ABN AMRO World Tennis TournamentATP Masters 500Roger Federer

Federer Takes Wildcard into Rotterdam

Some surprising news here as Roger has just announced he will be taking a wildcard into next weeks Rotterdam Open.

Most of us were assuming Indian Wells was his next tournament after his schedule was recently updated with no mention of Dubai after his contract there ran out. However, another update has just gone live on his official website to announce his participation at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament event stating:

Roger has decided to participate in the 45th Rotterdam Tournament which begins February 12th. This will be Roger's 9th appearance and he won the tournament in 2005 and 2012.

Federer followed up with:

The tournament is special for me. I remember playing for the first time in 1999 as it was one of the first events where I got the chance to play at the highest level. It feels good to join in the celebrations of the 45th edition.

So not something I really expected given Rotterdam's proximity to the Australian Open but Fed is obviously feeling in good shape and fancies his chances here to bag some ranking points.

What do you guys think? Good idea? I have fond memories of 2012 with that super backhand pass vs Davydenko in the second set which basically kick-started his season and I've watched there live too so I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also reliably informed by the tournament director that all his matches will be played indoors as well which is great news 🙂  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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99 Comments

  1. Just looked at the field and it doesn’t look all that easy.
    Did anyone see this coming? Not me.
    Rotterdam director must be ecstatic.

  2. So does this mean he is not playing Dubai? Or can he still play Dubai? From #1 ranking point of view, Rotterdam can give him the ranking and Dubai points could be coushion, should be not repeat the sunshine double. If Fed is #1 be the end of Miami, there is good chance he will still be #1 come Wimbledon. I highly doubt Dull can repeat last year’s clay results.

    Fed should defo skip clay this year as well.

    1. The Federer camp is staring at that calender to make the first half of the season as effective as possible. Wow I didnt see that coming, but the decision could lead to the fact that while its clearly for the no1 ranking is there something else in it too?
      Yep. Winnning major tournaments.

      Federer and Co must have known that while going out early in Dubai last year gave them ample time for Indian wells and Miami , If Federer wins Dubai this year (meaning a deep run) It would be difficult to repeat that feat this year. Instead he goes for an equivalent (atp500) tournament but a win here would still give him almost 3 weeks before Indian wells and Miami. I see him skiiping clay entirely, so playing 3 tournaments in 7 weeks shouldnt be a problem. Hoping he wins atleast one of the two masters 1000 in March.
      Also making sure that Federer is fresh and raring to go for the American swing in march would put pressure on Rafa to sweep the Clay season in order to stay at the top.

      Ps I think there is a good chance Federer gets to that milestone of 100 titles this year. That ed be cool.

    2. Could still do Dubai yeah but seems very unlikely. No contract. I’m assuming Rotterdam made a good offer here – he prob get Kyrgios appearance fee which I assume he relinquishes and then a few more briefcases of cash.

      1. Is it worth it? I prayed he wouldn’t bother to chase the number one spot in the rankings and focus on health and managing his schedule. Why break a winning formula from last year? I really don’t think returning to the number one sport will do much to enhance an already gr8at legacy. I hope this venture does not impact adversely on 20ger for 2018. I love the guy, admire him and am in awe of him. But I am just a tiny bit disappointed it feels like Montreal all over again.

  3. well a guy on twitter basically said it was a SABR for the no 1 ranking. what i read is that if he gets to the semis he will get no 1. rafa has 300 pts to defend as a finalist in acapulco. if RF wins then he would continue as no 1 as there are basically no pts to defend at dubai.
    i like the SABR remark although that is conjecture by a lot of people. i don’t like to put thoughts in roger’s head or words in his mouth but it is kind of cool.

  4. Real surprise there. I did not expect him to play for another month. Unlike him chasing ranking points to get to #1.
    Now that he is playing, I hope he wins. Not a walk-thru like Acapulco with Stan, Grigor, Sasha and Tsonga in Rotterdam as well.

  5. Wow, he heard Sid!
    So long as he’s healthy, why not throwing a SABR to get the No.1. I trust his and his team’s judgment.
    Get the tickets, Katyani!

  6. This suggests to me he 100% will not be playing any of the clay season. He can afford a few extra matches earlier in the season if he knows he is going to get 2 1/2 months off from April. Still a major surprise.

