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5 staggering Roger Federer achievements you probably didn't know about

Roger Federer after winning Australian Open 2017
Roger Federer after winning Australian Open 2017
Rudra Biswas
ANALYST
Modified 22 Jul 2020
Feature

Roger Federer is easily one of the greatest players of all time, if not the greatest. Federer has featured prominently in the 'GOAT' debate for a while now, with him and his two Big 3 rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic dividing public opinion with their achievements.

At his peak, Roger Federer flattened most of his peers day-in and day-out while barely breaking sweat. He won three Slams in a year on a record three occasions, and at one point reached the final in 18 out of 19 Grand Slams (winning 12 of them).

Federer is also the only male player to win two different Grand Slam tournaments at least six times (Australian Open, Wimbledon), and the only player to win three different Majors at least five times (Wimbledon, Australian Open, US Open). He has spent a record 310 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the world - 237 of which came in succession.

But these tennis achievements by Roger Federer are quite well-known among ardent tennis fans. In addition to his more significant records, there are also a few relatively lesser-known feats notched up by the Fed Express that will likely stand the test of time.

Here is a look at five such feats:

1. Roger Federer has won 30 consecutive sets at the Australian Open - the most by any male player

Roger Federer won the 2007 Australian Open without dropping a set
Roger Federer won the 2007 Australian Open without dropping a set

With a precise serve, pacy forehand and impeccable efficiency in how he builds a point, Roger Federer has often romped to titles without dropping a set. So it comes as no surprise when you realize that Federer won 30 consecutive sets at Australian Open between 2006 to 2008 - which happens to be the most by any player at Melbourne in the Open Era.

After winning the 2006 Australian Open in a cagey 4-set final against Marcos Baghdatis, Federer raced to the 2007 Australian Open title without dropping a set, becoming the only player other than Bjorn Borg to do so at a Slam.

Roger Federer's streak of consecutive sets won came to an end in 2008, when he was stretched to five sets by Janko Tipsarevic - a match the Swiss Maestro eventually won.

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2. Roger Federer has won 34 consecutive sets at Wimbledon - the most by any male player

Roger Federer plays a slice at Wimbledon 2005
Roger Federer plays a slice at Wimbledon 2005

There are several achievements that reinforce Roger Federer's dominance in his prime. For example, he is the only player to win two Grand Slams five consecutive times; he triumphed at Wimbledon in 2003-07 and at the US Open in 2004-08.

But unbeknownst to many, Roger Federer has also won 34 consecutive sets at Wimbledon - which happens to be the most by any player at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in the Open Era.Β 

That would have been a career achievement even if the Fed Express had done it once. But what makes it an epitaph for his reign on grass is the fact that Federer has achieved this feat not once but twice in his career.

The first time Federer did it at Wimbledon was in 2005-06. He won 34 consecutive sets between his third round victory over Nicolas Kiefer in 2005 and his seventh Grand Slam triumph over a young Rafael Nadal in the 2006 final.

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The Swiss Maestro would repeat history about 10 years later, as he again won 34 consecutive sets at SW19 in 2017-18. He first captured the 2017 title - and an elusive 8th Wimbledon crown - without dropping a single set. Federer's streak would eventually come to an end at the hands of Kevin Anderson in an epic five-set quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2018.

3. Roger Federer has a 100% W-L record in grasscourt semifinals outside 2016

Roger Federer is widely regarded the greatest grasscourt player of all time
Roger Federer is widely regarded the greatest grasscourt player of all time

When you think of a player dominating a single surface, Rafael Nadal immediately comes to mind for his virtually unbeatable record on clay. Novak Djokovic also makes a good case in the debate, being the best hardcourt player in tennis with 11 Slams on the surface.

Roger Federer comes in a close third at eight Wimbledon titles, bearing witness to his dominance on grass. The lack of big events on grass can be cited for Federer lagging behind his rivals in surface domination, yet there is one attribute in which the Swiss happens to be more prolific than the other two.

Since his first final at 2003 Halle 17 years ago, Roger Federer has accumulated a 27-3 record in semifinals on grass. And when you exclude 2016 from the numbers, a season in which Federer was injured and missed six months, Roger Federer has a 100% W-L semifinal record on grass.

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Federer stands alone in this regard, having beaten the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray in semifinals on grass. Meanwhile Nadal and Djokovic have lost in the semifinal of a tournament played on their favorite surfaces quite a few times.

4. Roger Federer has reached 10 semifinals at 3 different Grand Slams

Roger Federer plays a forehand in the 2020 Australian Open semifinal
Roger Federer plays a forehand in the 2020 Australian Open semifinal

Having started his career back in 1998, Roger Federer has achieved longevity records like no other player has. This year, Federer bettered his own semifinal record at the Australian Open by making the coveted stage for a staggering 15th time.

Having reached a record 46 Grand Slam semifinals and 23 consecutive Slam semifinals in 2004-2010, Roger Federer is one of the toughest players to beat in a high-stakes match like a Slam quarterfinal.

While he shares the record of reaching at least eight semifinals at all the four Grand Slams with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer stands alone when it comes to having reached 10 semifinals at multiple Slam events. He has achieved this feat at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

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Having reached 13 semifinals at Wimbledon, 10 at the US Open and 15 at the Australian Open, Roger Federer is clearly the most consistent tennis player at the Majors. Despite being way past his prime, the Swiss doesn't give up easily, and makes his opponent earn the victory even when his game is off.

5. Roger Federer has won titles on hard + clay + grass in a season 8 times in his career

Roger Federer poses with the 2009 French Open trophy
Roger Federer poses with the 2009 French Open trophy

Having left a lasting impression on fans and analysts with his flexible, all-round game, Roger Federer is arguably the most versatile player in tennis. The Swiss won the Career Grand Slam after triumphing at Roland Garros 2009, joining an elusive list of just five players to have achieved this feat.

The debate about who among the Big 3 is the most prolific when it comes to all surfaces is a lively one, with each of them having a legitimate case in their favor. While Rafael Nadal is the only player among the trio to have conquered two Slams each on the three different surfaces, Novak Djokovic is the only player since Rod Laver to have simultaneously held all four Majors.

But the Swiss is not far behind in this argument. This might be his most underappreciated career achievement, but Roger Federer has won titles on the three different surfaces in the same season a stupefying eight times in his career.

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By contrast, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have won titles on the three different surfaces in the same season four and two times respectively.

It is one thing to be prolific on each surface in a one-year period. But the fact that Roger Federer has shown unreal consistency across all surfaces in eight different seasons (2003-05, 2007-09, 2012, 2015), deserves the highest of applause.

Published 22 Jul 2020, 02:01 IST
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