With a career littered with impressive achievements, Roger Federer is no stranger to winning, but there are few wins he is more proud of than his 1,000th.
Entering the 2015 Brisbane International tournament in Brisbane, Queensland, Roger Federer had 996 career wins. With a first-round bye, Federer would need to win four matches to hoist the trophy, coincidentally, he was also four wins away from his 1,000th career win.
In his first match, Federer would play the feisty Australian wildcard, John Millman. Although the 25-year-old Millman was ranked 153rd on the ATP Tour, this would be no easy match for Federer considering Millman’s grit and hometown support.
Sure enough, John Millman would prove to be a worthy opponent by taking the first set from Federer, 6-4. Still, the unfazed Federer quickly recouped and took the next two sets 6-4, 6-3. With this, Federer would win his 997th match.
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In the quarterfinals, Federer would be tasked with another Australian, this time the 22-year-old James Duckworth. However, unlike his fellow countryman, John Millman, Duckworth showed little resistance to Federer.
Federer would win the match in the blink of an eye, 6-0, 6-1. Roger now increased his career win total to 998.
The semifinals would be the first real test for Federer, as he would be taking on the 11th ranked Grigor Dimitrov. The previous year, Dimitrov had won three ATP Tour level titles and was an impressive 2-1 against Andy Murray.
Nevertheless, Federer would once again dismantle his opponent and this time would win 6-2, 6-2. This gave Federer his 999th career victory. Meanwhile, on the other side of the draw, the third-seeded Milos Raonic won back-to-back three-setters to meet Federer in the final.
In the championship match, Federer put pressure on the big-serving Raonic early by breaking his serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. That break would be enough for Federer to take the set 6-4 in 31 minutes.
To start the second set, Federer would take the opening game on Raonic’s serve, with a double-fault, as Raonic seemed mentally defeated. Still showing some fight though, Milos managed to break Federer’s serve in the fourth game to knot the set back up at two games apiece.
From there, each player was unbreakable. Due to their flawless serving, Federer and Raonic would go to a tiebreak to decide the winner of the set.
In the tiebreak, Federer would steal the first point on Raonic’s serve with a beautiful inside-in forehand winner following a long rally. And, after winning the first point on his serve, Federer would drop the second one to Raonic who pulled off a great play at the net to pull the tiebreak to 1-2.
Raonic would then win both points on his serve and get another mini-break on Federer’s to go up 4-2 at the changeover. It was all Raonic from then on. He would blast Federer’s next serve past him and follow that with an overhead and service winner to win the tiebreak 7-2.
In the deciding set, the clearly reenergized Milos Raonic put Federer immediately on the ropes by earning an early breakpoint. Even so, the at some points ill-composed, Federer would fight through a long deuce exchange and two more breakpoints to hold his serve.
In the fourth game of the set, Federer would repay Raonic by earning himself two breakpoints. Raonic would answer with a forehand and service winner to take the game to deuce. Eventually, after not converting a couple of game points, Raonic held.
It would continue to be an exchange of great serving, guts, and games of the highest quality to 5-4 Federer. With his back against the wall and serving to stay in the match, Raonic would play a shaky game and lose to Federer on a forehand in the net.
After two hours and thirteen minutes of grueling tennis, an emotional Federer finally got to enjoy his 1,000th career victory.
During the trophy ceremony, Raonic joked with Federer saying, “Also, we all know today was a significant milestone for Roger. When you were warming up, you could hear all of those titles. I honestly thought you were playing for 2,000 match wins today. I think you need to step it up.”
After hoisting the trophy, Federer was presented with a memento from Australian tennis legend, Rod Laver, to remember his 1,000th career match win.
With a grin from ear-to-ear, Federer approached the podium and said, “I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years. So, to get to 1,000 match wins right here tonight in front of you guys, in front of all of you fans, it really means a lot to me.”
“I’ll never forget this match, clearly. So, thank you.”
Finally, in a video, including many former ATP legends, Federer was congratulated for his efforts. Nearly in tears, Federer left the court to roaring applause.
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