Roger Federer will begin his quest to return to world No. 1 for the first time since November 2012 against a qualifier, while he could face compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.
The Swiss needs to reach the last four in order to replace Rafael Nadal as the world’s best player. Should he achieve that, he will overtake Andre Agassi (33) as the oldest man to hold the top ranking spot.
Federer will kick-start his Rotterdam run on Wednesday evening, with Philipp Kohlschreiber or Karen Khachanov awaiting the winner of that match.
Federer route to world No. 1
QF: Haase/De akker/Griekspoor/Wawrinka
Should the 36-year-old come through those contests, he may well face off against Wawrinka for the world No. 1 spot.
Wawrinka’s fitness has been a concern, though, as he continues to return to top condition after a six-month absence due to a knee injury, and he will have to negotiate his way beyond two home favourites in order to potentially meet Federer – opening against Tallon Griekspoor before facing either Thiemo de Bakker or Robin Haase.
Notable other first-round ties
Kohlschreiber v Khachanov
A. Zverev v Ferrer
Wawrinka v Griekspoor
Berdych v M. Zverev
Paire v Goffin
Pouille v Rublev
Auger-Alisssime v Krajinovic
Sugita v Dimitrov
Though the world No. 1 ranking is no doubt Federer’s focus, he will also be keen to add a second ATP title to his collection in 2018 and should he progress to the semi-finals, he may meet young German Alexander Zverev.
The 20-year-old will begin against Spanish veteran David Ferrer, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet among the other threats in Federer’s half.
On the other side of the draw, second seed Grigor Dimitrov takes on Yuichi Sugita, while Lucas Pouille’s faces Next Gen star Andrey Rublev.
Exciting Canadian prospect Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on 2017 Paris Masters runner-up Filip Krajinovic in round one, with a mouthwatering clash with Dimitrov on the cards in the second round.