ABN AMRO World Tennis TournamentATP 500Roger Federer

Rotterdam Draw 2018: Federer Starts Against Qualifier

The ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament has just taken place at the Rotterdam Town Hall and Roger will kick off his campaign on Wednesday at 7.30pm local time against a qualifier. You can see his projected opponents below:

Federer’s Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Qualifier
  • Round 2: Philipp Kohlschreiber / Karen Khachanov
  • Quarter Final: Stan Wawrinka
  • Semi Final: Sascha Zverev
  • Final: Grigor Dimitrov / David Goffin

Full .pdf printable draw

Thoughts on the Draw


So first up is a qualifier and there are some decent players in the mix with the likes of Medvedev, Seppi, Istomin and Sousa all trying to line up a place in the main draw. It’s rare you get an easy start in an ATP 500 tournament with no byes on offer and whoever he faces in the first round will offer up some resistance.

Round two is either going to be The Cabbage Writer or Karen Khachanov. I watched a little bit of Kohli’s match against Mirza Basic at the Sofia Open and the German looks to have absolutely zero form. He’s never been one of the better players on the big points but from what I saw he’s not really doing that well on the ones in between either 😆 and is yet to win a match in 2018 so I’d expect Khachanov to come through. The Russian played three indoor matches in Montpellier taking out Ferrer and Berankis before losing to Goffin so he has to be the favourite to make round 2  Roger has played Khachanov twice now and won their last encounter comfortably at this year’s Hopman Cup although the second set went to the wire. I’d make Fed the big favourite regardless here and if we get a low-ish bouncing court I can’t see Khachanov having the skills to handle what Fed can produce from a waist-high ball.

The Quarters sees the Stan the comeback man as the seeded opponent. The three-time slam champ looked in bad shape over in Melbourne but he’s allayed fears of his knee injury this week in Sofia with decent wins against Klizan and Troicki respectively. I’d imagine facing Fed indoors is a step too far though and he will likely be tired playing back to back events so perhaps Haase can come through that section.

Into the semi-finals and Zverev is a likely opponent. He flopped at the Australian Open but had some morale-boosting wins at last weekend’s Davis Cup and he’s always extra motivated to beat Fed when they meet. The German said he hated the conditions last year in Rotterdam so it will be interesting to see if he handles them better this year if they are similar. Either way, I think he’ll give Fed a good for a run for his money should they meet and based on their H2H it could go either way.

As for the final Dimitrov and Goffin are the top seeds in the other half of the draw. Grigor pulled out of Sofia this week due to a shoulder injury so he is a bit of an unknown, he did, however, make the Quarters in Melbourne without a second serve (yips) so if he sorts that out then he’s going to be a test for anyone. Goffin is currently in the Open Sud de France semi-finals and seems to be playing ok. I watched his match against Simon and it was a complete break fest so I just couldn’t seem him beating Fed twice in a row should they face off in a final but that’s a long way off for both of them.

Expectations for Fed? Semi-Finals for me.  It’s a fairly strong field and like Fed said, how can a 36-year-old be a  pre-tournament favourite at this level, it’s just not cricket 😉

What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. @Jon
    It will be not a bit tougher than AO. The only serious opponents (Zverev, Dimitrov, Goffin) are out of form and may not even come that deep to have chance to meet Roger. Wawrinka the Comeback Man could defeat Klizan only because Klizan has 2 types of days on court. Either he’s on fire and can beat almost anyone or (a lot more often) he drunk too much beer day before and the only thing he need is to end in not more than an hour and go to continue with the beer. This time it was a “beer-day” 😉 Troicki was apparently sorry for Stan and did not let him run, which he is not yet able to. Staying in place Stan can still hit something.
    Goffin not in form. Dimitrov injured and not in form (both since AO).
    Maybe the biggest potential treat is Khachanov and Haase. They can what they can but they always can fight. Still not enough to make Fed problems.
    Fed is not a favorite in Rotterdam. He has the title right now in his bag.

