All arguments, if any, have been put to rest. Roger Federer is definitely G.O.A.T (Greatest of all time). He sealed his 100th career singles title with victory at the Dubai Tennis Championship. He became only the second man, after Jimmy Connors, to reach the landmark. The Swiss maestro has come a long way from being a racquet-smashing teenager to become a universally respected sporting icon. Here, we revisit some of his iconic contests.
Federer was just about arriving on the scene. His talent was unquestionable but his temperament was. Did he have it in him to win a Grand Slam? Federer defeated the much-fancied Andy Roddick en route to the final. In the final, he was pitted against Australian heavyweight Mark Philippoussis. Federer hardly broke sweat whilst defeating Philippoussis. It was his first Grand Slam and just the beginning. His critics, meanwhile, were left in awe at his big-stage temperament.
Until 2009, the one title which eluded Federer’s cabinet was the French Open. Rafael Nadal was the undisputed king of clay and had denied him the title for three consecutive years. In one of the most dramatic upsets in tennis history, Robin Soderling defeated Nadal in the fourth round. With his nemesis out of the way, Federer was a clear favourite this time. Federer zoomed past Soderling in the final in less than two hours to win his only French Open title.
Novak Djokovic was in red hot form coming into the French Open. With a 43-match unbeaten streak, he was predicted to play Nadal in the final. But you don’t rule out the best, do you? Federexpress faced off with Djokovic in the semi-final; a clear favourite. Federer fought tooth and nail, much to the delight of the crowd, and defeated Djokovic. Federer, incidentally, is the last man to beat Djokovic, six months back.
The legendary Bjorn Borg described it as the greatest match ever played, and rightly so. El Nino Nadal and the Master of Grass played out an epic five-setter. Nadal finally breached Fort Federer by winning the match and the title. He had come close to winning the title in 2007 and 2006. However, this time, it was different. This was just a brief setback for Federer. He reclaimed his crown the next year.