchman after which he went on to clinch his ninth title in just over 12 months. The 36-year-old was delighted to return to the top of the men's singles ranking – it was the first time since November 2012 that he was reaching the summit.
Dimitrov was in great form having come into the final without dropping a single set and he was expected to push Federer in the final. But he succumbed tamely to the Swiss star and it was later revealed that he was struggling with a bout of illness.
"It's very special," Federer said after his win against Dimitrov on Sunday (18 February), as quoted by Tennis World USA. "I was expecting it to be tough today."
"Grigor is a great player and a great athlete and he's been playing super well in recent months. I thought that this wasn't going to be the result, but he looked to be struggling a bit and I never looked back. I was able to execute my tennis the way I wanted to.
"I played a great first match and a great last match. In between it was a battle and nerve-wracking, getting back to World No 1 and managing my expectations and my nerves as well. I was able to handle the pressure and today I played great from the beginning," he explained.
The 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion was also grateful to the crowd at Rotterdam, who broke the record for attendance for the final. Federer thanked the attendees for the support via his official Twitter account following his win: "Thank you Rotterdam! You broke the record for attendance. 120k people! It was an amazing atmosphere."
"I pushed forward and I'm very proud that I could win here in Rotterdam. I can't play much worse than this. I have a lot of passion for the game. Playing in front of full stadiums is fun, I tell you that," Federer added.