Rafael Nadal has welcomed the news that Novak Djokovic will be free to compete at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was at the centre of controversy in January following his attempts to play in this year's tournament in Melbourne despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19, and the 21-time grand slam winner was eventually deported after having his visa cancelled on public health grounds.

However, Djokovic recently confirmed he will be free to play in the 2023 Australian Open after his three-year ban from entering the country was overturned.

Nadal and Djokovic have dominated tennis along with the now-retired Roger Federer for much of the last two decades, and the Spaniard was pleased to hear of his rival's availability to compete.

"I always said the same; tennis is better when the best players are on the court," he said. "At the end we don't have to create many stories. Even if it was a big mess what happened last year in Australia, it was not good for our sport.

"That was the past. Roger is not playing any more. I missed a lot of grand slams [with] injuries. Last year, Novak was not able to play there.

"That's the past. What's next is Novak will be able to play again. That's the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control it seems around the world. So why not? Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That's it."

Nadal beat Casper Ruud in his final game at the ATP Finals on Thursday.

Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will be free to play in the 2023 Australian Open after his three-year ban from entering the country was overturned.

Djokovic was at the centre of huge controversy in January following his attempts to play in Melbourne despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19.

The 21-time grand slam winner was eventually deported after having his visa cancelled on public health grounds. 

He was initially allowed to enter the country in spite of his vaccine status, amid widespread furore over his apparent flaunting of strict regulations.

His deportation resulted in an automatic three-year ban. However, with the vaccine mandate that was in place earlier this year no longer a barrier for Djokovic, the decision has been made by immigration minister Andrew Giles to hand him a visa.

Speaking at the ATP Finals in Turin on Wednesday, Djokovic confirmed the decision, saying: "Well, of course, I was very happy to receive the news yesterday.

"It was a relief, obviously, knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia. I could not receive better news for sure – during this tournament as well."

Djokovic has won the Australian Open singles title nine times in his career, last doing so in 2021 when he beat Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Rafael Nadal is not certain he will return to his very best form and full fitness in 2023 – but he has no doubt he will give it his very best shot.

The veteran Spaniard went down 6-3 6-4 to Felix Auger-Aliassime on Tuesday at the ATP Finals, his second defeat in the round-robin group stage and a fourth consecutive loss overall.

This season began in stunning style for Nadal as he won the Australian Open and followed that with a 14th French Open title, taking his tally of grand slams to 22 - a record haul for a male singles player.

However, Nadal has a serious ongoing foot problem, and the 36-year-old had to withdraw from Wimbledon prior to a semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after suffering a torn abdomen.

Injuries have prevented him playing a full season, and he was clearly not at his best against Auger-Aliassime, who has Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, on his coaching team.

Asked whether he will take an optimistic or doubtful approach into next season, Nadal said: "You can be both ways. You can be optimistic and have doubts. Why not?

"For me the doubts, as I said plenty of times, are very good in this world. People who don't have doubts, it is probably because they are too arrogant, from my point of view.

"If you are not optimistic or positive, it's impossible that things are going to go the proper way. That's my point of view and that's my approach."

He will hope to make a strong start to the new campaign in Australia, and will put in the work to give himself every chance of showing up in shape to win again.

"I just need to recover all these positive feelings and all this confidence and all this strong mentality that I need to be at the level that I want to be," Nadal said.

"And I don't know if I'm going to reach that level again. But what I don't have any doubt about is that I'm going to die for it."

He will round off his round-robin campaign against Casper Ruud in Turin on Thursday, facing the young Norwegian he crushed in the French Open final.

Once he returns to his Mallorca home, Nadal can look at what lies ahead.

"What can happen in Australia? I don't know. It's a month and a half away," Nadal said.

"What can I do to give myself a positive chance to have a good season next year? As always, be humble enough to accept that I have a challenge in front, that the last six months have been very difficult for me.

"I need to work more and I need to recover things that I lost because I was not able to practice the proper way, I was not able to compete the proper way.

"What I have to do now is come back, work hard, stay positive every single day, accept the challenge, accept that I am going to need to suffer a little bit more."

Novak Djokovic expects to find out in the "next few weeks" whether he can participate in next year's Australian Open and says the early signs are positive.

The 21-time grand slam winner was denied the chance to defend his title in Melbourne in January after having his visa revoked because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Due to Australian immigration laws, Djokovic – who was also blocked from taking part in this year's US Open – faced a potential three-year ban from entering the country.

However, with fewer than three months to go until the 2023 edition begins Down Under, Djokovic is still hopeful his ban is waived so he can obtain a visa.

Asked for an update on the situation, the Serbian told Sportal: "When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially.

"We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case. 

"I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks, whatever that answer might be. I am hoping for a positive one so I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season."

Djokovic has won nine titles at Melbourne Park, which is the most of any male singles player and the most he has won at any of the four majors.

Rafael Nadal won the event this year in Djokovic's absence, and the latter is desperate to get a chance to draw back level on grand slam titles won by competing in Australia.

"I really want to go there. I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best," he said.

"Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more so.