  7. Yeah, looks like he’s going for #1. Good call, in my opinion. If he loses early he can play Dubai maybe and if he goes deep he gets #1 anyway.

  8. WOW Jonathan, I’m impressed, this news has just come out. I think it’s a good idea. It’s possible he’s thinking of the #1 thing, but I think it’s just as likely he’s wanting to make up in some way for 2016 (?) when he was supposed to play and the tournament had done all that publicity.

    From a scheduling perspective, I think he’s trying to figure out how to not play Miami. Although – is it this year that’s the last year on Key Biscayne? He might not want to miss that after all. Of course Rotterdam’s points wouldn’t make up for Miami even if he were to win it, but it would make for less of a gap, perhaps. Also it’s closer to home in Switzerland, and avoids another time adjustment compared to Dubai. (He’ll troll us all and announce for Dubai after this….)

    It’s a really strong field, seems like. Wanda, like you, my very first reaction was, Katyani! Go check out tickets now! 🙂

  9. love it, it’s so much better when Fed plays. There has been so much written about his age and resting the
    body that this stirs things up nicely x

  10. Sid, you are the second smartest one on this blog! I suppose it makes sense considering it’s down the road from Switzerland. Katyani, rob a bank and get tickets! You have to go!
    Surprised, but what a great move for the drama of tennis! I wonder how the decision was made, Roger bored at home?

  11. I really did not see this coming. I was under assumption that he will not play Dubai even. So it’s a surprise. But honestly I don’t like this decision of him considering what happened in Dubai last year post AO victory. At this age he should not risk his schedule to please Richard Kraijeck. Feeling fresh is the way to go and Indian Wells, Miami combo should be ideal juncture to take break before clay season.

    1. I wonder how much £££ plays a part. He obviously has enough to not really care, but an extra £1 mill or whatever and a chance to grab number one makes it sound more appealing 😀 I wonder if Fed will fight Floyd Mayweather when he retires? haha

      1. Either they “play” on business platform or Floyd makes another one-way-comeback for Fed. But they are not the same weight category 😉 And Floyd’s straight left could be faster than Fed’s backhand 🙁 Of course it’s all about the surface. If they fight on grass, Floyd bounces first 😉

      2. Hi Jonathan, how about something more simple.
        Fed fancied a few games of tennis (because he is feeling fit) but couldn’t be bothered travelling all the way to Dubai and anyway it’s hot there so someone said “Hey, Rotterdam is just down the road, you could get a bus and maybe if you get to the semis you could become number one!”.
        End of.

      3. Ha ha. Sounds interesting. But atleast I am used to his limited schedule. So it’s kind out of nowhere. If he prefer more Indoors he can go to Paris Bercy and win another title which requires sacrifice for Basel. He need to consider the frustration from Paris as well as last time he skipped both RG and Bercy Masters.

      4. Richard Krajichek said he aleady got a mail from Godsick the monday after AO that Roger liked to play In Rotterdam. The business side (€€€) was ready in a few days, but roger wanted to train 3 days before he wanted te decide to play definitely. After 3 days Richard mailed Godsick How the training went and after 3 quarter of an hour he got the oké from Roger. The Federer effect is already showing. The tickets are selling like crazy, especially the finale tickets.

  12. Last year Federer had several really grueling 5 set matches to win the Aus Open and he went into Dubai probably still with his head and body reeling from the emotions and supreme physical effort to win. This year he had much “easier” matches so his body and mind are in a better place this year. And there is enough time between Rotterdam and IW for Fed to recover from any ill effects, even if he does go all the way. Fed might get a bye in the first round so would only have to win 4 matches I believe.

    Jonathan, you are kidding about the indoor matches for Fed right? The whole tournament is indoors!

    1. No byes in ATP 500’s.

      And no way, it’s rigged. The roof is optional and the tournament director has sabotaged the machinery that opens it, citing ‘ongoing repairs’ as the reason it won’t be open. Sad!

