With this 2017 edition which has been going perfectly for him so far, Roger Federer has become the player who’s won the most matches in London in the Open Era. Let’s look back at the ten most memorable ones.
2015 semi-final, the most surprising one
The world of tennis had been calling the end of Roger Federer’s reign for a few months. He hadn’t qualified for the final in his last three Grand Slam tournaments played. But against Andy Murray, the Swiss produced an unbelievable performance. In front of his crowd, the Brit, who only managed to get a single break point (which he missed) could only surrender in three small sets (7-5, 7-5, 6-4). His 34-year old opponent, who afterwards described this match as one of his best-ever performance, ended the match with 56 winners and eleven unforced errors. An incredible level of play.
2003 final, the most prophetic one
The first of Federer’s seven titles at Wimbledon is often forgotten. Because the final was only a formality (7-6, 6-3, 7-6) ? Maybe. Anyway, on July 7th, 2003, Roger made his childhood dream come true for his fourth participation at London tournament (one quarter final, three first-rounds). « When I was a kid, I would always joke with my friends that one day, I would go on to win Wimbledon, said the winner. Today, it came true, and I can’t believe it. » It was just the start.
2008 final, the most beautiful one
Yes, Federer’s most beautiful match at Wimbledon is a defeat. According to some, it’s even the most beautiful match in the history of tennis. During 4h48, the Swiss and Rafael Nadal offered an absolutely Dantean level of play, with an exciting twist, as the Spaniard lost two sets after winning the first two. After an immense tie-break during which Roger saved two match points, the fifth set came as the grand finale of a match which has remained in everyone’s memories, and which was finally won by Rafa (6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7). « It’s not up to me to say if it’s the best match, said the Spaniard. It was a hard-fought battle. It was tight until the very end. But someone had to win and someone has to lose. There is no draw. » Disappointed, but a beautiful loser.
2009 final, the tightest one
This is the story of a phenomenal Andy Roddick, who only lost his serve once (out of 38 games where he served !). When ? Too bad for him, it occurred during the last game of the match. « Tennis is cruel sometimes », said the miffed American. Especially when Federer is your opponent. Knocked around the court, the king of grass lost the first and third set quite logically, and battled to win the two others (5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 ; longest fifth set in terms of games played in a major final). Pete Sampras and his fourteen Grand Slam titles saw Federer overtake him, and couldn’t believe it : « Roger is a great champion. Is he the greatest ? To me, yes (…). Fourteen titles seemed huge in the 1990’s, but he’s already won fifteen at 27. If he remains fit, he can win twenty titles. » « Excuse me Pete, but I did everything I could », said Roddick afterwards, as he had missed two break point at 8-8. It’s hard to battle against fifty aces.
2001 fourth round, the most symbolic one
19 years old and he already defeated the greatest. In 2001, Wimbledon was only owned by one man, who had just lifted the trophy seven times in the previous eight editions, including in the year 2000. Sampras, obviously. However, the confrontation between the two poets turned into a hard-fought battle before delivering its winner. In the end, the match ended on the score of 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in Federer’s favor. The handover of power had begun. Pete didn’t say the contrary : « His behavior on the court is comparable to mine. He doesn’t let his emotions take over, and remains constant. The young Swiss, on his side, enjoyed the moment : « At the end, it was an extraordinary feeling, which I had never felt before. It’s the greatest win of my life. » And a highly symbolic one.
2007 final, the greatest one
If the 2008 final will forever be remembered, the 2007 edition won’t be forgotten. The technical and tactical quality of this confrontation (mainly in the three first sets) which had become a classic (Federer-Nadal), doesn’t have many equivalents. The Swiss, who appeared to be more lethal in the decisive points (7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2), equalled Björn Borg’s series of five consecutive titles at Wimbledon. Borg, who didn’t miss out on the occasion of congratulating him : « Roger is such an immense champion that I’m proud to see him match my record. The rivalry between him and Nadal enables both of them to produce their best tennis when they’re facing each other. Like in my era, when I was facing Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe. I’ve never played a better tennis than against them. » So, should we say « thank you Rafa » ?
2015 second-round, the most anecdotal one
Only for the eyes. A point, rather than a match in itself (6-4, 6-2, 6-2), which represents the Swiss’ comfort in London. Poor Sam Querrey…
2014 final, the most frustrating one
A match point saved during the fourth set, the same fourth set won 7-5 after losing 5-2…After having lost as early as the second round in 2013, Federer thought he could see revenge one year later, when he was opposed to Novak Djokovic in the final. But the Serb, much superior, didn’t crumble and his mentality allowed him to win the trophy (6/7, 6/4, 7/6, 5/7, 6/4). Defeated by someone who was emotionally stronger than him ? Maybe not. But enough to get angry.
1999 first-round, the first
A losing Roger Federer in the first-round of Wimbledon ? Yes, it’s possible. It even occurred three times. The first one was in 1999, during his first participation, against Jiří Novák, who hadn’t played a single Grand Slam final. Another era. Still, he lost in five sets (6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4).
2017 first-round, the most statistical one
Of course, the Maestro would have preferred a more honorable win. But still, Alexandr Dolgopolov’s withdrawal after 43 minutes of playing time (the score was then 6-3, 3-0 in favor of the Swiss) enabled him to break the record of the number of Open Era Wimbledon wins which was held by Jimmy Connors (85 against 84). And with ten aces, Roger passed the mythical barrier of 10 000 aces in his career. Hats off.
Par Florian Cadu