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8 tournaments where Roger Federer has had the most missed opportunities

Bhargav
Federer exults after beating Kei Nishikori for his 100th Wimbledon match win
Federer exults after beating Kei Nishikori for his 100th Wimbledon match win

During his 21-year-long illustrious career, Roger Federer has racked up some staggering numbers. They include 102 career singles titles (second best all time behind Jimmy Connors' 109), 156 career singles finals (second best all time behind Connors' 163), 1222 singles match wins (second best all time behind Connors' 1274), 101 match wins at Wimbledon (most at a single tournament), 19 grasscourt titles (best of all time), 353 Grand Slam match wins (best of all time) and 20 Grand Slam titles (best of all time).

One of only 10 players (third active) in the Open Era to have captured 60 or more singles titles, Federer's tally of 54 final losses is tied with Jimmy Connors for most in the Open Era, among one of the Swiss' few less illustrious records.

Federer has reached the final of 34 different tournaments, only failing to win in Rome, Monte Carlo and the Olympics singles in 2012 London.

In the 31 different tournaments the Swiss has triumphed in, Federer has multiple title hauls in 18 of those tournaments, with 5 or more victories at an impressive 9 tournaments. Halle (10 titles) has been his most successful, followed by 9 at his hometown of Basel, 8 each at Wimbledon and Dubai, 7 at Cincinnati, 6 each at the ATP Finals and the Australian Open and 5 each at the US Open and Indian Wells.

Federer brings up his first double digit title haul at the Noventi Open in Halle
Federer brings up his first double digit title haul at the Noventi Open in Halle

Federer has a perfect final record at 11 tournaments, winning thrice at Doha, twice each at Bangkok and Vienna and once apiece at Sydney, Munich, Tokyo, Estoril, Stockholm, Paris-Bercy, Istanbul and Stuttgart.

However, the record 20 time Grand Slam champion has had his fair share of missed opportunities where he has either run into an inspired opponent in the final or has faltered on the brink of victory by pulling the trigger too early.

Here is a comprehensive list of the tournaments where the Swiss has come up short in the title match on more occasions than he would have hoped for.

(1) Basel

Juan Martin del Potro at Basel
Juan Martin del Potro at Basel

One of Federer's most successful tournaments (9 titles) is also one where the home town boy has come up short in the title match on no fewer than five occasions.

Fresh off a first career final in Marseille' 2000 (lost to countryman Marc Rosset), Federer reached his second final at his hometown of Basel. But the Swiss teenager's hopes of a first career title were dashed in a bruising five-set defeat to Swede Thomas Enqvist.

There was more hometown heartbreak in store for Federer as a loss to Tim Henman in the final the following year meant that the precocious Swiss had just one title to show from five tournament finals in his young career.

Eight years later, Federer's title tally swelled to an impressive 61, encompassing three Basel title runs. He then endured a third Basel final reverse in a three-set defeat to young Serbian Novak Djokovic, in the 2009 title match.

Juan Martin Del Potro got the better of the Swiss in back to back Basel finals (2012-13) as Federer suffered his fifth final defeat at the same tournament for the first and only time till date.

Nadal beats Federer for the fourth time in a French Open final enroute to a 6th RG title in 2011
Nadal beats Federer for the fourth time in a French Open final enroute to a 6th RG title in 2011

(2) Roland Garros

Federer fell to his arch nemesis Rafael Nadal in three consecutive Roland Garros finals (2006-08) before completing a coveted career Grand Slam the following year on the Parisian terre battue with a victory over Nadal's conqueror Robin Soderling.

Having been twice denied a rare calendar year Grand Slam at Roland Garros (2006-07) by Nadal, Federer advanced to the title match in Paris for the fifth time in 2011 where the Spaniard laid in wait yet again.

Federer rode on an early break and a set point went begging when a drop shot in the eighth game landed tantalisingly wide. Nadal would regroup by winning five consecutive games to take the opening set.

It looked bleak for the Swiss when he found himself with a two set and a break deficit in the third. To his credit though, Federer fought back with a run of games to take the third. He then saw three consecutive break points on the Nadal serve in the opening game of the fourth set come and go, as the Spaniard arrested Federer's momentum en route to a sixth Roland Garros title.

That defeat marked the first time Federer lost four title matches at the same tournament.

(3) Monte Carlo

For the third year in a row (2006-08), Federer faced his arch rival Nadal in the Principality final - and came up short for the third time.

Nadal bests Federer in a third straight Monte Carlo final in 2008
Nadal bests Federer in a third straight Monte Carlo final in 2008

Six years later, in 2014, the Swiss advanced to a fourth Monte Carlo final where his compatriot Stan Wawrinka, fresh off a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, waited across the net.

Perhaps relieved at the absence of his arch nemesis Nadal, Federer took the first set and was a tiebreak away from a maiden title at the Principality.

On the brink of a breakthrough win Federer blinked, to lose a tight tiebreak 7-5. He then faded in the third as Wawrinka upped his game en-route to a maiden Masters 1000 title.

That marked the first time Federer had lost four finals at a tournament without triumphing once. The Swiss hasn't played in the Principality since.

(4) Rome

Federer looks distraught after squandering championship points in a painful 2006 Rome final defeat
Federer looks distraught after squandering championship points in a painful 2006 Rome final defeat

Federer lost his first title match in the Italian capital against Felix Mantilla, weeks before his maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. But it was his title showdown with Nadal three years later that captured the imagination of connoisseurs and purists alike.

In a high quality five hour final on the dirt, Federer took the fourth set and rode his momentum to surge 4-1 ahead in the fifth. Nadal would fight back to get back on serve but the Swiss arrived at two championship points in the 12th game courtesy a double fault from the Spaniard.

