Roger Federer named VAVEL USA ATP Player of the Month for January 2018

Winning a Grand Slam title will earn you Player of the Month honors without a doubt. Roger Federer claimed VAVEL USA's ATP Player of the Month award for January 2018 after winning a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open as well as winning the Hopman Cup. He is the first men's player to accomplish the feat and extends his lead on majors over Rafael Nadal from three to four.

Benderer Is Betterer

The Swiss started off his season at the Hopman Cup exhibition in Perth, partnering former top-10 player Belinda Bencic. Switzerland came into the event as one of the clear-cut favorites with Federer in the helm as well as an inform Bencic who captured a few ITF titles to get her ranking back up.

The Swiss team rolled their way through the round-robin side wrapping the ties up before the mixed doubles, which would usually be the deciding rubber. Switzerland did not drop a single match en route to the final where the faced another favorite in Germany. 

Germany came through with Alexander Zverev, two-time Masters 1000 champion in 2017 and Angelique Kerber, a two-time Grand Slam champion. Federer dropped his first set in the final, losing the opening set tiebreak to Zverev while Bencic fell to Kerber, leaving the mixed doubles tie to decide the title. Switzerland took the deciding rubber in straights to capture the title.

Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic with their Hopman Cup title (David Woodley/Action Plus/Getty Images)
Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic with their Hopman Cup title (David Woodley/Action Plus/Getty Images)

Terrific 20

It could not have been a better draw for the defending Australian Open champion to get back to the final. The five-time champion in Melbourne rolled through Aljaž Bedene, Jan-Lennard Struff, Richard Gasquet, and Marton Fucsovics before meeting his first real test in Tomas Berdych.

The Czech held match points in their encounter at the Miami Open last year but squandered it. Berdych played at an extremely high level in the opening set but did not take his chances as Federer took it in straights. Federer then took on Hyeon Chung in the semifinals. Chung was a first-time major semifinalist and retired after going nearly two sets down due to injury. 

In the final. Federer met Marin Cilic, in a rematch of their Wimbledon final last year. Cilic was healthy in this final, meaning he could really push the second seed to the limit, and that he did, taking him to a deciding set before the Swiss claimed the title. Federer claimed the title, becoming the oldest Grand Slam winner in the Open Era since Ken Rosewall in 1972 as well as the first male player to win at least six Grand Slam titles at two events (eight Wimbledon titles).