When Roger Federer plays Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday, it will be his thousandth singles appearance on the tour.
Prize-money from his first 999 singles appearances: 60,999,408 US dollars (going into his quarter-final on Tuesday).
Average prize-money earned per match: 61,060 US dollars.
Average number of aces per match: 7.3
Wins and defeats after 999 appearances: 813-186.
Win percentage: 81.4 per cent
Some favourites from Federer’s 999:
Jon Wertheim, of Sports Illustrated, chose Federer’s victory over Australia’s Scott Draper in the opening round of the 2003 Cincinnati Masters. “I sat courtside. It was a sadistically hot day; it was the event prior to the US Open; Federer had a nagging injury having come right from Canada; Draper was playing well. It was precisely the kind of match a top player is within his right to dog. Federer hit a ridiculous topspin lob to save match point. He grinds out the win in three sets. Nothing dazzling or high stakes. But a real insight into his pride and professionalism.”
Rene Stauffer, Federer’s biographer and the tennis writer for Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger, selected Federer’s victory over Andre Agassi in the 2005 US Open final: “The way he turned it around, in an absolutely crazy and pro-Agassi atmosphere, that was just phenomenal.”
Paul Newman, of The Independent, said his favourite match was the 2008 Wimbledon final, which Federer lost to Rafael Nadal: “The sheer drama of the occasion, combined with the sensational tennis played by both Federer and Nadal, made it one of the most memorable sporting occasions I have been at.” Mike Dickson, of The Daily Mail, opted for the same match: “You cannot look further than the 2008 Wimbledon final, maybe the greatest match ever, but I haven’t seem them all.” Alexandra Willis, of The Tennis Space, also selected that contest: “Even though Federer lost, it was the first grand slam final I had ever seen him play live, and his level was simply extraordinary.”
The early years:
It was up in the Swiss mountains, in Gstaad, in 1998, that Federer made his first appearance on the men’s tour. Federer, who was then aged 17 and ranked outside the world’s top 700, was given a wild card into the main draw, where he lost in straight sets to Lucas Arnold Ker, the then world number 88 from Argentina. For his afternoon in Gstaad, Federer earned just over 5000 US dollars. Ker, who recovered from testicular cancer, no longer has a singles ranking and is on the wrong side of 800 in the doubles game.
Federer’s first win on the men’s tour came in September 1998 when, having received a wild card into a tournament in Toulouse, he defeated France’s Guillaume Raoux, the then world No 45, in straight sets. He would reach the quarter-finals, where he would lose to Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands. Just a few days later, Federer was given a wild card into a tournament in his home town of Basle, and he was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Andre Agassi. “Federer proved his talent and his instinct for the game a few times,” Agassi said, “but for me it was an ideal first round where I didn’t have to do all that much and where I could get accustomed to the new conditions.”
Matches played to break into the top 100:
24, with eight victories and 16 defeats. He broke into the top 100 on 20 September 1999, at number 95.
In February 2000, when he lost to Marc Rosset in all-Swiss final at the indoor tournament in Marseille.
In February 2001, he beat France’s Julien Boutter in the final of the indoor tournament in Milan.
Career titles: 70, including 16 grand slams.
More favourites from Federer’s 999:
Christopher Clarey, of the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, picked out Federer’s defeat of Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of last year’s French Open: “No longer dominant week to week, Federer raised his game to stop one of the great streaks in tennis history and did it just before dark.”
Simon Cambers, of The Tennis Space, chose Federer’s defeat of Lleyton Hewitt in the 2004 US Open final: “Federer annihilated Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0. He lost five points in the first set and I think not many more in the third. It was ridiculous tennis.”
Mark Hodgkinson, of The Tennis Space, selected Federer’s win over Andy Roddick in the 2005 Wimbledon final: “That was the closest to perfection I have ever seen on a tennis court. Federer won in straight sets for his third successive Wimbledon title.”
Active players with a winning record against Federer:
Rafael Nadal, who has won 17 of the 26 matches against Federer.
Andy Murray, who has won 8 of the 14 meetings with the Swiss.
Dominik Hrbaty, currently ranked 709, who won two of his three matches against Federer.
Matches played to reach a million dollars in prize-money:
137, with 78 victories and 59 defeats, after the clay-court tournament in Rome in 2001.
Federer on playing his thousandth match: “How do I feel? I feel good. I feel healthy. I don’t know if I can play another 1,000, though.”
Thanks to Greg Sharko at atpworldtour.com for his help with the statistics.