How great Federer stacks up as he eyes 100th title
ROGER Federer heads to London’s 02 Arena this week attempting to seal the 100th singles title of his career. The Swiss star will be among the favourites at the season-ending event as he bids for a century of ATP Tour crowns.
Here, we look at where Federer’s haul puts him in relation to other greats of the game and reflect on some of the milestones of his career.
First title on the board
Federer’s first ATP Tour success came back in 2001 at an indoor tournament in Milan.
The then 19-year-old, who was seeded seventh for that tournament, defeated Frenchman Julien Boutter in the final to claim his first title.
It was an event that included the likes of Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, so victo- ry represented a big step in the career of the promising young Swiss.
Federer really caught the eye at Wimbledon later that year. He came up against four-time defending champion Pete Sampras in the last 16 and triumphed in a five-set epic. His tournament ended in the quarters with defeat to Britain’s Tim Henman.
But it was clear that Federer was a player to watch and he began to rack up the tour titles. Three came in 2002 and he bagged seven more in 2003 — including his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
Victory in the final over Australia’s Mark Philippoussis set Federer on a run of dominance at SW19 that would see him win five Wimbledon titles in a row — a run ended by Rafael Nadal in 2007 in arguably the greatest final of all time.
Federer surpassed Pete Sampras’ tally of Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon in 2009 and would break the American’s Wimbledon record by winning his eighth title there in 2017.
The Australian Open at the start of 2018 was his 20th Grand Slam title and the 96th singles title of his career.
Federer turned 37 in August, with total career prize money of over $118million to his name, but he has shown no sign of stopping yet.
Where does Federer stand
on the all-time list?
Remarkably, 99 titles is only enough to claim second place on the all-time list of singles winners in the men’s game.
Jimmy Connors tops that list with his incredible haul of 109 titles, the last of which came in Tel Aviv in 1989. The American, who won eight Grand Slams, was at his most productive in 1976, racking up an astonishing 12 titles.
Ivan Lendl is third with 94 titles, while one of Federer’s biggest rivals Rafael Nadal sits fourth.
Nadal currently has 80 singles titles to his name, including 11 French Open wins and, aged just 32, could conceivably move up the list in years to come.
John McEnroe completes the top five, with 77 singles titles.
What chance does he have of beating Jimmy Connors’ record?
Federer is currently 10 adrift of Connors’ haul. The Swiss has surprised many with his longevity and he appears to be as fit and as in form as he has ever been.
That said, he would likely need to play on at the top level for another few years to edge ahead of Connors in the standings.
He claimed seven titles in 2017 but has just the four so far this year. At that rate, if Federer is able to maintain the standard he continues to set, it would take another couple of seasons to get close to the 109 titles.
For the last couple of years Federer has also chosen to skip the entire clay court season to focus on other surfaces and, understandably, does not enter as many tournaments as he used to.
While nobody would be foolish enough to suggest Federer will not make it past 109, Connors can breathe fairly easily for now.
How likely is Federer to get his
100th title in London?
Federer is seeded second for the ATP Tour Finals following the withdrawal of Nadal. He will, as always, enter as one of the favourites although Novak Djokovic will be the man to beat on the hard court — especially having defeated Federer at the recent Paris Masters.
Such is the nature of the beast with the season-ending Tour Finals, the best players in the world are competing, making life especially difficult for Federer.
He has been drawn into the Lleyton Hewitt group alongside Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem.
Federer, who has won two ATP Finals titles, will expect to at least reach the latter stages once again RYAN Burnett has received a major boost as his back injury is nowhere near as bad as first thought and a return to the ring in 2019 is expected.
After losing his WBA World bantamweight title last Saturday night when retiring at the start of the fifth round due to what was a slipped disc, it has been learned that the Belfast man tore a muscle.
In a statement on social media, Burnett said: “I am absolutely gutted not to be World Champion. This scenario was totally out of my control, but I understand injury is the difficult part of sporting life.
“My assessments have been completed, and diagnosed that I have torn muscle fibres in my right internal oblique, where a portion of the muscle has also detached from the bone where it inserts.
“This is not a career-ending injury, but it is one that will require intensive treatment and rehabilitation. I will pick myself up, make myself strong again, and get back to where I believe I belong, as champion of the World.”
Meanwhile, Tony Bellew claims he would have been “haunted” had he turned down tonight’s clash with undisputed world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Bellew said: “If it was about money I could have fought a much lesser fighter and earned much more. I took this fight — it is the biggest challenge of my life.”
Grand feeling: Roger Federer sets a new Grand Slam record haul at Wimbledon in 2009 while (inset, far left) winning his first in 2003 and (inset, left) winning his 20th Major at theAustralian Open in January