Roger Federer’s amazing 24 year career highlightsTim Strawn
This year’s Laver Cup was the official send-off for one of the sports all-time greats, Roger Federer. As he prepared to walk off the court for the 1750th and final time as a professional on the ATP Tour, Federer spoke only positively.
“I’m happy, I’m not sad,” he said. “It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time. The match was great, I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful.”
While Federer spoke of happiness it was, without a doubt, a bittersweet moment as well. Emotions were high, the tears were flowing and the well wishes from people across the globe were pouring in. This, to any tennis fan, was no surprise at all. Federer’s indelible mark on the game of tennis is unquestionable but he is more than just a tennis player. He will long be remembered for the way he approached the game with such grace and excellent play. So, it is only right that we take a look at the career of the great Swiss Maestro.
Wimbledon Boys’ Champion
Wins the singles title and takes the doubles crown with Belgian Olivier Rochus.
First ATP Tour Win
Defeated World No. 45 Guillaume Raoux 6-2, 6-2, upset World No. 43 Richard Fromberg in the next round to reach the quarter-finals but he lost a tight match to second seed and eventual champion Jan Siemerink. He jumps from No. 878 to No. 396 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
First ATP Tour Title
His first two ATP Tour finals came in 2000 at Marseille and Basel, but he lost in both finals. The next year he beat two International Tennis Hall of Famers — Goran Ivanisevic and Yevgeny Kafelnikov — en route to the final where he defeats Frenchman Julien Boutter 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-4 to lift his first ATP trophy at age 19.
First ATP Masters 1000 Title
Competes in his first ATP Masters 1000 event in Hamburg after a first-round loss in Rome against current ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. He defeats three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten in the quarter-finals and former World No. 1, Marat Safin, in the championship match for his first Masters 1000 title and moves into the top 10.
First Grand Slam Triumph
I remember this year very well as I was on the official stringing team at Wimbledon, a truly wonderful experience. He defeated Australian Mark Philippoussis 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) to capture the crown on Centre Court. I had the rare privilege of personally delivering two of Federer’s racquets to the men’s changing room that Roger had left to be done early on the day of the final. An early indication of just what kind of champion Federer would be, he sent his coach, Peter Lundgren, to the stringing room with an autographed Nike baseball cap for Glynn Roberts who was stringing all of his racquets. Glynn would later go on to work for Priority One traveling the world and stringing for some of the most elite players on the tour.
Ascends To World No. 1
2 February 2004
He defeats Marat Safin in the final and moves to number one in the world on February 2, 2004. He remains at the top spot for four-and-a-half years and stays there for 237 consecutive weeks.
First Match Against Rafael Nadal
Nadal upsets Federer 6-3, 6-3 in just 70 minutes to claim their first ATP Head2Head meeting. Nadal would go on to win 24 of their 40 clashes.
First Match Against Novak Djokovic
Monte Carlo, 2006
Djokovic, an 18-year-old from Serbia, was competing in his first clay-court Masters 1000 event. He saved eight of the 11 break points he faced but fell to Federer 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. They have met 49 times since then, the most times Federer has played any rival.
Breaking Pete Sampras’ Slam Record
Fresh off of his one and only title at Roland Garros, Federer races to the Wimbledon final, losing of just one set along the way. Across the net is former World No. 1 Andy Roddick, against whom he had won 18 of his 20 ATPHead2Head clashes, including two previous Wimbledon finals. Roddick held all of his service games until the last game of the match and he triumphs 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14 to claim his 15th Grand Slam title, breaking Sampras’ record.
Wins Record Sixth Nitto ATP Finals Trophy
The Nitto ATP Finals is the toughest tournament in the world, with the winner each year needing to navigate a field made of the very best players on the ATP Tour. That is why Federer’s victory at The O2 in 2011 was so impressive. It was his record sixth title at the season finale, breaking a tie with Sampras and Ivan Lendl, whom Djokovic has since tied. Federer defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 for the trophy.
Leads Switzerland To Davis Cup Glory
Federer and Stan Wawrinka led their country to the Davis Cup title for the first time. Despite losing the second singles rubber to Gael Monfils in straight sets, Federer partnered Wawrinka to a doubles victory and then sealed his country’s triumph with a singles win against Richard Gasquet.
Earns 1,000th Tour-Level Win
Federer picks up four wins, doing so in his first tournament of the year at Brisbane. He defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 in the final to lift the trophy and etch his name in the record books with win No. 1,000.
Magical 2017 Comeback
Wins Two Major Titles but signs of knee issues emerge
The end of 2016 was tough for Federer, who did not compete after losing in the Wimbledon semi-finals that year due to a knee injury. Entering the 2017 Australian Open as the 17th seed aged 35, a deep run seemed improbable. But Federer stunned the world and himself by claiming his 18th Grand Slam trophy at Melbourne Park. He won seven trophies that year, his most in a season since 2007 (8). His victories included a 19th major triumph at Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 titles (in Indian Wells, Miami, and Shanghai).
Wins 20th Slam
Australian Open, 2018
At 36 years old he races to the final without losing a set. Despite a tough battle from 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic, Federer finished the job 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to become the third man in the Open Era to claim at least four major titles after turning 30, joining Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.
Oldest World No. 1 In History
19 February 2018
When Federer retained his Australian Open trophy, he moved to within just 155 points of Nadal for World No. 1. The Swiss got an opportunity to claim the top spot less than one month later. Federer had to defeat home favorite Robin Haase in the semi-finals, and win he did. The 36-year-old rallied after a slow start to advance 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and guarantee he would return to the top of men’s tennis mountain and become the oldest World No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history.
Many players are happy to win a single ATP Tour title, making the mark Federer reached in Dubai in 2019 jaw-dropping. Advancing to the final put him one win from his 100th tour-level trophy.
The player standing across the net was Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had just ended the Swiss’ hopes of an Australian Open three-peat one month earlier. Federer was undeterred, winning 6-4, 6-4 to collect his 100th crown and join Connors (109) as the only men who have claimed that many titles.
Federer went on to add three more trophies to his collection, finishing his career with 103 titles and 54 finals.
Neither Federer nor fans knew it at the time, the Swiss played his final major aged 39 at Wimbledon in 2021. With his knee still proving a nuisance, he tried to peak at the grass-court Slam.
“I feel I still really love it, enjoy myself. I will see about the results if they’re going to come back,” Federer said before the tournament. “This is why Wimbledon is clearly very important to me right now.”
Federer battled hard to reach the quarter-finals but was stopped there by rising Polish star Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets. He finished his Grand Slam career with a 369-60 record.
Laver Cup, 2022
Once it became clear Federer’s knee would no longer allow him a chance for a full singles return more than halfway into 2022, the Swiss came to the realization it was time for his farewell.
Federer announced on social media he would play his final ATP event at the Laver Cup. Less than one week later, he arrived in London for what proved to be an emotional and unforgettable week.
The 41-year-old was only able to compete in doubles, and fittingly, after a memorable practice with all members of the Big Four — Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray included — Federer took to the court competitively for the final time with Nadal by his side.
It was not about the score of Federer and Nadal’s match against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, but an opportunity to say goodbye to his colleagues and his fans around the world. Federer has been clear he will never stay far from tennis, but he was thrilled to give the sport one last ride.
For the complete story including photos, please go to the ATP’s website at https://www.atptour.com/en/news/the-story-of-roger-federer
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