  13. Mix feelings for me – prefer he rest and prepare for 2 masters event + 1 exho than gunning for no1 ranking. Happy coz i get to watch him on court next week. Rogaa…please dont get to suck into race for no1, tons of points to defend come grass court swing. I want Katyani’s dream of 25 GS to come true. It has not becoming my wish/dream too 🙂

  14. It seems like a pretty shrewd move.Kygios is out,Dimitrov having problems with his serve,Zrever does not seem in form.Tsonga can be dangerous and Goffin too,but I don’t think either will beat a fit and motivated Fed.And it puts all the pressure on Nadal,who has some tough competition in Acapulco.Dubai always seemed dubious with the Bill Gates exhibition so soon after.So good.?

    1. Zverev had some good wins at Davis Cup though and it’s a bit too early in the season to judge who is going to play well I think. I watched Goffin yesterday against Simon, neither of them could hold serve, so I’d be more worried about Dimi and Sascha than him at present. Hopefully court is quick 😀

      1. I thought I read somewhere that Dimi was nursing an injury of some kind.Perhaps I’m wrong but his serve against Edmund was awful.Until Sacha improves at the net I can’t see him beating Fed but three setters can be over so quickly who knows.As for Goffin I
        still cannot get my head round him beating Fed at the WTF,especially as Fed destroyed
        him in Basle a couple of weeks earlier.I think I read somewhere that Rotterdam court is
        slow,but that closed roof will help?I think Fed only has to win 3 matches to become Number one so who he plays in the quarters is all important.Actually I had forgotten Berdy,he’s in it I think.I wonder when the draw is.How exciting this is.

      2. @PRF – I know, you probably got that from my post in 2012 😆 but that’s an ITF classification at the time of testing. Not the surface used at the actual tournament they can alter the composition easily… so it could becomes Cat 4 or Cat 2 at the drop of a hat.

        @Annie I saw that too, shoulder maybe. Watching Goffin against Simon I thought the exact same. But fair play he played well and is good enough to take advantage when Fed isn’t at his best. Quick around the court so will make you pay. I think Fed wins the rematch.

  15. Fanatic Federer fan. We go every year to Rotterdam for the quarter finals. But last year my bank (ABNAMRO) had an irritating commercial, where a man had a ticket for a VIP chair, while he did not even know who was playing. I got angry and told the bank that all the best places in the stadium had been given to such idiots already a year before. I told the bank I would love them again if they gave me 2 tickets for the final in Rotterdam for 2018. And they did! We shall sit in VIP chairs and weep for joy, win or lose!
    Lyons.

    1. That’s cool! Smart thinking and good of ABN AMRO to do it as well. Usually, they only do stuff like this if you’ve got a squeaky clean Instagram or Twitter profile to share the ‘news’ with. But nice to see them actually respond in private to a customer with an offer.

    2. Hope you get to see Roger in the final! Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
      IW has turned into a corporate tournament with ticket brokers buying up the good seats.

    3. Wow I didn’t know you could get tickets like this. I told ANZ one year that it’s terrible to have Djoker as their ambassador and they dropped him! Should have asked for tickets while on the phone!

  16. FAKE NEWS???
    No word about Rotterdam in BLICK – of course they follow Federer and have for sure some information channels others than we have.
    On Roger’s website the news is there but in the TOUR TRACER still only Match for Africa and IW.
    Maybe not yet definitely decided?
    For me this decision is strange. Only to eventually ensure no.1 for a while? What if Rafa takes a wild card to another tournament too?
    And the field in Rotterdam is strong. Well, in ATP 500 tournaments there are no BYES (if I’m not wrong), so must win at least 3 matches to reach the goal.
    If fit and fresh enough (right. AO was this year not that much work as 2017), Fed can make it of course, including winning the tournament. Bet in fact opponents can be stronger than in AO from first round. Almost everyone there can make Fed work.
    Or it’s heavy appearance fee and maybe “Farewell Rotterdam”?

    1. I’m not quite clear, but someone suggested that a contributing cause might be that he had to skip it, after promising to partake (he would have liked to come), I think in 2016. And then of course he feels fit too this year.

      1. It is not Fake news: yesterday Richard Krajicek was on television telling us how it came about. He made the deal with Rogers manager.