  2. I like this draw,Stan is not at the level he as when he nearly beat Fed at the WTF.We had very good seats there and
    Were very close to Mirka.Couldnt here what she sad but it was a bad tempered match.I think we might have a Fed v
    Goffin rematch for the final,but I don’t want to Jinx anything so I will just say that I haven’t a clue how Fed will do.?

  3. One thing I know for sure, anyone can get hot and beat Roger. We can never assume he will be lifting the trophy. Speaking of hot, check out the photo of him on the side of the building. Shouldn’t he pull his shirt down before the camera rolls?
    I’m surprised Felix got a wildcard. Hope he does well.
    Hey, Olympics start this weekend. Go Canada, eh.

    1. Anyone can beat Fed only because of going hot …. ha, ha, ha
      That’s why he has no slam yet 😉
      I can get hot too, but somehow never qualified so far to beat him in first round, ha, ha, ha …

      1. Post some footage of your game PRF. You keep telling all us weekend hackers that you have a lot of on-court experience and have played many years. We need to see…

    2. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised that Felix got a WC – quite an honour for the youngster. He had a terrible singles match in the Budapest Challenger, but fellow 17-year-old Nicola Kuhn and he won the doubles SF today, so he will be playing the final tomorrow. Hope he will have some time to prepare for Rotterdam.

  4. Do you think the Swiss border control would ever let Stan enter back home again, if he were to defeat Roger in the quarters? ?????1️⃣

    1. Kohl means cabbage, also nonsense (you can talk nonsense in German as Kohl) but it also the black stuff of which they make pencils.

  5. The draw post’s up already? Wow quick! Your blog holiday lived so short hah, Jonathan. Having said that though you’d been dealing with PRF 😆 Anyway you did some excellent homework for the field, thanks.
    Quite a strong lineup but a good draw for him, I think. Hope for some fun matches, like the nice wins against Nikolay Davydenko and Delpo there a few years ago?
    Wonder which outfit he’s going to wear…same as AO?

  6. We are all a bag of nerves here already remembering Dubai last year.
    I can worry about any of these players, and of course each tennis player wants to be able to say he beat Federer.
    As long as he doesn’t have his little mid-match snooze we should be alright?
    Did you read the article where the writer said that the current Federer would beat the younger Federer? What a match that would be.

    1. Still wondering, how Fed can win anything with everyone going hot to beat him 😉 Dubai last year Fed did play for sheikhs but needed to lose early. Not Donskoy was hot but Fed was cold 😉
      I’m sure, current Roger is a lot better as the young one. Being young Roger was a boring baseliner and had not 10% of skills Fed have today. The only advantage young Fed would have, would be higher ability to run. When young, Fed was top in defense, now he is top in attack. So the old (young) Fed would have no chance against current Fed. So that wouldn’t be an epic match. But you may ask programmers to develop a computer game, simulating both Federers 😉 and let them play without your action using joystick or the like 🙂

    2. Current Fed better than prime Fed is just a troll argument as usual ;( nobody who has watched tennis thinks that is true. The guy was incredible in his prime. His serve has improved and his volleys, but overall game? Prime Fed wins.

      Weren’t you leaving the blog as well? 😆 how many times have you said this now? Not very trustworthy. I’d have more faith sending £2,000 to a Nigerian bank account to initiate a transfer of £10 million back to me than believing what you write.

      1. Have I not asked you to delete my user data on your blog? I think you should have been followed my request. Because you didn’t, you have two negative consequences. First – I can still post here, against the will of most or all of your other users. Second – you are ILLEGALLY storing my personal data in your databank.
        Do what I asked for and your beloved users will be thankful to you, at the first place certain TCT 😉
        And don’t tell bad things about Nigerian banks. They are very good in keeping safe your heavy millions of whatever, you inherited from an uncle in Africa, you never knew you have one with you being the only inheritor.
        And if you read sometimes books of Kurt Vonnegut jr., you should know about the best insurance system ever Nigerians have (“Big family”).

