History in the Making

With his 6-4, 6-4 straight set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Dubai Open, Roger Federer became the second player in men’s singles history to reach 100 ATP wins and is now second only to Jimmy Connors with 109 ATP wins.

Roger Federer continues to rewrite the history books of tennis. After avenging his Australian Open loss to rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas with a 6-4, 6-4 straight set victory, a jubilant Federer raised his arms in celebration after capturing his record extending eighth Dubai Open title. However, despite the number eight being the Swiss legend’s favorite number, the number 100 was the real story of the night. With his newest Dubai title, Federer has now won an astounding 100 titles on the ATP Tour, trailing only Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors with 109. In order to truly understand Federer’s dominance over his two decades on tour, it helps to break down that 100 into smaller numbers.

20: When debating the rank of the game’s all-time greats, the most used metric is number of major titles won. This is an area that many Federer supporters point to when explaining why Federer is the greatest player of all time. His 20 major titles stand alone as the most ever for a male in the open era, ahead of rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with 17 and 15, respectively.

8: With the exception of the French Open, winning just one title in 2009, Federer has won the other three majors a minimum of five times. Of the three, though, his most dominant major throughout his career has been Wimbledon. The pristine All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club has been very kind to Federer throughout his career. He holds the record for most finals appearances with 11 and, more importantly, the record for most titles with eight. Armed with his consistently excellent serve and sublime court vision, Federer is undoubtedly the greatest player to ever step foot on a grass court.

0: Part of the reason for Federer’s sustained excellence is his dedication to the health and fitness portion of the game. Over his nearly 1500 matches, he has never retired from a match. Considering the immense physical toll the game takes on one’s body, never pulling out of a match due to injury is one of Federer’s greatest accomplishments. With many of his top rivals, including Nadal and Djokovic, having to pull out of tournaments and be absent for extended time periods of time with various injuries, Federer’s ageless body has allowed him to stay ahead of the competition.

37: To Roger Federer, age is nothing but another number. What truly makes Federer the greatest player of all time is not just his excellence, but his sustained success over his two plus decades on tour. The journey has not been easy either. Like other pros on tour, Federer has faced his fair share of trials and tribulations. However, what has separated him from his contemporaries is his ability to stay true to himself while still evolving as a player. From switching to a bigger racquet to get more power on his one-handed backhand to coming to the net at a higher rate, Federer has never been satisfied with the status quo. His unrelenting pursuit of success combined with his near perfect technique has not only made him the greatest tennis player of all time, but also thrust him squarely into the conversation of greatest athlete of all time.

Contact Zachary Schiller at zschiller@colgate.edu.

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