    2. Yeah if it’s not on Blick then it can’t be considered true, that’s the rule I live by.

      Afterall it could have been a rogue employee that put his picture on the ABN Amro Tennis Tournament website, tweeted about it and then somehow published it on Federer’s official website. We just don’t know do we. Ideally he should have announced it via video (with a 360-degree view so we can be almost sure he’s not having to film against his will) but alas all we have is rumours.

  17. I’m not really that concerned about the rankings as Fed has zero theorems to prove. It’s a secondary matter as I prefer to enjoy the opportunity to watch more Fed matches, regardless of the rest. And good ones, preferably. If a basket of ATP points comes with it, the better.

    1. Ye rankings schmankings. I’m not too fussed about them either. But would provide plenty headlines. Tweets being prepped as we speak from journos and fangirls alike.

  18. @Like Lyons,
    Still strange, why there is no word in BLICK so far. Cannot imagine them not to know such a news or the cause to not publish the news.
    While I don’t suggest it to be something like this, it’s not rare, that big names enter the field in lower ranked tournaments to help to promote them and then withdraw for some reason.
    TBH I don’t sea any hard reason for Fed to play Rotterdam. But of course wish Dutch fans to be true and Fed to have a deep run.

  19. If Fed feels fit enough to fight as he is in full flow (please appreciate the f alliteration  :-)) in Roger-dam, it sounds like a good decision.
    He will :
    – play … and he loves it (not far from home)
    – play against top players ahead of Indian Wells and Miami as he couldn’t play against many of them in Melbourne
    – gather ATP points
    – put pressure on Rafa for the number 1 seat
    –  have 2/3 more weeks then ahead of IW  to rest and train
    – make Dutch fans happy

    … and be able to offer tons of  tulips to Mirka for Valentine Day 🙂

    Go Roger !

    1. Of course, there are far more important pieces of news on that page than Roger playing Rotterdam. I mean, Sascha kissing a ballgirl?! And what about that Patricia Blanco story? 😮

  20. Well, Roger is just full of surprises, and I LOVE it! Apparently, the Monday after the AO final,Godsick already told Krajicek that Roger is interested in playing Rotterdam. This tells me two things:
    – Roger feels good physically
    – Roger wants to get back to #1
    I am curious what he’ll say to the media when he arrives at Rotterdam – will he openly admit that he is playing for #1? It will be all about how far Roger can go next week. I hope this doesn’t create too much pressure and that Roger can play with a relaxed mindset.
    So lucky to be his fan, to follow his amazing journey …

    1. At least two things are certain:
      -Fed should be in better physical condition than last year. Not a single 4 or 5 set match until the final (and even this one was not too stressful) and an easy workout plus a redraw threw in at the semi-final for a good rest. It could hardly have gone any better.
      -No stumbles in the bathroom (so far…)

  21. Yes it is an amazing journey.We Fed fans have had to be pretty stoical over the years,so many disappointments but he was always close and if he could keep going,well so can we?

  22. I think sarcasm is completely passing someone by!
    Regarding Goffin,I remember watching Fed play him somewhere,may have been the Australian Open,when Fed had
    quite a tussle with him,he won the first set I think.I remember the look of relief on Mirkas face when Fed finally won.
    So I think they are well aware what a threat he can be.A very fine player and seems a thoroughly nice man.However I
    agree with you that Fed will not let him win the rematch if it happens,especially if number one is on the line.

  23. I think most of you are a bit off the mark in your analyses. Fed choosing to play Rotterdam rather than Dubai is a smart move, actually indicating we might get to see him on clay this year. He is fresh now and will get extra rest before IW. That means he will be fresher after Miami. My prediction: he will take April off, but play Rome and RG.

    1. [actually indicating we might get to see him on clay this year]

      Yes. I had a sneaky feeling he would do that. I think he will play 2 out of 3, from Dubai, IW, and Miami. Then do at least one clay 1000 and RG. Doing that can put him a 1000 points over where he was last year before Wimbledon, and would help him keep No.1 until mid-July, at least. He gets a cushion for what Nadal will gain at Wimbledon (he can gain a lot), provided Nadal nearly sweeps clay again.

    2. I agree, except that I think it may mean clay REPLACES Miami. So even if he is able to regain #1 next week, he might lose it again after Miami (depending obviously on what happens with the other top player), then possibly recapture it depending on events further down the line.