      2. Just curious, why do you find me thinking current Fed to be better than 15 years ago a troll-like expression? What has improved or what is totally knew in his today’s game?
        Not only serves and volleys. What about topspin backhand, almost not existing in his prime time? What about SABR? What about fake shots?
        Maybe you think so about young Fed, because you are sentimental about your own young years?
        If you pay me all your money you hold in Nigerian banks to change my mind, I will not 😉

      3. Like physics, your understanding of the law is at best a little loose, to say the least. All we can say is you’re not a man of your word, which is unfortunate 🙁

        A prime Fed beats current Fed, it’s not really open to debate. His movement and his forehand in his prime were out of this world. His slice backhand too, perhaps the most effective shot in the game back then, that short slice then forehand won him a number of slams.

      4. To be honest Jonathan, current Federer is a little better technically than prime Federer. But we can all agree that in a match, prime Federer is overall better and will win.

    3. I thought that would be 50-50 match. Current Fed has got improved serves, volleys and BH. Current Fed attacks more. The prime Fed has definitively got the better defence and movement in addition to brilliant counter-punching (this one sounds odd 🙂 ). The prime Fed often tried to beat guys in their own baseline playing styles. We all know how Rafa, Nole and Andy won their GSs 🙂 . In the end, outcomes depend on surfaces, court speeds, types of balls and play conditions. Current Fed could come on top at AO and Wimbledon, whereas the prime Fed wins FO and USO 🙂 in addition to nicking one AO 🙂 .

  7. I thought that we are going to be on a mini break, here we go again so soon 🙂 . This tournament is full of quality players, no ‘mid-match snooze’ as Sheila put it. I feel that Roger will be ok. I am hoping that no one else gets very hot 🙂 . Indeed, reaching SF is all is needed. Taking the trophy home will be even sweeter.
    Allez Rog!

    1. Haase will be hot and he is an upset player. Haase can beat Federer, if Fed does not take care and command from the start. But he knows this and will take care. All “paper threats” (Zverev, Goffin, Dimitrov) will disappear before a chance to meet Fed.

  8. Seems to me you’ve forgotten Tsonga, who won Rotterdam in 2017 and, iirc, 2 other indoor titles last year. To me, he’s (by far) the biggest obstacle between Roger and the title and I’m glad Fed avoided him in the QF (he’s in Zverev’s QF).

    Otherwise, if Fed is healthy he should be able to navigate through to the semis or better.
    And I like him going to Rotterdam. Dubai didn’t make sense and he must feel fresh enough to do it (I’m confident he’s learned from Montreal last year).

    1. And Berdych in the other half.

      Not a terrible draw. Looks likely then that Roger would have to beat Stan to regain the #1 for two weeks – I hadn’t really registered at first that he only needs to MAKE the semis, not win that match.

      And of course if he can win the whole thing, so much the better. One match at a time.

      Why haven’t we heard from Katyani?

      1. The draw is indeed terrible. Terribly easy 😉 Have to beat Stan, the Standing Man? Stan is not able to run and even not to do small movements well for getting good position for shots. If someone plays him ideally to the racket and he must work only with the arm, he can still hit what he always was doing. Such Stan should be a problem for Fed? Maybe only a sentimental one – to not double bagel a handicapped man/friend.
        Stan is doing well for his current condition, but somehow he gets opponents, not being able (physically or mentally) to let him run. Maybe Roger will not go for double bagel and let Stan to have some match practice before Fed wins. That’s all (from troll).

      2. I’ve only really seen individual points from Stan in Sofia, in which he’s looking great, & not afraid to put rotational pressure on the knees. Interesting observation that his movement is under par. I would have thought Troicki in particular would be unafraid to exploit that, though his own form is certainly erratic. Did you think he was more impeded side to side, or forward & back, or both?

      1. When Tsonga retired from his match today, Pouille carried his bags off the court. so, as Joanathan said, Tsonga is unlikely to play Rotterdam.

      2. Good call Joanathan. Apparently Muller #9 is taking his place in the draw & there will be a LL.

        Also Jonathan, I think something is messed up with your home page formatting – I’m getting a big blank area where your newest article should be, & then a “Roger’s outfits” listing. Chrome on Ipad.

