Federer Joins Exclusive Club With 100th Title
Twenty-two years after a 16-year-old Roger Federer made his ATP World Tour debut on home soil in Gstaad, the man they call ‘maestro’ joins Jimmy Connors as only the second player to enter the ‘Century Club’.
On Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Federer displayed a level of comfort on Centre Court that can be expected from someone who had previously won the event seven times. Trading body blows with 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Next Gen ATP champion 17 years his junior, the Swiss legend secured his 100th tour-level title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the soon-to-be Greek World No. 10 in front of highly engaged, capacity crowd, which showed just how much they love Federer.
“It’s been a long, wonderful journey… I have loved every minute,” Federer said. “It’s been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank. Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me.”
Having captured his first title in Milan in 2001 as a 19-year-old, Federer has scored at least one trophy in every season since. That's 19 consecutive years of sustained success at the highest level. His career has not only outlasted that Milan tournament (last held in 2005), but also the carpet surface it was played on (last used in 2008) and every other player in the draw, who have all retired since then.
There are no signs that his continued success will stop anytime soon. Although Federer trails the 109 titles that Connors racked up in his career, he’s won at least four titles in 16 of the past 18 seasons. If Federer can stay injury-free for a few more years, he’s playing well enough to catch and possibly surpass the American’s record.
Welcome to the “ Triple Digit” tournament victory club @rogerfederer — I’ve been a bit lonely- glad to have the company !!!— Jimmy Connors (@JimmyConnors) March 2, 2019
But Federer said that chasing down Connors’ record 109 titles is not what motivates him to keep playing.
“I’m just happy that I’m still healthy, that I’ve got such a wonderful team, my family who have supported me for so, so long. I can’t thank them enough.
“If I reach milestones like this along the way it’s wonderful, but I’m really not here to shatter all the records. What Jimmy did was an unbelievable achievement and he should be proud of that. I’m proud of other things I have done. It was a special evening playing Stefanos and seeing the future coming up. It’s part of the journey.”
His milestone moment in Dubai is the latest of Federer's litany of staggering achievements. His greatest? It's impossible to choose just one. Federer has reigned atop the ATP Rankings for a record 310 weeks, including 237 in a row. He owns the most Grand Slam singles titles (20), Nitto ATP Finals crowns (6) and Wimbledon trophies (8) in the Open Era. He also stands alone with 24 consecutive wins vs. Top 10 opposition. But of all these accomplishments, securing 100 titles is arguably one of the most impressive.
In an era of titanic servers and baseline bombers, Federer's fluid, precision-oriented game has enabled him to dominate on the ATP World Tour for nearly two decades. No moment is too great and no shot too improbable. The Basel native has become an impervious force as he enters his late 30s, predicated on unyielding durability and the ability to excel on all surfaces.
Rod Laver (@rodlaver) March 2, 2019
Remarkably, of Federer's 100 titles, nearly a quarter of them came in consecutive finals from October 2003 to October 2005. It's a streak that will likely never be broken: 24 straight championship matches won. Over a span of two years, it was a guarantee that Federer would step onto a final stage and emerge with the trophy. He entered Vienna in 2003 with a 9-8 record in finals and emerged from Bangkok in 2005 with a stunning 33-8 mark.
The streak ended after an inspired David Nalbandian defeated him in a fifth-set tie-break in the championship match of the 2005 ATP Finals, but even that runner-up showing highlighted his dominance on tour. Federer had missed the previous six weeks nursing a right ankle injury and was on crutches just three weeks before arriving in Shanghai, yet still came within two points of taking the title.
But that championship match streak isn't the only impressive figure among Federer's 100 titles. The Swiss has won four titles without being broken throughout the tournament (Doha 2005, Halle 2008, Cincinnati 2012 & 2015) and owns five wins against World No. 1s in finals - three against Rafael Nadal and two against Novak Djokovic. In addition, he has successfully defended 35 of his titles and 15 of his final victories have come after losing the first set.
Regardless of where you play him, Federer is always up to the challenge. He has won titles on four different surfaces, from hard (69), grass (18), clay (11) and carpet (2). Federer also owns titles in 19 different countries, enjoying the majority of his success in the United States (22).
Federer has spread the love around multiple events during his storied career. He is the only player with seven or more crowns at five different tournaments, achieving the feat in Halle (9), Basel, (9), Wimbledon (8), Dubai (8) and Cincinnati (7).
As the Swiss maestro continues to push the limits and defy the odds, no record is safe. Having already made an indelible mark on the sport, he is proving that nothing is impossible.
Federer Fast Facts
Grand Slam titles: 20
Nitto ATP Finals titles: 6
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles: 27
ATP World Tour 500 titles: 22
ATP World Tour 250 titles: 25