So Roger Federer now has more match victories at grand slams – 234 – than any other man, as by reaching the third round at Roland Garros he moved past Jimmy Connors on 233. What records are there left for him to break, and what are his chances of doing so?
Equalling and passing Jimmy Connors’s record of 109 career titles.
Chances of success: Slim. With his 74 career titles, Federer needs another 36 tournament victories if he is to move past Jimbo, and you have to wonder whether he has enough time left in his career to do that. For the past four or five seasons, Federer has been averaging around four titles a year (way down from his peak years between 2004 and 2006 when he won 11 or more a season), so if he continues at that rate, he would have to play until his 40th birthday if he is to have a chance to break this record. There is a chance that Federer could play through another four-year Olympic cycle – he said recently that he could compete at the 2016 Rio Games – but as time goes by, he is going to have to put even more emphasis on trying to peak for the bigger tournaments. That makes it less likely that he will pick up the smaller titles.
Equalling and passing Pete Sampras’s record of 286 weeks as the world No 1.
Chances of success: Fair. Federer needs just one more week at the top of the tree to equal Sampras. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Swiss could end the summer as the world No 1. Currently ranked third, he is helped by the double-header at the All England Club of Wimbledon and the Olympics.
Joining Andre Agassi as the only man to have won all four slams, the Olympic singles title, the year-end championships, and the Davis Cup title.
Chances of success: Slim. Federer is often described as the man who has it all. He doesn’t. He has all four grand slam titles, but doesn’t yet have an Olympic singles title, and hasn’t won the Davis Cup. It is not difficult to picture Federer standing on the podium on Centre Court this summer, but you need more imagination to conjure up an image of Federer leading Switzerland to Davis Cup success. While Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss No 2, is a good Robin to Federer’s Batman (they won the doubles gold together in Beijing four years ago), Switzerland has nothing like the strength in depth of Spain. This year, Switzerland even lost to the United States on a clay court in Switzerland.
Equalling and passing Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon titles.
Chances of success: Good to equal the record, fair to pass it. Since winning the 2009 final against Andy Roddick – a match he could easily have lost – Federer has not gone beyond the quarter-finals. In 2010 he was out-hit by Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals, and last summer he turned a two-set lead over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in their quarter-final, into a five-set defeat. That said, Federer knows more than anyone on the tour about how to perform on Centre Court, and this could be summer when he matches his American friend’s record of seven victories.
Holding all four grand slam titles at the same to emulate Rod Laver’s calendar-year grand slam of 1969.
Chances of success: Close to zero. Twice Federer was on a 27-match run at the grand slams, and twice he was stopped by Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open. Federer can win more slams, adding to his collection of a record 16, but it is hard to believe that he will ever hold all four majors at the same time. Not even the most committed of Federer fans believe that the 30-year-old can go around the grand slam block.