Federer Closes On Alphabet 'Grand Slam'
Let’s state up front that this won’t go down as one of Roger Federer’s crowning achievements. But the Swiss legend notched a quirky milestone at Roland Garros Wednesday.
In 1,466 career singles matches before today, Federer had never confronted a player at a tour-level event whose surname began with the letter ‘O’. For good measure, Federer patched that hole in his resumé when he double dipped against Oscar Otte, beating the German lucky loser 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Federer did play American Alex O’Brien at the 1999 Surbiton Challenger, but Challengers are not tour-level events.
Federer has now played opponents with surnames starting with 25 of the alphabet’s 26 letters, missing only ‘X’. (He has, of course, played Belgium’s Xavier Malisse.)
Federer’s next opponent in the third round of Roland Garros will be Norway’s Casper Ruud. In 1999, 2000 and 2001, Federer and Ruud’s father were both in the Roland Garros draw.
Federer and Christian Ruud never met during their careers. They would have met in Ruud’s final event – 2001 Roland Garros – had Ruud advanced to the second round, but he retired against Sargis Sargsian. Instead, Federer rallied from two sets down to beat Sargsian 9-7 in 5th set.
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Did You Know?
If Federer defeats Ruud, Norway will become the 58th nation with a player who’s lost to Federer. It would be the seventh nation with only one loss to Federer, joining…
El Salvador (R. Arevalo)
Federer has at least one win over every nationality that he’s faced except Zimbabwe (0-1 with loss to B. Black). The nation with the most losses to Federer is France (28-129).
- Research courtesy Joshua Rey and Greg Sharko.