#RF65: Looking back at each step of Roger Federer's 65-Slam run (Part 1)

by: Ed McGrogan | July 26, 2016

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Roger Federer's withdrawal from the 2016 French Open earlier this year ended his ironman streak at the Slams—the Swiss had played in a record 65 straight singles main draws. 

Federer returned to major tournament play at Wimbledon—where he reached the semifinals—but on Tuesday he announced that he would miss the remainder of the 2016 season, including the Rio Olympics and the U.S. Open, with a knee injury. In his honor is a recap of the 65 consecutive majors he played in from 2000-2016. Part one, stretching from 2000-07, is below, and part two is here

1. 2000 Australian Open: Federer began his streak as an 18-year-old by defeating 28-year-old Michael Chang, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (5). He'd go on to reach the third round before losing to Arnaud Clement.

2. 2000 French Open: The boy who dreamed of winning Wimbledon wore all-white to Roland Garros in 2000. But he was focused in Paris, reaching the fourth round before losing to dirtballer Alex Corretja in straight sets. Federer collected $41,814 for his efforts, $814 of which surely went to dry cleaning.

3. 2000 Wimbledon: The below video is titled "The King as young prodigy," but Federer wasn't very prodigious at the All England Club in 2000—he lost in the first round to fifth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (6).

4. 2000 U.S. Open: Federer on Grandstand? It happened, and you can watch the entire three-hour match here. But even with Federer ranked No. 40 at the time, it's a bit of a surprise given his match-up with 12th-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero. Both men would go on to great things, but on this day, it was Ferrero who stood taller, winning their third-rounder in a fourth-set tiebreaker.

5. 2001 Australian Open: Again, Arnaud, at the Australian. Federer opened the 2001 Slam season by defeating Arnaud Di Pasquale—his conqueror in the 2000 Olympic bronze-medal match—and then topping a second Frenchman, Nicolas Escude. But Federer's third French foe was a harm, as Clement ousted Federer in straights en route to a runner-up finish.

6. 2001 French Open: Federer made the quarterfinals of a major for the first time 15 years ago in Paris. In all-white everything, he lost to Corretja for the second consecutive year.

7. 2001 Wimbledon: By this point, Federer had made his way into the Top 20, but it wasn't until he upset Pete Sampras on Centre Court that the Swiss became a must-see attraction. It was the first of his many signature performances at the All England Club.

8. 2001 U.S. Open: Federer followed up his Wimbledon quarterfinal run with another major match against an iconic American, Andre Agassi. This time, the veteran defended his turf, with Agassi experiencing few problems in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

9. 2002 Australian Open: With the notable exception of the 2009 Wimbledon final (we'll get to that), Federer has lost more "epics" at the majors than he's won. That trend began with a fourth-round, 8-6 in the fifth defeat to Tommy Haas in Melbourne.

 

10. 2002 French Open: 2002 was not a year to remember for Federer at the majors. Do you remember who beat him in the first round at Roland Garros? It was the man pictured below, Hicham Arazi.

11. 2002 Wimbledon: Federer followed up that early loss with another first-round exit at Wimbledon to 154th-ranked Mario Ancic (who, it must be said, had a power game tailor-made for grass and was a great player in Virtua Tennis).

12. 2002 U.S. Open: The fourth round of a Slam is nothing to sneeze at, but as the No. 13 seed, Federer's straight-set loss to Max Mirnyi in New York felt particularly deflating after a subpar season. But let's not dwell on that, and instead watch the end of his second-round win over Chang:

13. 2003 Australian Open: After cruising into the second week, Federer ran into career nemesis David Nalbandian in the round of 16. In a topsy-turvy match, the Argentine prevailed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

14. 2003 French Open: Federer wasn't done with first-round flops, or struggles in Paris. In 2003, he took a three-set loss to Peruvian Luis Horna, pictured below for his achievement.

 

15. 2003 Wimbledon: The loss to Horna was quickly forgotten a few weeks later in London. There, Federer made—and won—his first Grand Slam semifinal (over Andy Roddick) and first Grand Slam final (over Mark Philippoussis). The pair of straight-sets wins announced Federer as a force in the game, and justified much of the hype he'd generated leading up to this moment.