      I agree with Rome & RG – I have seen others say Madrid, & it’s true it suits him better, but it also doesn’t play like RG – Rome is the one that’s supposed to play most like the Paris Slam. Madrid & Rome are in back to back weeks so I wouldn’t normally expect him to do both. If he drops Miami, he might be able to add a back to back set to replace IW/Miami (they are larger/longer tournaments, so it’s not an exact analogy) – but there’s only one week after Rome before RG, and then the grass season starts immediately, where he has obligations at both Stuttgart and Halle. I just don’t see him adding in two weeks in a row when the next 6 weeks would be jam-packed.

      1. I would also prefer Roger to skip Miami to get more time for rest and preparation for clay season. But James Blake is the new tournament director at Miami. Roger may feel obliged to play there this year just to show support for his friend.

      2. Monte Carlo + Rome before Paris is IMHO better mix for Fed. Monte Carlo is fast for clay,so it would be a kind of switching smoothly from last hard (IW) over fast MC and then Rome, the closest clay to Paris. IW > MC > Rome > Paris.
        No need to go badly for a win in MC and Rome on cost of too much fatigue, but but to prepare optimal for Paris.
        The real goal for no. 1 is not to be it for some weeks but to finish the season at this rank.

      3. Ah, Minn, good catch on the James Blake thing. It won’t be as strong as Haas at IW, ofcourse, but could be a consideration.

    3. That’s what I was predicting since November, as Fed asked Thiem to have common season’s preparation. For what the hell would Roger need Thiem not for hitting some sets but have 2-3 weeks day-by-day preparation with the guy, who’s trails only Rafa on clay? This plan didn’t work because Bresnik is smart enough to not get Fed used too well with Thiem’s game on clay, because maybe Thiem, not Rafa, would be this year Fed’s biggest contender in Paris.
      My guess: Fed plays Rotterdam, skips Dubai, plays IW, skips Miami, plays one or two Masters on clay (most probably Monte Carlo and Rome) and then go for RG crown.
      He skips Miami because Miami is not his best tournament and chances to win it not that great. At the same time, everything he can win on clay is a pure advantage. Rafa must defend everything on clay (and will maybe have problem with Thiem). Fed can only collect points. Even semi in Paris and in 2 clay Masters brings a lot more points than Miami crown. Fed can have problems on clay with Thiem just as he can with Rafa. But more probable Thiem to be at his best on clay this year than Rafa. This way Thiem can “play for Fed” in every tournament on clay, where Roger does not play and in those, which Roger will eventually play, also, until Thiem meets Federer before Rafa 😉

  24. Good move, and he wont do Dubai as too close to M4Africa. Dubai is over for now.
    He was due to play Rotterdam in 2016 and clearly felt fine after AO to immediately remake plans, and RK clearly ready with the ???.
    Nick is already out and I see a couple more withdrawals coming. Run to SF cld depend on draw and That court plays slow so…
    But it’s not a given that Nadal wins Acapulco either, so no 1 cld happen.
    Moving on, Fed Will def do IW and then Miami is a free choice.
    Like Sid I think he may do 1 clay Masters and then RG, but no way will he jeopardise Wimby if there is the slightest fitness doubt.

    So, Roll on no 1. Keep vulturing Rog, I’m here for it! ?

  25. I didn’t see it coming, but if you think about it, it’d totally make sense for Roger.
    1. Playing Rotterdam gives him option to gain extra points, and if he wins (or reach SF), he’d be the oldest #1 (which obviously very important to him) without won’t have to play Dubai. It may put more pressure to Rafa at Acapulco. I won’t even be surprised if Rafa decide to withdraw (as he’s been withdrew or retired from almost all tournaments since he lost to Roger in Shanghai.)
    2. I really don’t think he’d play Dubai, especially because it’s frigging 16 hours from to San Francisco (I’ve taken that flight. It’s goes over north pole and just brutal) where he’d have to pay in Match For Africa pretty much immediately after arrival on Monday. Even though Dubai is 12 hours ahead of SF, it’s still extremely tight, and that would leave him very tired, affecting his chance at Indian Wells and Miami. He has a lot of points to defend there, so he’d rather get in early in California, fly to San Jose for a night, and keep practicing and get used to the condition. Of course, he has an option to play one match and lose, but I don’t think it’s really worth it.
    3. Of course, Rotterdam is much more stacked than Dubai, but Roger is a big picture guy. So I’m sure he’s learning from the mistake last year in Montreal, and what he and Rafa has to defend respectively before the grass season starts (Roger has 2045 its, Rafa is like 5670 or something. Practically impossible especially if you are not 100% healthy. And now Rafa hates playing Roger! Maybe even on clay!)
    4. Like Sid said, I won’t be surprised if Fed plays 1 or 2 clay court events… at the last minute if he feels great and a bit bored chasing kids, just to earn extra points to have more cushions for his throne, and possibly YE No 1 once again.

