Re-living Federer's 6 title triumphs at the Australian Open
Roger Federer has been a regular fixture at the Australian Open since his debut at the tournament in 2000. Apart from Wimbledon, the Australian Open is the only other Grand Slam tournament Federer has never missed during the course of his illustrious career.
The 'Happy Slam' is one of three tournaments, the others being Wimbledon and the US Open, where the Swiss maestro has played over 100 matches. It is also one of 7 tournaments where Federer has triumphed on 6 or more occasions - a tally which includes Halle (10), Basel (10), Wimbledon (8), Dubai (8), Cincinnati (7) and ATP Finals (6).
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Federer's 97 match wins at the Australian Open is over 29 more than the next best tally of wins at the tournament (Novak Djokovic - 68). The Australian Open holds a special place for Federer as his first title there in 2004 made him the world's top-ranked player for the very first time - a position he would hold for a record period of 237 uninterrupted weeks.
Let us re-live all the occasions when Federer was the last man standing in the first Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar.
#1 2004: Beats Marat Safin 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-2
A semifinal victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero coupled with Marat Safin's win over reigning No. 1 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals meant that Federer was assured of becoming the new World No. 1 regardless of the outcome in his 2004 Australian Open final with Safin.
Safin had taken a circuitous route to his third Grand Slam final, requiring respective five-set wins over Americans Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals and Andre Agassi in the semifinals. Federer, in his second Grand Slam final since his Major breakthrough at 2003 Wimbledon was the fresher of the two finalists, having spent 8 fewer hours on court compared to Safin.
In a competitive opening set, Safin grabbed the first break but Federer broke right back. Following another exchange of breaks between the pair, the Russian had to save two set points serving at 5-6 before Federer upped the ante to take the opener in the ensuing tiebreak.
The heaviness in Safin's legs from his toil during the fortnight became apparent after the opening set. The Russian was second best for large swathes in the remainder of the match. It became a matter of when and not if the newest World No. 1 would celebrate his ascent to the numero uno position by winning his second Grand Slam title in as many attempts.
Federer ensured just that by completing a 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-2 win to become the 22nd different player to win the Australian Open.