A look at Roger Federer's greatest Grand Slam triumphs on his 37th birthday
On 8th August, 1981, a young boy was born to a middle-class family in Basel. Fast forward 37 years and that very boy is arguably the greatest to have ever graced the game of tennis.
The Swiss maestro had a decent start to his tennis career as he won the Wimbledon juniors’ singles and doubles titles in 1998, in addition to reaching the US Open juniors final. However, he shot to prominence with his epic 5-set win over Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. To many people, it was a shock but to the eagle-eyed tennis enthusiasts, this represented a changing of the guard.
In a couple of years’ time, Roger Federer returned to SW19 and captured his first Grand Slam, defeating the Australian, Mark Phillippoussis in the final. He never looked back after his first victory in London and has 8 Wimbledon crowns in his kitty. To supplement this, he has won the Australian Open 6 times, the US Open 5 times and the French Open once.
Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Federer is showing no signs of letting up and won his 6th Australian Open at the start of the year. Tennis fans would hope that Federer never hangs up his racquet.
On the occasion of his 37th birthday, I would like to take a trip down memory lane and relive 5 of his greatest Grand Slam triumphs.
5. 2004 US Open
By the time Federer arrived at Flushing Meadows, he had already laid his hands on the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He came into the tournament as the red-hot favourite and he didn’t disappoint.
He combined his precise serve, his razor-sharp backhand and his powerful forehand to sweep aside each and every obstacle in his path. Before 2004, Federer had never crossed the ‘Round of 16’ barrier in New York. However, he did so comfortably this time round, beating Costa, Baghdatis and Santoro in the first three rounds before getting a walkover in the fourth.
He faced his toughest test in the quarter-final against the old war-horse, Andre Agassi. With the match deadlocked at 2 sets apiece, Federer brought his A-game to the fore in the final set, winning 6-3. He dispatched Tim Henman with ease in the semi-final, winning in straight sets.
History beckoned for Federer. If he won the final, he would become the first man since Mats Wilander in 1988 to win three Grand Slams in a calendar year. He made the record his own and in some style. Federer waltzed past Lleyton Hewitt in the final, beating him 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 and thus bringing Hewitt’s 16-match unbeaten run to a grinding halt.
With this victory, Federer had signalled to each of his rivals that he intended to dominate the tennis landscape for years to come. The 2004 US Open makes the list for the sheer authority displayed by Roger in clinching the title.