The new season is barely into its second week but the incomparable Roger Federer has already passed another major milestone. In beating Milos Raonic to claim the Brisbane International title, the 33-year-old Swiss became just the third man in the Open era to win 1,000 tour-level matches. The only men ahead of him are Jimmy Connors (1,253 wins) and Ivan Lendl (1,071).
“It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won, because I never thought about anything, reaching 500 or 800,” Federer said after his 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory. “All those numbers didn’t mean anything to me, but for some reason 1,000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just counting to 1,000 is going to take a while.”
Having played and won more matches in 2014 than any other man on the tour, Federer has established himself as one of the favourites to win the Australian Open, which begins next week.
In hot and humid conditions, the world No 2 survived a fiercely competitive final. Raonic, who has beaten the Swiss only once in their nine meetings, had hit 34 aces in his semi-final victory over Kei Nishikori, but this time it was the big-serving Canadian who was outgunned.
When Federer broke in the opening game of the second set it seemed the end might be swift, but Raonic held on. The world No 8 broke back and made an even more impressive comeback in the tie-break, which he won 7-2 despite losing the first two points. The deciding set was tight, but Raonic went match point down with a double fault and then netted a forehand.
Two Australian legends were on hand to honour Federer’s achievements. The tournament trophy was handed to him by Roy Emerson, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, while Rod Laver, the only man to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same year on two occasions, presented him with a framed memento to mark his 1,000 wins.
Federer’s victories have been spread over 18 seasons and have seen him beat 275 different opponents from 53 different countries. Americans have been his most frequent victims (210), followed by French (102) and British (101). He has 83 titles to his name; Connors and Lendl, with 109 and 94 titles respectively, are the only men to win more in the Open era.
Jamie Murray was also celebrating in Brisbane after partnering John Peers to victory in the doubles. The Scot and the Australian, who began their season by knocking out the top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, did not drop a set all week and rounded off their tournament with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov.
It was the fifth title Murray and Peers have won together, though it was their first since they beat Britain’s Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins in the final in Munich eight months ago. “We had a great week,” Murray told the ATP’s official website. “We won four very good matches against top-level opponents.
“It’s good to start the year with a title. You couldn’t really ask for anything more. It shows each other that we obviously did a lot of hard work in the off-season.”
Aljaz Bedene, a 25-year-old Slovenian who is hoping to be granted a British passport, was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Stan Wawrinka in the final of the Chennai Open. The world No 156 had never reached a final on the main tour.
Bedene qualified with three victories over Indian players and then claimed four notable scalps in the main draw, including two top 20 players in Feliciano Lopez (No 14) and Roberto Bautista Agut (world No 15).
Britain’s Jonny Marray won his only tour-level doubles title other than his 2012 Wimbledon crown when he partnered Yen-Hsun Lu, of Chinese Taipei, to a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Raven Klaasen and Leander Paes in the Chennai final.
Britain’s Johanna Konta lost in the last round of qualifying for this week’s Sydney International, going down 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to France’s No 67-ranked Kristina Mladenovic.Reuse content