"I am waiting for the permission again. It's a good thing they have now opened the borders for the unvaccinated foreigners travelling to Australia. 

"I have that ban, I hope it will be lifted. As I said, it is not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian government will give a positive answer, that is all."

Iga Swiatek could reach double figures for grand slam titles but Wimbledon may be a stumbling block, according to Marion Bartoli.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Bartoli said she did not expect any player on the WTA Tour to match the "greatness" of Serena or Venus Williams.

The Frenchwoman, who won the 2013 Wimbledon women's singles title, also claimed the level of competition is currently not as strong as it was for the previous generation.

She is sold on Swiatek, though, who added to her 2020 and 2022 French Open titles by winning the US Open earlier in September.

The 21-year-old Polish player has emerged as the clear world number one since Ash Barty retired in March, stringing together 37 consecutive wins at one point until Alize Cornet beat her in round three at Wimbledon.

A lull in her performances followed that exit on the grass, but Swiatek fought her way through the field to triumph in New York.

"I was very impressed by how Iga this time with the US Open came with absolutely zero confidence and still found a way to win, and that is really a champion's mind," Bartoli said.

""She played really not great tennis in Toronto, not good tennis in Cincinnati, didn't play that well before the US Open. Whatever she worked on with her coach, she went on and plugged in for seven matches and to win the title, which is very impressive.

"So I think the level it's not at the highest, but I think the way she has been able to handle the pressure and go for it and win was absolutely very, very impressive.

"And she will win more. For sure she will win more on clay, she will win more on normal, slower hardcourts. Maybe not grass, but slow hard court is really a good surface for her as well. So easily between five and 10 for Iga, easily."

With Serena Williams saying a fond farewell to competitive tennis at the US Open, the women's tour has lost a 23-slam giant. In Bartoli's mind, there may be nobody of the great American's prowess to emerge for many years to come.

She said: "I think it's unfair to ask any of the current women's players to be as dominating as Serena was, or you know Venus as well.

"You just can't ask them to be at that level of greatness. You get that one out of a century or even two centuries. So I think we will have to wait a while before we get the next Serena Williams.

"And even Coco [Gauff] has talked about it, [saying] 'I'm not Serena, I will probably not get 23 grand slams like Serena you know, so stop putting pressure on me'.

"I think they're just trying their hardest, they're just trying their best, but obviously as Maria Sharapova said and I agree with her, the level of competition we used to have when all of us were playing was I think higher than what it is now."

Bartoli pointed to the example of Emma Raducanu, as a near-unknown, winning the US Open last year. She said that triumph for the British teenager was "out of any rational thoughts".

"This year she lost first round [to Cornet] and she dropped to 80 in the world," Bartoli added.

"You know that someone at 80 and someone at five, there is not so much of a difference in terms of level. And that's why you see those sort of upsets and constant change."

Andy Murray said it would be "really special" to get one last chance to share a tennis court with Roger Federer after the Swiss star announced his retirement.

The upcoming Laver Cup in London will be Federer's farewell event after he admitted defeat in his battle to overcome a knee problem.

Even Murray is unsure how much of an active part Federer will be able to play in London next week, but he would love to form a doubles alliance with the 20-time grand slam winner.

For many years, Murray was considered a part of a 'Big Four' in men's tennis alongside Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. They were the quartet who dominated the latter stages of the grand slams and the most prestigious regular tour events.

It latterly became known as a 'Big Three' as Murray fell away due to injury, also proving unable to keep pace with the extraordinary major-winning standards set by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Federer led the head-to-head 14-11 against Murray, with the Scot getting his biggest win over the Swiss in the 2012 Olympic Games final at Wimbledon.

Three-time slam champion Murray said of Federer: "Obviously he was an amazing player. I was lucky to get to compete against him in some of the bigger matches, in the biggest tournaments, on the biggest stages in our sport.

"At the time I probably didn't appreciate it as much but looking back it's pretty amazing. It's incredible what he achieved and also what Rafa and Novak have done as well."

Federer announced his retirement on Thursday, and while Murray said that marked "a sad, sad day for the sport", he was keen to celebrate "an unbelievable career".

There is an irony about Murray wishing Federer well in retirement, given Federer did likewise with Murray in January 2019, when it seemed the former Wimbledon and US Open champion was destined to hang up his racket. A new hip has allowed Murray to unexpectedly continue on tour.

Murray said of Federer: "The longevity he's had and what he did, the way that he played the game, conducted himself, all of those things. All of the players respected him for that.

"I don't know how much he'll be able to play [at the Laver Cup], I haven't spoken to him about that, but maybe I get to share a court with him in doubles or something like that, and that would be really special."

Roger Federer "set the tone" for a new breed of tennis high achievers and his retirement brings time for reflection, his long-time rival Novak Djokovic said on Friday.

At the age of 41, battling knee trouble, Federer has decided to call it a day and intends to have a send-off on court at next week's Laver Cup.

Djokovic will join him on Team Europe for the match against Team World in London, with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray also due to be involved.

An emotional finale to Federer's career is assured, in the city where he won eight Wimbledon men's singles title, just one of many records he established in a 24-year professional career.

