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Federer joins an elite club

Last updated on: June 21, 2010 22:25 IST

Federer joins an elite club

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Roger Federer's come-from-behind win over Colombian Alejandro Falla in the first round at Wimbledon put him in elite company, writes Bikash Mohapatra.

Another Grand Slam, another record.

Roger Federer doesn't seem tired (read content) of his many achievements. He simply wants more.

The top seed's 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0 win over Colombia's Alejandro Falla in the first round of Wimbledon was only the sixth instance in 875 matches that the Swiss overcame a two-set deficit in his illustrious career.

It also made him just the fifth player to win 200 Grand Slam matches in his career. The Swiss ace's match record at Grand Slams now stands at 200-28.

Federer had, at the recently-concluded French Open, become just the 10th player ever to register 700 career match wins.

However, a shock quarter-final defeat at the hands of Swede Robin Soderling, prevented him from achieving a second record -- the one mentioned above -- at Roland Garros.

Falla made it tough for the Swiss but couldn't deny Federer the glory.

It was the third time in consecutive tournaments, after the French Open and Halle, that the Swiss top seed played Falla and won for the the third successive time.

And it was probably just that the Swiss achieved his latest feat in a tournament that has helped him achieve a lot, on a surface he is more dominant than any contemporary player.

Federer's Open Era record of 65 consecutive match wins on grass (from Halle in 2003) came to an end when he lost the 2008 final to rival Rafael Nadal.

However, the Swiss is 77-2 on grass since 2003 and is bidding to become only the third player -- after William Renshaw and Pete Sampras -- to win a seventh men's singles title at the All England Club.

As Federer bids to equal yet another record, we celebrate the one he equalled on Monday and take a look at the other members of the elite club which the Swiss has just joined.


Image: Roger Federer
Photographs: Reuters
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Connors heads the pack

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Jimmy Connors (233-49)

The American legend had nearly a two-decade long career.

So it doesn't come across as a surprise to find him as the player with most match wins in major tournaments.

Connors won the US Open a record five times and Wimbledon in 1974 and 1982.

He also won the Australian Open in 1974 -- in fact, that year he won three of the four major titles.


Image: Jimmy Connors

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Agassi: A career with many ups and downs

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Andre Agassi 224-53

Andre Agassi's pro career was similar to Connors in many aspects.

The American was also active for almost two decades and had many ups and downs in his career.

Having lost his first three major finals, Agassi broke the drought when he edged out Goran Ivanisevic in the 1992 Wimbledon final.

The maverick American went on to win the French Open in 1999, the US Open (in 1994 and 1999) as well as four Australian Open titles.

This makes Agassi one of the five players to have won all the four major titles.


Image: Andre Agassi

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Lendl won everything, save Wimbledon

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Ivan Lendl  (222-49)

The Czech-born American had 40 titles to his credit before he eventually ended his drought in majors.

That came in the 1984 French Open, when he overcame a two-set deficit to beat American John McEnroe in five sets.

The win was significant considering the rampant McEnroe lost just three matches that year.

Lendl added two more French titles (in 1986-87), three successive US Open titles (1985-87) and consecutive Australian Open crowns (1989-90) to his resume thereafter.

However, he failed to win the coveted Wimbledon title.

And that remained the lone blot in an otherwise illustrious career.


Image: Ivan Lendl

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Sampras won a whopping 14 major titles

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Pete Sampras 203-38

The most dominant player of the 1990s, Pete Sampras won a whopping 14 major titles, including Wimbledon a record seven times and the US Open on five occasions.

The American also triumphed at the Australian Open on two occasions (1994, 1997).

However, like many players before him -- Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker to name a few -- the French Open remained elusive for the American.

The 2002 US Open, the final tournament he featured in, not only helped the American end his career with a flourish but the seven straight wins en route to the title also helped him surpass the 200 match wins barrier at the majors.


Image: Pete Sampras

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