Roger Federer: A tribute to the Swiss legend on his 38th birthday
The peerless Roger Federer, the epitome of sustained excellence, professionalism and longevity, has had an illustrious 21-year career. Amassing a slew of records, the Swiss has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The record 20-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest player in the top 50 and the second oldest in the top 100 behind 81st-ranked 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic.
On the week starting 5th August 2019, Federer has had an ATP singles ranking for 1171 consecutive weeks, bettered only by Feliciano Lopez and Karlovic amongst active players.
The Swiss has been ranked inside the top 100 for a staggering 1038 weeks (1036 weeks uninterrupted since 11th October 1999), which bettered Andre Agassi's erstwhile record of 1019 weeks on 8th April 2019.
Federer's tally of 733 consecutive weeks inside the top 10 is bettered only by Rafael Nadal (745 weeks and counting as on 5th August 2019).
However, the Swiss' tally of 872 weeks inside the top 10 is the best in the Open Era, ahead of Jimmy Connors' mark of 814 weeks.
As Federer turns 38 on 8 August 2019, here's presenting 38 milestones of his memorable tennis journey which continues to transcend the realms of the sport.
01) 22nd September 1997: 16-year-old Federer enters the ATP singles rankings for the first time at no. 803 after scoring 12 points at Switzerland 1 Masters Satellites at Bossonnens.
02) 5th July 1998: Federer beats Irakli Labadze 6-4 6-4 to win the junior Wimbledon singles for his lone junior singles Grand Slam title.
03) 7th July 1998: 702nd-ranked Federer makes his tour debut in Gstaad, losing 4-6 4-6 to Argentinian Lucas Arnold Ker in the first round.
04) 28th September 1998: Federer earns his 1st win in his second tour-level singles match, beating Guillaume Raoux of France in the Toulouse first round.
05) 2nd October 1998: In his 1st career singles quarterfinal in only his second tournament on tour, Federer loses 6-7(5) 2-6 to Jan Siemerink in Toulouse.
06) 15th March 1999: Federer makes his Masters 1000 debut in Miami, losing 5-7 6-7(4) to Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark.
07) 25th May 1999: In his 1st Grand Slam singles match, Federer loses 7-5 3-6 0-6 2-6 to Pat Rafter in the first round of the French Open.
08) 22nd June 1999: 103rd-ranked Federer makes his debut at Wimbledon, but it isn't a happy one as the 18-year-old precocious Swiss goes down 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 to Czech journeyman Jiri Novak in the first round. It was Federer's second first-round defeat in as many Grand Slam singles tournaments.
09) 20th September 1999: At no. 95, Federer enters the top 100 for the 1st time.
10) 16th October 1999: A year after reaching his first singles quarterfinal in Toulouse, 93rd ranked Federer reaches his 1st career singles semifinal in Vienna, going down 3-6 4-6 to Greg Rusedski.
11) 17th January 2000: World no. 62 Federer marks his Australian Open debut with a 1st Grand Slam singles match win, beating Michael Chang 6-4 6-4 7-6(5) in the first round.
12) 14th February 2000: Federer reaches his 1st career singles final in Marseille, losing 6-2 3-6 6-7(5) to countryman Marc Rosset in a deciding set tiebreak.
13) 6th March 2000: At no. 49, Federer breaks into the top 50 of the ATP rankings for the first time.
14) 13th March 2000: A week after breaking into the top 50, Federer plays his last qualifying match at any tournament, going down to Leander Paes of India 5-7 6-1 6-4 in the second qualifying round at Indian Wells.
15) 20th March 2000: Federer wins the 1st of his record 378 Masters 1000 singles matches, beating Justin Gimelstob 7-5 6-3 in the first round in Miami.
16) 29th May 2000: Federer registers the 1st of his 70 match wins at the French Open, beating Wayne Arthurs 7-6(4) 6-3 1-6 6-3.
17) 28th August 2000: 40th ranked Federer marks his US Open debut with a first-round win over Peter Wessels 4-6 4-6 6-4 7-5 3-4 RET.
