Roger Federer amassed 103 victories in his professional tennis player career. The first came in February 2001 in Milan, Italy, when he was 19 years old and defeated Julien Boutter 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4 on an indoor hard court.
The 20 titles that Federer won at Grand Slam competitions are eight at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open, and one at the French. The trophies are a testament to his stellar tennis skills, sheer class and prodigious elegance. On Thursday, Federer announced his retirement at age 41.
Let’s take a look at some of his most magnificent Grand Slam finals:
At the All England Club, Federer won the junior championship in 1998. In the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001, he broke Pete Sampras’ 31-match winning streak, providing another preview of things to come. But until Wimbledon two years later, when he defeated Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) to win his first Grand Slam trophy at age 21, Federer had never advanced past the quarterfinals of a major tournament. “There was pressure from all sides; also from myself,” Federer remarked after the match ended.
U.S. Open 2004
Federer expressed concern about how he would manage the circumstances and distractions in New York while discussing the noise and all of the events there. He defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-0 to win it on his sixth attempt. This was the first occasion since 1884 that the event’s title match featured two shutout sets. “I’m thankful for every competition and Grand Slam I win. Then, Federer observed, “You never know which is going to be your last. At Flushing Meadows, that would be the first of five consecutive victories. In the finals, he defeated Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray, all of whom had won major tournaments and been ranked No. 1 at some point.
French Open 2005
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer first faced off at a Grand Slam in the 2005 French Open semifinals, which Nadal won to claim his first major title at 19. A year later, in Paris, when Federer was 24 and had won all seven of his career’s major championship games, they played in their first Grand Slam final (the best start for a man since the 1880s). Additionally, he had a 27-match big tournament-winning run overall. Although they had already met six times, the stakes in 2006 catalysed what would later develop into a lasting rivalry. Federer and No. 2 were the top-ranked men in the world for the first time since 1984 in the French Open final (Nadal). Nadal defeated Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) by making Federer’s backhand side work extremely hard against his high-bouncing, topspin-laden left forehand. As a result, Federer had a 2006 record of 0-4 against Nadal and 44-0 overall.
Federer entered their most recent battle at Centre Court riding winning streaks of 40 matches at the All England Club and 65 on grass courts after losing to Nadal in three consecutive French Open finals (2006-08) and defeating him in two successive Wimbledon finals (2006-07). Nadal beat Federer at Wimbledon in what many people believe to be the most excellent tennis match in the sport’s lengthy history, defeating him 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 as night fell after 9 p.m. in a 4-hour, 48-minute battle of will as much as skill. Federer admitted this to be his most brutal loss so far.
French Open 2009
By defeating Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in Paris, Federer tied Sampras’ men’s record of 14 major championships and became the sixth man with a career Grand Slam, winning at least one trophy at each of the four major tournaments. Federer made one of his five appearances in the Roland Garros championship match—and his only appearance against a player other than Nadal. Instead, Federer defeated Soderling, the rival of Nadal. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know who was the greatest of all time, but I’m definitely happy to be right up there,” quoted Federer.
Federer defeated Roddick by a slim margin of 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 to win his 15th Slam trophy, breaking Sampras’ record for the most Slam victories by a man. In the 77th and last game, Federer defeated the powerful-serving Roddick for the only time. The fifth set lasted more than 1 1/2 hours in the match’s 4 hours, 16-minute duration. Federer then put on a custom-made white blazer with a gold “15” sewn on the back. “Now, he’s e’s an icon,” said Sampras.
Australian Open 2017
After having surgery on his left knee, Federer took the second half of 2016 off. When he returned, he defeated Nadal at Melbourne Park 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to win his first Grand Slam championship since 2012. Federer trailed by a break in the fifth set but stormed back to win his 18th major with the aid of a 10-point run and a new, flatter backhand. In the Slam finals, Federer was down 0-6 against Nadal going into the day. Federer later said: “This one means a lot to me because he’s caused me problems over the years.”
With less than a month until his 36th birthday, Federer defeated 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in just 101 minutes to win his men’s-record seventh Wimbledon trophy. “Wimbledon was always my preferred tournament,” said Federer, the oldest male winner in the Open era, which started in 1968, declared that it “will always be my favourite tournament.”
Australian Open 2018
6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, Federer defeated Cilic once more to win his third title in a span of five major tournaments and 20th Slam overall. Federer remarked, “The fairytale goes on for us and for me.”
Federer came as near as he could to winning championship No. 9 at Wimbledon and No. 21 overall in Slam competitions. Still, Djokovic defeated him in the All England Club final 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) in the first fifth-set tiebreaker. Federer had two chances to win the championship but failed to take them. He finished with more points overall, winners, aces, and serve breaks. Federer stated, “I don’t want to be depressed about actually watching an amazing tennis match.”