Brisbane International gives Federer his 1000th win
ROGER Federer didn't need to win the Brisbane International - a feat that saw him become just the third player to register 1000 career wins - to reinforce the fact he is the greatest tennis player of all time.
But by beating Canada's world No.8 Milos Raonic 6-4 6-7 6-4, the 33-year-old Swiss ace surely put to bed any lingering doubts about his place in the game.
Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, even Australia's own legend Rod Laver all have their supporters when it comes to an argument about who stands at the pinnacle.
But Federer's return to the top echelon of the game in the past 12 months, when it seemed he was headed out of the top 10 after a disappointing 2013, has only served to add to the legend of the Swiss master who said he had never set a goal of emulating the number of wins achieved by Lendl (1071), or Connors (1253), the only two players ahead of him on the list.
"Never even thought about it," he said.
"It has not been a goal of mine to reach any of those guys.
"I know how well they've played over the years, how much they've played, and how successful they've played, but it's not a goal of mine in any way.
"Clearly, at this point, I doubt that it's going to happen, but you never know."
The Brisbane International title was the 83rd of Federer's career.
In the modern era, only Connors (109) and Lendl (94) have won more.
When it comes to major titles, however, Federer is the clear leader on 17. Connors and Lendl won just eight each.
Federer may have won 17 majors, but he is yet to win all four - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - in the same year.
Laver stands alone on that front, having achieved the feat twice, as an amateur in 1962 and again as a professional in 1969.
Who knows what Laver could have achieved had he not been banned from grand slam tournaments for five years after turning pro in December 1962.
Despite his resurgence, it is highly unlikely Federer will reach Laver's record of two grand slams, and he will also never emulate the record held jointly by Lendl (1981-91) and Sampras (1992-2002) of having played in at least one grand slam final for 11 consecutive years.
Federer's 10-year-run ended with his victory in the 2012 Wimbledon final.
With that triumph, Federer joined Sampras (Wimbledon) and Nadal (French Open) as the only players in the open era to have won the same grand slam tournament seven times.
Nadal has since added two more French Open titles to his trophy cabinet to stand alone on that count.
The Spaniard also has a 23-10 career record against Federer, thanks largely to a 13-2 superiority on clay.
Despite Nadal's dominance on that surface, Federer did manage to win the 2009 French Open, and is the only player in the open era to win at least 10 titles each on clay, grass, outdoor hardcourt and indoor hardcourt.
At 28, Nadal has time to improve on his 14 grand slam titles, and more victories on surfaces other than clay will give his supporters more ammunition to fire.
In the meantime, the way Federer is playing suggests plenty more wins are in store, maybe even another grand slam.
GRAND SLAM TITLES
- Roger Federer 17
- Pete Sampras 14
- Rafael Nadal 14
- Roy Emerson 12
- Rod Laver 11
- Bjorn Borg 11