WASHINGTON, March 3, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
When Roger Federer beat Stefanos Tsitsipas for his eighth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship crown on Saturday evening, it marked his 100th career title. Now, the 20-time Grand Slam champion is just nine titles short of tying Jimmy Connors, the men’s all-time leader. While it took Federer 152 finals to reach No. 100, Connors reached his 100th in only 141 finals.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) 2. März 2019
First trophy in Milan
No doubt, Federer is a future Hall of Famer and his C.V. is an impressive one. Yet, at age 37, he continues to add milestones to it. For instance, Federer won the first of his 100 career titles back in February 2001 at the Milan Indoor, where he was seeded seventh. Federer was just 19 and ranked in the Top 30 when he beat Julien Boutter of France, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. “I think I am improving and I have achieved the first goal in my career,” Federer was quoted as saying. “My next goal is to break into the Top 15, which is a high aim but not an impossible one.”
Triumph on grass
Federer’s first grass-court title was his eighth overall when he won Halle in 2003. Next, he won his first Grand Slam, at Wimbledon, over Australian Mark Philippoussis. Later that year, he won title No. 10 at Vienna.
Title No. 49, in 2007, was marked by Federer winning his fifth straight Wimbledon. He beat Rafael Nadal. “It was such a close match,” Federer said. “I told him at the net that he deserved it as well. I’m the lucky one today.”
Career Grand Slam
Later in 2007, Federer beat James Blake at Cincinnati for his 50th career title. Then, in 2009, he completed a career Grand Slam by winning his only French Open title (it was his 59th career title). After losing three straight finals to Nadal at Roland Garros, Federer beat Robin Soderling of Sweden to become only the sixth male player to win all four Grand Slams. He said, “This was my greatest victory.”
Federer’s 75th title occurred when he won Wimbledon in 2012 over Andy Murray. Then, in 2017, Federer became the first man during the Open Era (since 1968) to win Wimbledon eight times with his victory over Marin Cilic in the final. It was his 93rd career title. Federer said, “I knew I could do great against maybe one day, but not at this level.”
Finally, Federer achieved career title No. 100 against Tsitsipas by winning his first crown in 2019, at Dubai.
From Milan 2001 to Dubai 2019…
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 2. März 2019
Some other milestones of Federer’s brilliant career:
• By winning Dubai, Federer has lifted a trophy in at least one tournament in 18 of the past 19 years. Since 2001, the only year that Federer came up empty was during his injury-plagued 2016 season.
• With his 100th singles title, Federer moved twenty ahead of Rafael Nadal, who has won 80. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has 73 singles titles. Meanwhile, the remaining 97 players in the current Top 100 have garnered a combined total of 333.
• One-fifth (20 percent) of Federer’s singles titles are Grand Slams (eight Wimbledon, six Australian Open, five U.S. Open and one French Open). He’s won 27 ATP Masters 1000 titles, 22 ATP 500 series titles, 25 ATP 250 series titles and six ATP Tour Finals titles.
• Federer’s most successful tournaments have been at Basel, Switzerland, and Halle, Germany. He has won each of those tournaments nine times.
During his press conference following his Dubai triumph, Federer was asked if he’s ready to go after 10 more titles to break Connors’ 109. The Swiss maestro said, “We live in a world where every record has to be shattered. Not for me, I’m just happy I’m still healthy. If I reach milestones along the way, it’s wonderful, but I’m really not here to shatter all the records.”