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Federer joins 'Century Club' as he beats Tsitsipas for 100th career title in Dubai

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 2 Mar 2019
  • Federer secures 100th career title in Dubai
  • Swiss becomes just the fifth player in history and second man to win 100 tour-level singles titles
Roger Federer celebrates his 100th career title in Dubai (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer created more history on Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as he secured his 100th career title with a straight sets win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Federer joins Jimmy Connors (109) as the only men in history to have won 100 tour-level singles titles, along with female champions Martina Navratilova (167), Chris Evert (157) and Steffi Graf (107).

One break of serve in each set was enough for Federer as the Swiss legend registered a 6-4 6-4 victory over Tsitsipas, avenging his Australian Open fourth round defeat to the rising Greek from last month.

“It’s been a long, wonderful journey… I have loved every minute,” Federer reflected in his on-court interview. “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.”

Federer clinched his 100th title in his first final since claiming his 99th trophy at his home event at the Swiss Indoors in Basel towards the end of last season. The 37-year-old won his first ever ATP title when he was just 19 years of age in Milan in 2001, beating Julien Boutter in the final. All of the players who were competing in that Milan draw have retired. Federer captured his 50th title at the Cincinnati Masters in 2007 and last year secured his 20th piece of Grand Slam silverware at the Australian Open.

Roger Federer (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Since winning his debut title in 2001, Federer has won at least one title in every season apart from 2016 - the year he missed half the season with a knee injury. Furthermore, Federer has won at least four titles in 16 of the last 18 seasons - and there’s certainly every chance the Swiss will be able to surpass Connors’ record of 109 if he continues to play through to the 2020 Olympics and beyond.

"I think this one has a deep satisfaction, an immediate one, because I know what it means. I like these type of numbers or records," Federer continued. "A lot of people always emphasize all the Slams and all these things. I play on the ATP Tour. This is where I've won so many of them, been around for so long. I don't rest between Slams all the time, like people think I might be. But I'm not. I think this number proves that. I think that's why this was a very exciting week for me."

While Federer speaks glowingly of breaking records well into the back-end of his career, he also declared breaking Connors’ record isn’t at the forefront of his mind.

“I’m just happy that I’m still healthy, that I’ve got such a wonderful team, my family who have supported me for so, so long. I can’t thank them enough.
“If I reach milestones like this along the way it’s wonderful, but I’m really not here to shatter all the records. What Jimmy did was an unbelievable achievement and he should be proud of that. I’m proud of other things I have done. It was a special evening playing Stefanos and seeing the future coming up. It’s part of the journey.”

Amazingly, almost a quarter of Federer’s 100 titles came in a record-breaking streak of consecutive finals won as he captured 24 straight trophies between October 2003 and October 2005. Old rival David Nalbandian eventually snapped the streak in a fifth-set tiebreak in the 2005 ATP Finals title match. Federer has since gone on to win the season-ending ATP Finals a record six times.

Check out a breakdown of Federer’s 100 career titles below:

Grand Slam titles: 20
ATP Masters 1000 titles: 27
ATP 500 titles: 22
ATP 250 titles: 25
ATP Finals: 6

Joining the ‘Century Club’ by beating one of the rising stars of the sport in Tsitsipas added another element of illustriousness to the achievement.

Having dropped to No. 7 in the world following his Australian Open fourth round loss to Tsitsipas, Federer will rise to No. 4 when the new rankings are released on Monday.

"I didn't come here expecting I was going to win, to be quite honest. I hadn't played since Australia. Just happy on all fronts how my game progressed, how well I played in the final [and] on top of it winning the eighth [title in Dubai and] winning the 100th [tour-level trophy]. So many magical things going on," Federer said. "I'm very, very happy right now."

Federer’s next tournament will be the Indian Wells Masters, which starts on March 7.

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Federer joins 'Century Club' as he beats Tsitsipas for 100th career title in Dubai

Roger Federer created more history on Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as he secured his 100th career title with a straight sets win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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