Federer is all set to mesmerize International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) fans with his fluid game when he dons the UAE Royals jersey in December. (For tickets to the UAE Royals matches, click here).
But before that, let’s have a look at five of his amazing tennis records could stand the test of time, and which are likely never to be broken:
#5 56 consecutive hardcourt wins
One of the most outstanding streaks of Roger Federer on an individual surface is his 56-match winning record on hardcourts that stretched from Rotterdam in February 2005 till Dubai in February 2006. His win over Bohdan Ulihrach in the Rotterdam first round set off the streak and it was the 19-year-old Rafael Nadal who upended Federer in the 2006 Dubai final, thereby halting his run.
This incredible feat remains the longest hardcourt winning streak in the Open Era.
The fact that Federer never lost on hardcourts for a whole year makes it even more unbelievable when you consider that almost 70% of the tour is played on hardcourts these days. This record thoroughly underlines the former World No. 1’s hegemony during his peak years and his versatility on both outdoor and indoor courts.
The World No. 3 is also the holder of the most number of wins on hardcourt – 660 – but it is his invincibility during 2005-2006 that takes centrestage and makes us appreciate what a genius he truly is!
#4 24 straight finals won
The run began at the 2003 ATP Vienna final where he overpowered Carlos Moya, and ended at the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final where he was upstaged by old foe David Nalbandian in five gruelling sets.
This was a new Open Era record set by Federer; he surpassed the previous record of 12 straight final wins shared by the former World No. 1s Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Due to this astounding streak, the UAE Royals member also had another unprecedented accomplishment in 2004 when he became the first male player ever to win a minimum of 10 titles in a season without losing a single final!
#3 Ranked No. 1 at three consecutive Olympics
One of the better indicators of Federer’s longevity and his high level of play even after turning 30 is the fact that he was ranked World No. 1 and seeded No. 1 at three consecutive Olympics – 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games.
The 17-time major champion was, however, not uninterruptedly at the No. 1 position in the ATP rankings during this eight-year period, as he was usurped by his long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the interim.
But the sheer length of the period during which he was at or near the top of the sport gives a clear picture of Federer’s hunger and desire to compete at the highest level, and his ability to seize the No. 1 spot from rivals far younger than him.
This is a peerless record set by the Basel-born tennis ace and he remains the only player, male or female, in the history of the game to achieve this.
#2 24 consecutive victories vs top 10 opponents
Another of Roger Federer’s unmatched records is his mastery over top 10 opponents during his prime. He prevailed over every player ranked in the top 10 from October 2003 to January 2005.
The mind-boggling 16-month winning streak started at the 2003 Tennis Masters Cup with his win over the then-fifth ranked Andre Agassi, and was snapped by World No. 4 Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open semifinals.
Some of his victims during this stretch included Slam champions Lleyton Hewitt, Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick, Gaston Gaudio, Marat Safin and Juan Carlos Ferrero, apart from Agassi multiple times.
This record stands testimony to the UAE Royals player’s grasp over every surface and his ability to counter every kind of game, and the streak doesn’t look likely to ever be repeated.
#1 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1
Proof of Federer’s supremacy and ruthless domination over the rest of the tour during his heyday lies in the number of weeks he consecutively reigned at the World No. 1 position. The period was a staggering 237 weeks that started on February 2, 2004 and ended on August 17, 2008, when his nemesis Rafael Nadal wrested the top ranking from the Swiss maestro.
Federer has helmed the top spot for a total of 302 weeks during different phases of his career, which itself is another record, but the successive weeks’ record is incredibly impressive whichever way you look at it.
Needless to say, since the inception of the computerized ATP Rankings in 1973, such a prolonged stranglehold of the numero uno spot has never happened, and it looks unlikely to be replicated.