Federer top seed in Rotterdam

2012-02-12 12:29

Rotterdam - Roger Federer returns to the ATP Rotterdam Open for the first time in seven years, hoping to pick up where he left off since winning the 2005 title.

The Swiss world No 3 is a good friend of tournament director and 1996 fellow Wimbledon winner Richard Krajicek and has changed his normal February schedule to include the indoor event which begins on Monday at the Ahoy Stadium.

Both Federer and second seed Tomas Berdych will arrive in the Dutch port city from weekend Davis Cup dates in Europe.

Third seed Juan Martin del Potro will be making his tournament debut after resting since an Australian Open quarter-final loss to the Swiss.

At least half of the 32-man field will come to Rotterdam from Davis Cup ties, with Federer on the losing side with Switzerland, Berdych anchoring the Czech Republic and Viktor Troicki and Marcel Granollers playing for 2010 winners Serbia and Davis Cup holders Spain respectively.

Spain's Feliciano Lopez takes the fourth seeding ahead of Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine.

Berdych is drawn in the first round against Davis Cup team-mate Lukas Rosol while Del Potro begins with a fitness advantage against former champion Michael Llodra.

The Frenchman will need to recover from a nine-hour time gap after playing Davis Cup in Vancouver at the weekend while Del Potro has been in Europe.

"Del Potro is a name that has been on my shortlist for a couple of years," said Krajicek. "After his US Open victory in 2009, we've been in contact every year, this year with a positive result."

Added Del Potro, winner of nine titles: "For the first time in years I will be playing in Europe in February. Obviously I look forward to coming to Rotterdam."

He will aim to become the first Argentine since Guillermo Vilas in 1982 to win the Dutch title.

Federer will start the first round against an opponent he has not faced since 2008 when he plays Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

He will be playing in Rotterdam for the seventh time with his 2005 title backed up by a 2003 semi-final and a final 11 years ago.

Berdych is an old hand at the tournament, having competed for six of the last seven editions, with a 2011 quarter-final as his best effort.

The event will be missing the champion of the last two years, Swede Robin Soldering, who is still recovering from the glandular fever which has kept him off court since last July.