Roger Federer has secured his 100th singles victory on the ATP tour and becomes only the second male player in tennis history to win a century of tournaments.
The Swiss star, 37, beat Greek 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 at the Dubai Tennis Championship on Saturday to bring up his milestone – exactly 6,000 days after winning his first title in Milan in 2001, the BBC reports.
Speaking after his eighth career victory in Dubai, the 20-time grand slam champion said: “It’s been a long, wonderful journey… I have loved every minute. It’s been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank. Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me.”
Jimmy Connors holds the record for 109 career singles titles and the American icon, 66, was pleased to see Federer join him in an exclusive club.
“Welcome to the ‘Triple Digit’ tournament victory club @rogerfederer – I’ve been a bit lonely – glad to have the company,” Connors tweeted.
Despite joining Connors in the century club, the Daily Express reports that Federer believes the 109 record will be impossible to break.
The world No.4 said: “Look what Jimmy did, that’s very special. No doubt about it. He played for a long time, won the US Open on three different surfaces.
“That won’t be possible for us, for our generation, because it’s stuck on hard courts now. [He has] so many cool records that can never be broken or achieved.
“I know a lot of people are going to say, ‘Now you have to reach Jimmy Connors’ record!’ But I’m not that kind of a guy even though people might think I am.
“I draw inspiration from it but I’m not here to shatter every record out there. He’s a special player and a special legend in the sport. If he keeps that record, it’s all good. I’m just happy to have reached 100 in my career.”
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer celebrates his win at the Dubai Duty Free Championships
Road to 100: The BBC says that with his win in Dubai, Federer’s 100 titles have come in 19 years, 30 cities and 19 countries.
His most successful tournaments have been in Basel, Switzerland, and Halle, Germany, where he has won nine times, while eight of his 20 grand slams have been at Wimbledon.
Federer also has six Australian Open titles, five US Opens and one French Open victory to his name.
The BBC’s Matthew Henry said: “Saturday’s victory in Dubai moves Federer one closer to Connors’ record of 109 titles, won between 1972 and 1989. It also edges him further ahead of Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal and John McEnroe, who are third, fourth and fifth respectively on the all-time list.
“Fifteen-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic has won 73 titles, while Britain’s Andy Murray is 14th with 45.”