  9. @Jon
    You must have a little sense of humor. Do you really expect from a troll to go away if the troll promises to go? It’s not troll’s job to hold promises.
    If you don’t want to block the troll’s access to your blog, it’s your business. Don’t blame me for using the opportunity so often I like to 😉
    Back to current and prime Fed.
    The prime Fed was a quite good up-comer and his opposition where oldies short before retirement. Not really. Some day came another up-comer and started to defeat Fed all of a sudden.
    Today (maybe not 2017 and so far this year) the opposition is a lot bigger – Last years it was unbeatable Djokovic everywhere and unbeatable Nadal on clay and from time to time also in Fed’s home. Now they all are hospitalized and and new big opponents still not grown to the task.
    Don’t know, how old you are, but maybe you was too young when Fed was prime Fed.
    But what I’m telling about, is fully subjective impression of Fed’s game. I like his current game more. Should we discuss about what everyone likes and why?

      1. If Fed hadn’t changed to a bigger frame then he would not be where he is today. He has evolved his equipment, training and playing style to stay on top. Not just another pretty face.

  10. How far would Federer have to make it to get to NO.1 before Acapulco ? I can’t imagine he will repeat last year’s double 1000 wins, so his best chance is to get to No.1 before those events.

      1. Thanks for the info – i think he’s got a good shot at making it there then. Once he gets there maybe his motivation might not be too high to defeat probably Zverev.

  11. I know that Roger is playing really well and it is so good to see, but to read posts that this is the best he’s
    ever played, well I can’t believe it. He still looks quick but not nearly as quick as he used to be, you only have
    to watch old matches (thank goodness for Youtube), the match against Safin in Houston is a case in point. I
    cringe when I hear rubbish comments about Hewitt, Roddick and the like, these were all great players. We
    don’t even mention the likes of Blake or Gonzales because Fed was just so good! It must make players like
    David Nalb shake their heads to think that people actually think tennis was so poor when they played, truth is
    Fed was just so good. He is still great but plays more now with his head than his legs x

    1. I always noticed how he could put every shot 4cm from both lines, in the corner every time, back in the day. Every time! But it’s also true that he had less variety – because he didn’t need it, which he was also somewhat haughtily wont to say – I remember in particular wishing he had decided that drop shots were a worthwhile thing to learn, quite a few years before he actually did. The floating over the court thing he does was more prevalent back then too. Also true what Sue said about his willingness to change racquet & evolve. Who wins between them? If they’re both having a great day? No way of knowing of course, & as Ganesh said maybe it goes 50:50, but certainly back in the day there were times when young Fed was just unplayable. Until Nadal came along who had been specifically trained to play him, and they both made adjustments & both became more mature in their games.

  12. Does anyone know whether Roger Federer will be playing the afternoon session or evening session of the Saturday semifinals in case he gets that far?
    Normally the top seed player (top half of the draw) plays the first semifinal, but it seems like it could be switched around if Roger’s first match is on Wednesday evening.

    1. I was surprised to see they’ve never played an ATP match. Bemelmans is 30, ranked 121 I think, career high 84. You have to think Roger comes through that unless he has a REALLY off day. If he does, I’m thinking Khchanov next round. Tall like Cilic, took Roger to a tb in Halle last year, the only time they’ve played. Not that I’m getting ahead of myself or anything.

  13. To agree with others here, Federer was unplayable 2004-2007, movement wise, endurance wise. Forehand winners on demand anywhere in the court. His defence was also better.

    Where he is better now is mentally and he hits over his backhand much better. I think his serve hit a peak 2014-2015 (remember that semi final vs Murray in WImbledon 2015?).

    Of course in his prime he was so confident that being mentally strong was less important until he ran into Nadal and Djokovic and his own powers declined 2011-2013. ANd as Jonathan said, his slice backhand was so good that he didn’t even need to hit backhand topspin shots.

    The younger Federer vs the older one would still be an interesting match though.

    1. Well said. After re-reading my own comment, I think young Fed and old(er) Fed each start adjusting to the other immediately. We would be dealing with a dynamically evolving reality.

