The Year Roger Federer Became A Legend

Prime Roger Federer Was Unbeatable

From 2003 to 2009, Roger Federer:

  • won 15 Grand Slam titles (6 Wimbledon, 5 US Open, 3 Australian Open, 1 French Open).
  • won 520 of his 588 matches (88%).
  • won 72 of his 73 matches on grass-courts (99%).
  • was the year-end No. 1 5/7 of those years and was the No.2 the other 2 years. 
  • won 57 ATP titles and made 75 ATP finals. 
  • went to the finals of 61% of the tournaments he played in.

Needless to say, these statistics are nearly unmatched by any player ever. In his prime, Roger Federer was a machine when it came to winning tennis matches. Imagine playing Roger on a grass-court during this time. You might as well not show up. The only match he lost was at the 2008 Wimbledon final against Rafael Nadal (most people consider this the greatest match of all time). And, grass wasn’t the only surface Federer performed well on. Even though Nadal was very dominant on clay, Federer managed to win 85% of his matches on the surface, proving his dominance regardless of the surface. But, what year was Roger Federer’s best? From 2003-2009, Federer was in his prime, but which year was his best?

Before Roger Federer Was Roger Federer

In 1998, Roger Federer began playing on the ATP tour and went 2-3 in 3 tournaments. Then, from 1999-2002, Federer played in 88 tournaments and made it to 10 finals, winning 4 of them. Finally, in 2003, Federer won his first of 20 Grand Slams by defeating Mark Philippoussis at Wimbledon. Although you might not have known it then, this was the start of something special.  

Then, from 2004 to 2005, Federer won the Australian Open and two Wimbledon and US Open titles apiece. An interesting side note to his 2004 US Open victory against Lleyton Hewitt is that it was his 300th career victory. Also, in those years, Federer only lost one time in a finals match. It occurred at the ATP Finals against David Nalbandian in his twenty-third, and last, finals appearance of that stretch. However, this five-set loss could be chalked up as an anomaly because Federer was still recovering from tearing several ligaments in his ankle and David Nalbandian was on fire. So, by 2005, Federer was already a force to be reckoned with, but what about the next year cemented Federer’s legacy?

The Year Roger Federer Became A Legend

In 2006 Roger Federer won ninety-two matches and lost only five, a 95% win rate. But, four of those five losses came in finals matches, and all of those losses came to Rafael Nadal. To be fair, three of those four losses to Rafael Nadal came on clay where Rafa is nearly “unbeatable”. Moving on from his losses, out of the seventeen tournaments that Federer competed in, he made it to sixteen finals matches. The only tournament he didn’t make the finals of was the Cincinnati Masters where he lost in the round of thirty-two to Andy Murray. Out of those sixteen finals, Federer won twelve titles. To end the season he won five straight championships including the US Open and Masters Cup (now the ATP Finals). During the season, he went undefeated on grass, carpet, and in indoor tournaments. Finally, the cherry on top for Federer was his third-straight year-end number one. Was this Federer’s best year ever? Well, technically that is up to debate. But, undoubtedly, 2006 was the year Roger Federer became a legend.

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