18) 4th February 2001: In the third tournament final of his young career, Federer wins his first singles title, beating Frenchman Julien Boutter 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 in the Milan final.
19) 6th June 2001: In his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open, world no. 18 Federer comes up short against Spanish dirt baller Alex Corretja 5-7 4-6 5-7.
20) 2nd July 2001: In a proverbial changing of the guard battle of single-handers at Wimbledon, Federer dethrones seven-time champion Pete Sampras 7-6 5-7 6-4 6-7 7-5.
21) 27th October 2001: Federer beats Julien Boutter 7-6(3) 6-4 in the Basel semifinals to register his 100th singles match win.
22) 1st April 2002: In his first Masters 1000 final in Miami, Federer goes down 3-6 3-6 6-3 4-6 to Andre Agassi.
23) 19th May 2002: A month after being thwarted in his first Masters 1000 final, Federer will not be denied at the second time of asking as the 20-year-old Swiss celebrates his first Masters 1000 title by beating Marat Safin 6-1 6-3 6-4 in the Hamburg final.
24) 20th May 2002: Following his first Masters 1000 title triumph in Hamburg the week earlier, Federer breaks into the top ten for the first time.
25) 6th July 2003: Federer beats Mark Philippoussis 7-6(5) 6-2 7-6(3) in the Wimbledon final to win his first Grand Slam singles title, thereby emulating Bjorn Borg, Pat Cash, and Stefan Edberg as the only junior champions to have gone on to win Wimbledon.
26) 12th October 2003: Federer has his first successful title defence in Vienna, beating Spain's Carlos Moya 6-3 6-3 6-3 for his 10th career singles title. The win kickstarted a stunning run of 24 consecutive tournament final wins for the Swiss before David Nalbandian stopped Federer in the final of the 2005 ATP Finals in Shanghai.
27) 16th November 2003: Federer beats Agassi 6-3 6-0 6-4 in Houston to win the first of his record six ATP Finals titles.
28) 2nd February 2004: Following his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, Federer becomes the 23rd player in the Open Era to ascend to the top of the world rankings.
29) 20th April 2007: Federer beats David Ferrer 6-4 6-0 in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals to register his 500th career singles match win, thereby becoming the second active player at that time to do so, after Carlos Moya (516 wins).
30) 8th July 2007: Federer downs Nadal 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(3) 2-6 6-2 in a pulsating final to tie Bjorn Borg's record of 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles.
31) 11th August 2008: Federer celebrates his record 237th consecutive week at no. 1 before he is dethroned from the top spot by Nadal the following week.
32) 8th September 2008: Federer wins his 5th consecutive US Open title by beating Andy Murray 6-2 7-5 6-2 in the final.
33) 7th June 2009: Federer beats Soderling 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 in the French Open final to win a record 15th Grand Slam title, in the process downing Sampras' long-standing mark of 14 Grand Slams and becoming only the third player in the Open Era to win a career Grand Slam.
34) 11th January 2015: Federer beats Raonic 6-4 6-7(2) 6-4 in the Brisbane final for his 83rd singles title and 1000th match win, joining an exclusive club of Connors (1274) and Ivan Lendl (1068) to have registered four-digit singles match wins in the Open Era.
35) 16th July 2017: For the first time, Federer goes through a Wimbledon campaign without dropping a set as the Swiss downs Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1 6-4 in the final to win a record 8th Wimbledon singles title, in the process breaking a tie with Sampras and Renshaw's marks of 7 titles apiece.
36) 19th February 2018: A 97th career singles title at Rotterdam makes Federer the oldest world no. 1 in the Open Era.
37) 2nd March 2019: Federer wins his 100th singles title in Dubai by beating his Australian Open conqueror Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 in the final. Only Jimmy Connors (109 titles) now lies ahead of the Swiss in the all-time singles title list.
38) 10th July 2019: Federer beats Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-4 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to become the first player to register 100 match wins at Wimbledon, and for that matter at any tournament.
As one looks forward to more such milestones from the great Swiss, may the silken one-handed backhand wielder continue to delight connoisseurs and purists alike!
Happy 38th Birthday Roger!