reports that the 37-year-old Swiss maestro is just the second man after American Jimmy Connors to reach a century of tournament wins, a run he started way back in 2001 in Milan.
“Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me,” he says at the presentation ceremony. “I’m so happy I am still playing. It’s been a long, wonderful journey, and I wouldn’t do it any differently. Of course, it’s tough sometimes to be on the road and away from your friends, but the sacrifice was all very, very worthwhile. We’ll see how much more I have left in the tank.”
Connors – spikier than a porcupine, would go to any lengths to turn a tennis match into psychological warfare. Connors was always railing against line calls or making obscene gestures with his racket handle. He was a magnificent player, a natural contrarian, and a massive pain in the arse for his opponents.
Federer could hardly be more different. Where Connors raged and buffeted like a 5ft 9in dust devil, his successor in the hundred club is serene, sweat-free and – for the most part – impassive. We do occasionally hear him swear, but it is the very incongruity of those moments that makes them stick in the mind.
Can Federer catch Connors’s tally of 109? It is not out of the question. He won four titles last year, and a magnificent seven in his comeback season of 2017 – the one he began by recovering from a break down against Rafael Nadal in the deciding set of the Australian Open final.
But when the question was put to him at yesterday’s presentation ceremony, Federer denies that he has 110 in his sights. “We’re living in a day and age when all the records have to be shattered,” he says. “Not for me. I am just happy I am still healthy.
“I think what Jimmy did was an unbelievable achievement, and he should be proud of that. I am proud about the things I have done. Tonight was a very special evening, playing Stefanos and seeing the future coming up. It’s part of the whole journey.”
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