  14. I read this on twitter : “Ok I’ve got a real conspiracy theory … You know how Rodger Federer comes from a family of twins. Well, there are actually two Roger Federers. He never plays two matches in a row that’s why he doesn’t get tired”. 🙂

    Imagine if the young Fed had been kept in a box containing a mélange made of Swiss, Pyeongchang and Paris ice, you wake him up now and let him play versus the current Fed… it would be a greater show than …Holiday on Ice, no ?

    Chilly cheers from Paris.

  15. Looking ahead, is it possible that by gaining No 1 ranking after Rotterdam, Roger is kind of considering that he might play FO. Otherwise, the FO organisers might have a legitimate reason to file grievance, if No 1 ranked player decide to skip it.

    1. There are specific rules that give players with more time on tour specific leeway with regards to what they’re required to play. It’s a good rule, I think, that encourages stars to stick around even when their bodies can no longer handle 3-5 (or 7) matches every. Single. Week. It’s essentially what Borg asked for, back in the 1980s, at about age 26, having been playing & winning since he was a teenager; and when they said no, he walked away. So they were motivated to come up with something. There are 3 different sets of criteria, if I remember right, and Roger now fulfills all 3. So nobody has any grievance. (At least with respect to the rules.)

    2. [FO organisers might have a legitimate reason to file grievance, if No 1 ranked player decide to skip it]

      Not really, in the context of what the rules are. The French Open without the No.1 would not be good. I believe Roger will be playing the French Open this year.

      1. You know what? All my practice partners were saying the same last Friday evening, that Fed might show up at Paris, possibly just to see how it goes. Wouldn’t it be the day, should Fed end up winning it, just like AO17? Nah…
        Wake up Mutley,
        You’re dreaming again
        You’re not Robin Hood
        And you’re not Gunga Din

    3. Or maybe we’re totally wrong. Interview in the Guardian quotes him as very sepcifically targeting #1, and also trying to defend the sunshine double:


      He also says he’d like to “play everything”, no really, but it’s just not possible.
      I’d actually rather see him skip Miami I think… but really, not my job to second-guess him, either.

      1. oh – media have blabbed about every time possible, what they THINK may be of interest – Fed’s possible plans to play and to possibly stop. Actually he doesn’t say otherwise than all is possible, he may play, or may not play at the Tokyo OL, as also may or may not the clay season this year. His “Swansong” may come whenever, or be postponed to whenever. All this speculation is true blabbing. Fed doesn’t take part – just politely says – maybe/maybe not.

      2. Yeah. The headline writers were really a bit free with what was actually said when they came up with “swansong”. It was more like, when is that, 2020? That’s too far away, it’s way too soon to be talking about what might or might not be happening by then.

        If we see him play a random DC tie, however…

      3. Nothing promised, nothing excluded. (except what IS promised – exho for Africa and (I think) Laver Cup). Just listening to what his body tells him of possibilities after tour. Then lets his soul decide.

  16. How very interesting to read the comments on Fed v Fed. I especially like French Butterfly’s ideas.
    OK here is how it is could work.
    In 21?? when we have discovered time travel, one of Tony Godsick’s descendants will remember this thread.
    He’ll come back and move himself, current Fed and young Fed back to his own time.
    One stadium will not be large enough to hold the millions who want to buy tickets so he will have to arrange a tournament where there are only two players, Federer and Federer. Whoever wins the most matches (played over a week) will win.
    Which young Federer would he choose? I’m ambivalent on this, but I would choose current Federer who played 2017 Wimbledon because he was confident and playing the strokes as only he can.
    Who will win? I think current Federer will outfox the young one.

  17. Federer’s entry to this tournament has created such intrigue, must be exciting for all players on the draw. Of course, the others are there to go deep and win, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of the field will play. Will the glow of Fed and his 20th slam taking on the world #1 at 36 encourage competitors to up their level or intimidate them? I think Fed’s in good physical and mental shape to be in it to win it. Hope so!!!

