Currently, tennis fans know Roger Federer as one of the three greatest men’s tennis players along with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. There was a time, however, when Federer stood alone as the best. The Swiss athlete is still a great tennis player, but during his prime he was unmatched. Federer even holds two Grand Slam records that will likely never be broken.
Roger Federer’s career overview
Before diving into Federer’s records, let’s look at his whole resume. Although the Swiss star shows little sign of stopping, when he does retire he’ll go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Here’s what he’s done over the course of his incredible career:
- Five-time No. 1 player in the world (2004-2007, 2009)
- Overall win-loss record of 1,227-267
- Grand Slam record of 357-58
- 20 Grand Slam titles
- 102 overall titles
- 221-119 record versus top-10 players
Federer’s results aren’t quite what they used to be. But there’s one component of his “decline” to consider before writing him off. Federer is 38 years old, ancient in tennis years. He’s played since 1998. He’s still ranked third in the world, he won a Slam event just last year (the Australian Open), and he made it to the finals of Wimbledon 2019 before falling to Djokovic.
While the “old man” continues to play well and rack up endorsement deals, two of his feats will likely immortalize him forever.
Federer’s two Grand Slam records
He swept the U.S. Open and Wimbledon for four straight years (2004-2007)
The Swiss star won Wimbledon five years straight (2003-2007) and the U.S. Open five years’ straight (2004-2008). Both streaks in and of themselves are records. But what’s most impressive is that both occurred during the same timeframe.
While at least one player has been as dominant for the same stretch at one Slam (Rafael Nadal at the French Open), no player has ever dominated two at roughly the same time like Federer. As good as he is now, it’s truly indicative of how great he was in the mid-2000s during his prime.
He reached 18 of 19 Grand Slam event finals from 2005-2010
Another record Federer holds is that he qualified for the finals in 18 of 19 Grand Slam events from 2005-2010. Bleacher Report outlined why that’s so impressive:
From Wimbledon 2005 through Australia 2010, the Swiss Maestro failed to reach a major final in only the 2008 Australian Open. It’s even more astonishing when we sometimes think of 2008 as an “off year,” and we are not even looking at a three-major year like 2004.
In a sport where it’s already ridiculously hard to reach a Slam event final, Federer was a constant presence at them for nearly six years. To put this in context: Djokovic is the closest thing the current men’s game has to mid-2000s Federer. He has already missed two Slam finals this year.
Federer’s other records
The 38-year-old also holds the current record for most Grand Slam events won with 20. Someone may come along and win as many of these as Federer. Djokovic has 16 and could surpass 20 in a few years. Nadal has 19 and being five years’ Federer’s junior means it’s nearly a certainty he’ll surpass him. But aforementioned records will never be equaled. This kind of dominance is what makes Federer’s career singularly great.