On the cusp of a first Rome title, Federer "pulled the trigger early" as he would reminisce later, and his potent forehand misfired.

There were to be more opportunities in the ensuing deciding set tiebreak where Federer opened up a 5-3 lead. However another "off the radar" forehand prevented the Swiss three more championship points, as Nadal reeled off four points in a row to seal a second consecutive Rome title.

Federer would reach the Rome final on two more occasions, but a first breakthrough would remain elusive as Nadal (2013) and Novak Djokovic (2015) thwarted the Swiss.

Rome became the second tournament, after Monte Carlo, where Federer would lose his first four finals. The Swiss is yet to reach another title match or land a first title at either tournament.

(5) Rogers Cup (Montreal/Toronto)

Alexander Zverev avenges his Halle final defeat with a win over Federer in the 2017 Rogers Cup final
Alexander Zverev avenges his Halle final defeat with a win over Federer in the 2017 Rogers Cup final

At the sixth Masters 1000 event of the calendar, the Rogers Cup which alternates between Montreal and Toronto, two-time champion Federer has suffered two defeats apiece in the final in either city, making it four defeats in the tournament final.

Top seed and World No. 1 Federer triumphed in consecutive Toronto finals, beating Andy Roddick in 2004 and Richard Gasquet in 2006. In the final the following year in Montreal, the Swiss would squander a 6-5 40-0 advantage on serve in the first set en route to dropping the set in a tiebreak against Djokovic.

Federer would regroup in the second but would fall short in the deciding set tiebreak.

At a tournament which hasn't always been a regular feature in Federer's schedule over the years, the Swiss would reach a fourth Rogers Cup final in 2010, only to come up second best against Andy Murray.

Four years later, the Swiss would arrive at the title round, only to be thwarted by mercurial Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In 2017, fresh off a record eighth Wimbledon title, Federer returned to the Rogers Cup, where a 16-match win streak came to an end against young German Alexander Zverev in the final. That meant the Swiss suffered a fourth straight reverse in the title round of the only Masters 1000 tournament in Canada.

(6) ATP Finals

Nalbandian claws back a two set deficit to stop Federer in the 2005 ATP Finals title match in Shanghai
Nalbandian claws back a two set deficit to stop Federer in the 2005 ATP Finals title match in Shanghai

Record six-time champion Federer has endured four final defeats at the season ending ATP finals (once at Shanghai 2005 and thrice in London -2012,14-15).

Two-time defending champion Federer arrived in the final of the 2005 ATP Finals in Shanghai, one win away from tying John McEnroe's stunning 1984 win-loss mark of 82-3 and a share of the best win% in a season (96.5).

It had been a magnificent season for the Swiss as he raked up 81 match wins, 11 titles and lost only three times during the season, squandering match points in the Australian Open semifinal against Marat Safin and in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals to French teenager Gasquet before coming up short in a first French Open semifinal against Nadal.

Federer sailed unbeaten through the round robin stage of the ATP finals and faced up against old foe Nalbandian in the final. Two tiebreaks later the Swiss was a set away from tying McEnroe's best start to a season, but Nalbandian would have other ideas.

The Swiss would be denied a third straight ATP Finals title and a share of the best start to a ATP season as Nalbandian triumphed in a deciding set tiebreak.

As the year end tournament moved to London, Federer won consecutive titles (2010-11) but would fall short in his second attempt at a three peat following a straight set defeat to Djokovic.

Federer would come up second best in the title match of the ATP finals on two further occasions, both times against Djokovic, withdrawing before the 2014 final owing to a back injury and losing in straight sets in the 2015 final.

(7) Indian Wells

Federer looks dejected after squandering championship points in the 2018 final against Del Potro
Federer looks dejected after squandering championship points in the 2018 final against Del Potro

Three championship points on serve loomed for defending champion Federer, fresh off a best start to a season (17-0), in the 2018 Indian Wells final against Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro.

Serving for a record sixth title in the Californian desert, Federer arrived at 40-15 in the tenth game of the deciding set, but blinked at the most inopportune moment as both match points went begging. A third championship point arrived the Swiss' way but he would massively rue not converting the same as Del Potro broke back to win his maiden Masters 1000 title in the ensuing deciding set tiebreak.

A year later, in the 2019 final, Federer would fall 5-7 in the third set to another first time Masters 1000 champion Dominic Thiem.

Following three set reverses in the 2014-15 title matches to Djokovic, the loss to Thiem marked the second time Federer came up short in consecutive Indian Wells finals, as the Swiss suffered a fourth defeat in a tournament final for the seventh time in his illustrious career.

(8) Wimbledon

Federer acknowledges the crowd following a heartbreaking defeat in the 2019 Wimbledon final
Federer acknowledges the crowd following a heartbreaking defeat in the 2019 Wimbledon final

Record eight-time champion Federer has had more than his fair share of final defeats at Wimbledon. And none has been more painful than the 2019 title showpiece match where the Swiss arrived at two championship points at 8-7 40-15 in the fifth, only to be thwarted by his old nemesis Novak Djokovic.

The defeat denied Federer a record extending 9th Wimbledon and a 21st Grand Slam title as it marked the fourth time the Swiss failed to get over the line in a title match at SW19.

11 years since Nadal ended Federer's five year reign at Wimbledon in a pulsating 2008 final which ended in near darkness, Djokovic beat the Swiss in consecutive finals in 2014-15 as Federer looked to break a tie with William Renshaw and Pete Sampras's mark of seven titles.

A record eighth title for the Swiss duly arrived in 2017, but heartbreak laid in store for the genial Swiss two years later.

All of the key match stats on the day went Federer's way but not the match itself as Djokovic became the first Wimbledon champion in 71 years to have saved multiple championship points.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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