  18. Very glad about that first round draw,very worried about Seppi,who on a slow court could be very dangerous in a first round match.I now think Fed looking good,no,wrong ,not looking any good at all .Anti jinx formula here.
    Actually think I am going bonkers.Just got back from Vienna,very tired.
    Best wishes to all.

  19. So…… the Goat…. the love of my life is playing in my country….. in my own freaking country and…. I can’t go….. Sigh… yep…. it sucks to be me right now 🙂 My courses and exams are starting and ofcourse tix are all sold out….so… Go Rogie…. guess you just have to go and win without me and get the NR 1. But…. please don’t let it come between you and GS 25. Yep, we have a lot more GS to win 🙂

    Guys…. do you know the Goat is just an hour away from where I am??? Sigh…. but… next year I will see you Roger 🙂

  20. Katyani, maybe you could become a stalker for the week in your spare time.
    I wonder if Nadal has brought out his Roger voodoo doll.

    1. Haha all, I don’t have any spare time !!! I am learning my brains out for my exams.
      And… my collegues gave me a nickname “Fake Supporter” 🙂
      Because I say he is the love of my life and I don’t even go to see him 🙂
      Next year….. next year 🙂

  21. Kohli surprised me, he’s through over Khachanov. Lost the first set decisively but came back – there may be an injury issue with Khachanov. So it’s Kohli into R2 against the winner of Federer & Bemelmans cough-cough-cough…

  22. What! Wawrinka down to Tallon Griekspoor! Roger may rue his “you don’t want it to be too easy” comment…
    age 21… Dutch… possibly the younger brother of Scott & Kevin? It’s his first ATP match win. Holy cow.

    1. I haven’t seen any of Stan as of late. What’s up? Knee an issue, fitness, ?
      Kohli is a nice striker of the ball. Who’s watching the Olympics?

  23. Griefs poor has a very good serve and Stan was just completely off.Like Murray I think his way back after injury/surgery will be long and slow.Very sad.
    Does anybody else find lets intensely annoying? So many times what looks like an ace is called a let and the player then goes on to lose the point.This happened to Griefspoor last night,he dropped his first service game after several
    let calls.I think lets are under consideration for rule changes,cannot come too soon,I think.

    1. I think the decider – for me at least – is always: someone is serving for a Slam at matchpoint. If the ball caught the tape and maybe got deflected/just trickled over the net or whatever and there was no way the opponent could possibly get to it, would you think that was a justifiable way to win a Slam? I wouldn’t.

      1. A Let should not be allowed as a legitimate serve! It would be one of the worst rule changes.

      2. Yes agree. And such situations are probably the reasons let doesn’t count in service – yet. And hopefully never!

      3. Well I don’t know really Alison.Matches have perhaps been won in the past by net cords.
        Can’t remember one off the top of my head but I do remember a Fed match when he was
        match point down and hit a net chord which just trickled down over the opponents side of the net.He went on to win the match.?Is a lucky net chord different to a lucky let?
        I suppose it is just me but it seems to me that quite often if a player gets a let,then loses
        the first serve and then ends up losing the point.However I suppose over the course of a match these things equal out,but I would love to know what the players think.
        Only an hour now till the Fed match.

  24. With or without Stan being 100% you have to wonder if he will believe in himself as much as he did when
    Magnus Norman was with him, would be nice to see him back Looking forward to see Fed play but I
    almost always can’t wait until he’s won his first match so C’mon Roger go for it x

  25. I couldn’t resist to write a short poem to encourage Roger for tonight and the rest of the week !

    Number one : All by myself.

    As he still is in good health
    The  sweetest pasta chef
    Can win not far from Delft.

    Concentrated on himself.
    No argue with the ref.
    Just talking to himself.
    Graceful as a fairy or an elf.

    Just counting on himself
    To beat Kholi, Dimitrov, Zverev.
    He will sing : “all by myself”
    To reach the ATP height.

    Then…dear champion, just ask your other self
    Your beloved  peerless princess 
    For the trophy cabinet to buy a new shelf.

    Go for it, Roger !

  26. Hi Jonathan
    I have a fan experience to send you if you like but don’t what email address to send it to. Help!!

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