24 years and 103 titles – more about Roger Federer’s career

Roger Federer will play his final professional tennis match with his great rival Rafael Nadal on Friday night.

Federer and Nadal – who have 42 Grand Slam titles between them – will represent Team Europe in doubles at the Laver Cup and face Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of Team World at London’s O2 Arena in what is likely to be an emotional affair.

PA News picks out some of the defining stats behind Federer’s extraordinary singles career here.

Overcoming inconsistency

Roger Federer entered the 2002 Wimbledon as one of the favorites but lost in the first round (Rebecca Naden/PA Archive)

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Federer famously reached 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals between 2004 and 2010, including 10 consecutive finals from Wimbledon in 2005 to the US Open in 2007.

That consistency came from his composure on court, but the 20-time major champion once had a reputation for losing his racket during matches, leading to some early highs and lows that lasted far longer than any of his contemporaries. rivals of the day.

Federer was tipped to be tennis’ next superstar after defeating Pete Sampras in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2001 – as the American sought his fifth consecutive title – but lost to Tim Henman in the quarter-finals before losing in the first round the following year to unseeded Mario Ancic.

By the time he reached his first major final in 2003, he had played 309 tour-level singles matches over five years.

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This number is the highest among those who have reached five or more Grand Slam finals in the Federer era.

Sampras played just 110 matches before his first major final at the 1990 US Open, while Nadal had played just 127 before winning his first French Open in 2005.

Britain’s Andy Murray waited a long time to lift a Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2012, but he had already established himself by reaching four previous finals, the first of which came shortly after his 200th match in 2008.

Conquest of America

After reaching and winning his first Grand Slam final in 2003, Federer continued to dominate the sport.

Between his success at Wimbledon from 2003 to 2009, the Swiss great won 15 of 25 majors, breaking Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam wins record by just six years.

Roger Federer beats Andy Roddick in five sets in the 2009 Wimbledon final to surpass Pete Sampras’ record 14 majors (Owen Humphreys/PA Archive)

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Sampras and fellow American Andre Agassi were ranked number one and two in the world for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, but the arrival of Federer – followed by Nadal and Novak Djokovic – ended the dominance of the US players.

Federer has played 30 Americans in his singles career and holds the record for all of them.

In total, he has won 105 of 118 singles matches against US players, with an 89 percent winning percentage higher than any nation he has faced more than 50 times.

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Federer’s main rival in the US was Andy Roddick, with whom he played 24 times between 2001 and 2012. He won 21 of their meetings, including all four Grand Slam finals.

Thanks in part to Federer’s success, the American men are currently on a 75-year drought dating back to Roddick’s 2003 US Open win.

“Big Three”

Despite his period of individual dominance, Federer is remembered as one of three all-time greats who defined a remarkable era.

Between them, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 63 of the 77 majors since Wimbledon in 2003.

The Swiss was largely unbeatable in collecting his first 12 Grand Slam titles in four-and-a-half years, but defeat to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final signaled a new phase in his career.

Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer in one of the greatest matches in history at Wimbledon 2008 (Sean Dempsey/PA Archive)

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Federer still collected eight more major trophies, but they were spread over a decade as he suffered agonizing defeats at the hands of first Nadal and then Djokovic.

This is confirmed by his performances in the final stages of the events.

Federer converted 49 of his 65 semifinals between 2003 and 2007 to win the tournament – a success rate of 75 percent.

Between 2008 and 2015, Federer reached 92 semi-finals but lifted just 35 trophies, with his success rate halved to 38 per cent.

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Renaissance under Ljubicic

Federer’s career appeared to be over in 2016 when a Wimbledon semifinal loss to Milos Raonic preceded a six-month absence from the tour.

However, rumors of his death proved premature as the Swiss made a brilliant comeback in 2017.

Under the tutelage of coach Ivan Ljubicic, the 35-year-old Federer won four matches against top-10 opponents – including three five-setters – to lift his 18th major trophy at the Australian Open.

Roger Federer wins the 2017 Australian Open after a six-month layoff (Aaron Favila/AP)

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In an interview with The Tennis Podcast this week, Ljubicic revealed how he encouraged Federer to be more aggressive with his backhand instead of cutting to avoid being on the defensive in rallies.

The tactic paid off against Nadal, whom he defeated on break point in the fifth set in the final.

It was Federer’s first major win over his arch-rival since Wimbledon in 2007 and it made it five wins in his last six matches against Nadal.

Before working with Ljubicic, Federer had lost 23 of 34 matches.

Ivan Ljubicic helped Roger Federer return to world number one at the age of 36 (Mike Egerton/PA)

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Inspired by Australia’s win, Federer triumphed at Wimbledon the same year without dropping a set and ended 2017 with seven titles and 54 wins from 59 matches. It was his best year in terms of winning percentage since 2006.

Shortly after defending his Australian Open title in 2018, Federer returned to the top of the rankings at the age of 36, becoming the oldest men’s No. 1 in history.

He would reach another major final at Wimbledon, losing in heartbreak to Djokovic in 2019 before injuries plagued his last two years on tour.

A fan favorite

  • Gustavo Kuerten (2000)
  • Marat Safin (2001-2002)
  • Roger Federer (2003-2021)

Federer won’t leave as the most successful male player in history, with Nadal and Djokovic both surpassing his 20-point major, but he will leave the game as its most popular son.

The Swiss seemed to enjoy the support of the crowd in many of his 1,526 singles matches, regardless of where he played or who he faced.

The ATP Fan Favorite Award has been presented at the end of each year since 2000, with Federer winning the vote for the past 19 consecutive years.