16. 2003 U.S. Open: Federer at night in Flushing Meadows: It would become a familiar sight, and a third-round match against young American James Blake demanded such marquee treatment. But a round later, Federer would be knocked out by Nalbandian.

17. 2004 Australian Open: Lleyton Hewitt, Nalbandian, Ferrero, Marat Safin: Each of these early-career rivals fell to Federer this time in Melbourne. Nalbandian again posed a challenge in the quarterfinals, but fell in four sets.

18. 2004 French Open: Of all the majors, the French Open has been Federer's most persistent challenge. The two-time Grand Slam champion was put away by three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in '04.

19. 2004 Wimbledon: "Roger Federer, Wimbledon champion—you'd better get used to that," said the BBC's Sue Barker as she interviewed the maiden major winner a year earlier. A year later, Federer and Barker crossed paths again, after the Swiss silenced Roddick's booming serve in the final.

20. 2004 U.S. Open: Federer's first title in New York was punctuated with a rout—6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-0—of Hewitt, but he was nearly knocked out in the quarterfinals by Agassi. Wind and weather wreaked havoc over this multi-day match, which Federer escaped in five sets, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

21. 2005 Australian Open: Here's another one of those epic Federer losses at the Slams—a 9-7 in the fifth slobberknocker (shoutout to wrestling announcer Jim Ross) against Safin, who avenged his defeat the prior year Down Under.

22. 2005 French Open: Rafa arrives. This marks a new chapter in Federer's career, as he squared off against his ultimate rival at a Slam for the first time. Nadal wins—and not for the last time—in a four-set semifinal.

23. 2005 Wimbledon: What was lost in Paris is gained at Wimbledon. Federer wins his third consecutive title, and beats Roddick for the third consecutive fortnight.

24. 2005 U.S. Open: Federer snags his second Slam of the season in New York with a dominant run through the draw. He had entered the prime of his career—Nalbandian could only muster seven games in a quarterfinal loss—and was getting acquainted with the winner's circle in the Big Apple.

25. 2006 Australian Open: The Speech.

26. 2006 French Open: He went one round further time time, but Nadal was there, too, and took out Federer in a four-set title bout.

27. 2006 Wimbledon: We knew about Roger vs. Rafa on clay—but what about grass? Their three-part drama began with Federer asserting his superiority on the slick surface in a four-set final. He took the first set 6-0, but that would be the last time Federer had it easy with Nadal at Wimbledon.

28. 2006 U.S. Open: He had Jimmy Connors and the home crowd in his corner. But the problem for Roddick was, he had to deal with Federer on the court. The American did what he could with his lethal serve, but Federer—now at the peak of his powers—took him down 6-1 in the fourth to collect his third consecutive U.S. Open, his third major of the season and his ninth Grand Slam title.

29. 2007 Australian Open: Federer began another three-Slam season—the third of his career—with an annihilation of the field in Melbourne. He didn't lose a set (which included a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 win over a young Novak Djokovic in the fourth round), and would inspire one of Roddick's best post-match pressers:

30. 2007 French Open: Close...but no cigar, again, for Federer in Paris. The world No. 1 got Nadal into a best-of-three showdown after winning the second set, but from there, the Spaniard turned the tables.

31. 2007 Wimbledon: And then, Federer turned them back around. Playing Nadal in the final for the second consecutive Wimbledon, Federer held off a late push and some tension-filled break points to ultimately dispatch his fast-rising adversary. It was Federer's fifth Wimbledon crown.

32. 2007 U.S. Open: I hate to pick on Roddick, but I'm going to focus on his quarterfinal loss to Federer, as I saw it in person. Roddick actually played some of the best tennis I've seen from him, absolutely pummeling the ball and trading haymakers with the black-clad Swiss. But Federer fended off all of Roddick's best weaponry with stylish, aggressive offense and some defensive plays that must be seen to be believed. A-Rod lost two tiebreakers and, understandably, had nothing left in the third set. He bowed out meekly; Federer would go on to win another U.S. Open.

Part two tomorrow.

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