    Hey this guy got 2 sets of girls and boys twins, back to back. There’s nothing he cannot do. : )

    In any case, best of luck in Rotterdam, and see you in San Jose, Roger! I’m so excited!

  26. Whaaaaaaaaaaa????

    Didn’t see that coming, although the timing makes sense. And he was already back in Switzerland rather than Dubai, which would make all the journeys easier. Plus possible compensation for having had to drop R’dam in 2016?

  27. This blog piece by Italian player Thomas Fabbiano, titled “Roger and Me”, is wonderful and insightful. Thomas was Roger’s training partner for four days in Dubai in Dec 2017. Then in Melbourne, he also practised once with Roger on RLA before the tournament started. On that day, he was so impressed by Roger’s level that he knew Roger would win his 20th slam – “Roger Federer was a living playstation that day”. The piece is in Italian, but Goggle translate does a pretty good job.

    http://thomasfabbiano.it/roger-and-me/

  28. Essentially Fed wants to get the oldest World No 1 monkey off his back. If he cant do it at Rotterdam then surely at Dubai as he will narrow the gap even further with Rafa after playing Rotterdam.

    Of course, if he gets to No 1 in Rotterdam, he will not play Dubai which will be a disappointment for me.

    1. Unlike other Fed fans, I do believe Roger will play Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami before European clay season. I guess Roger just wants to put the oldest World No.1, which is definitely a huge honor, under his name and then get rid of this entire world no.1 thing from his head. Then he is totally free! Later on, he can focus on Grand Slam Events only without distraction of no.1 thing. From this perspective, I think he will skip the entire clay season like what he did last year to make sure he is fresh before Wimbledon. If he can defend his Wimbledon title this year, he can cement his GOAT status and Rafa can by no means catch his Grand Slam record.

      1. Cannot believe, Roger playing Rotterdam (why not Sofia and some Challengers?) only to become the oldest something. He’s turns the “oldest something” every week, even not playing. Nono, Fed’s ambition about ranking (if he is honest) is secondary and would be a “tears event” only if he end the season as no.1.
        He’s a big man for big goals, don’t you think? The biggest (but not unrealistic) challenge for him this year would be not to earn another Wimby title – maybe with no opposition like this year’s AO but just to win 1 or more big titles on clay. AO+Paris would be more than AO+Wimbledon, so he could even allow the risk of being too fatigued for Wimbledon if he wins FO.
        As crazy as this sounds, it would make sense (if winning Paris) to skip Wimbledon and go full power for US (his second worst slam). AO+FO+USO not worth to even skip grass?

    2. I don’t know about other people but my thinking is something like: he didn’t play clay at all last year, and I expect he missed it (remember the “beloved clay” red sock tweet). If he’s to play clay, he won’t want to come into RG without a warmup. That all uses up enough time that something’s got to give, and it won’t be the grass season. He knows that at this stage he needs long-ish stretches of recuperation in between active playing weeks. He knows he needs to moderate the amount of energy he uses up on clay so as to have enough left for grass, because the way the schedule is set up, there’s no gradual transition to the grass season, it’s immediate. That means if he wants to play clay, he has to come in to it totally fresh – and Miami is too close. If he drops Miami, he can start his recuperation process immediately after IW, and be completely fresh for clay. Can he then maintain enough of that freshness to last through Wimbledon? I don’t know, but if this is the scenario that plays out, I guess we’ll find out.

  29. On the website it announces Friday 9 as the day for the draw, they did not give a time. Shouldn’t be long now!

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