Djokovic wrote on Instagram: "Roger it's hard to see this day and put into words all that we've shared in this sport together. Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on.

"Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise. It's an honour to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come."

Djokovic holds a 27-23 head-to-head winning record against Federer, although their careers did not run precisely side by side, with Federer six years the Serbian's senior.

By the time Djokovic began to make a major impact on tour, Federer had arguably already hit his peak. From Wimbledon 2005 to the US Open in 2007, Federer reached 10 consecutive slam finals, a record that has not been matched.

He went past Pete Sampras' record of 14 majors in 2009, and Djokovic and Nadal have followed in his wake.

His longevity since has set a high standard for those two chief rivals, who have both recently edged ahead of Federer on the all-time list of men's grand slam singles title winners.

Federer won his 20th singles slam at the 2018 Australian Open, going closest to a 21st when he lost a thriller to Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final, squandering two match points. Djokovic has 21, while Nadal leads the way with 22 titles.

Swiss great Federer retires with the most grand slam men's singles main draw wins in the Open Era (369), and as the only man to win 100-plus matches at two different slams (105 in Wimbledon and 102 at the Australian Open).

Addressing Federer, and pointing to his family, Djokovic added: "I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to.

"From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future. Looking forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London."

Serena Williams has paid tribute to retiring 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, describing her admiration for him and welcoming him "to the retirement club".

The 41-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he would bring an end to his illustrious playing career after the Laver Cup later this month.

Federer's announcement comes only weeks after 23-time major winner Williams declared her intention to step away from tennis, culminating at the US Open earlier this month where she bowed out in the third round.

The Swiss icon will bow out with 20 major titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). Williams sits behind only Margaret Court (24) for women's singles major titles.

"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career," Williams wrote on Instagram.

"I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same.

"You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future.

"Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer."

Williams has deliberately avoided the use of the word retirement since declaring her intention to 'evolve' away from tennis, meaning the latter comment is of note.

The 40-year-old American has teased at a potential return to tennis, saying on Good Morning America this week that "Tom Brady started a really cool trend", referencing his decision to come out of retirement.

Roger Federer ranks among sporting greats such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady.

That was the message from 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who hailed Federer after he announced his appearance at September's Laver Cup would be his last in professional sport.

The 41-year-old won 20 grand slam titles across a legendary 24-year career, only Novak Djokovic (21) and Rafael Nadal (22) can boast more major crowns in men's tennis.

Federer has also won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369), leaving behind a magnificent legacy as he prepares to step away from the court.

Bartoli has experienced retirement herself, having called quits on her career after a failed comeback from injury in 2018, and asked by Stats Perform whether Federer was a GOAT – greatest of all-time – Bartoli said: "Yes, he is very much in there – absolutely.

"Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, they are people that transcend their sports – they are icons.

"You go in the streets, you say Roger Federer. I'm in Dubai right now [and if] you say 'Roger Federer' everyone would know who he is. And the same for LeBron and Michael Jordan.

"When you transcend your sport and you become an icon and everyone knows who you are, that's when you know you have been one of the greatest of all time across every sport.

"Same for Serena [Williams], you can put Novak and Rafa in there as well. But it's just that amount of fame and that amount of inspiring [the next] generation."

Having spent 237 consecutive weeks ranked as number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history after a four-and-a-half-year spell at the summit.

Federer was also present in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings for 750 weeks, an unmatched number for a male player since the rankings were first published in 1973.

Regardless of Federer trailing Djokovic and Nadal for grand slam titles, Bartoli believes the Swiss remains the best of the trio due to his elegant playing style.

"It's very much depending on your own taste in a way. If you like beautiful, elegant, smooth tennis you have to go for Roger Federer," she added.

"Now obviously with Novak having 21 and Rafa having 22 grand slams, if we speak numbers only then you have two players on top of him.

"But I think it's very much a debate because it depends on the style of play you like and, that said, I absolutely love to see Novak play and win.

"I absolutely loved to see Rafa winning again at Roland Garros this year, I think it was one of the most incredible sports achievements that you can possibly witness.

"But in terms of game style, and the way he has revolutionised tennis, I think Roger was the first one. And then they pushed each other to new heights and I think that was really special to see."

While many youngsters look to emulate Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, Bartoli highlighted the importance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, too.

"You can tell how much impact a player [has] when you see a new generation trying to copy your style. I think Pete Sampras had that impact as well as Andre Agassi on the generation of Roger, Rafa and Novak," she continued.

"Roger has had that impact on the new generation with Carlos Alcaraz. So that's why I say that he was really the first one to elevate the game to another level because he brought that dimension of his forehand when he was really almost able to play the ball wherever he wanted.

"I always remember that sentence from Andre Agassi, when he started to play against Roger saying, 'well, I never felt against anybody that I had to play on a 20-centimetre square because that's the only safe spot I can play, which is deep to Roger's back. If I play anywhere, he will take the game away from me'. [Federer] was the first one to [do that] and then obviously Rafa and Novak arrived and sought to change that and they pushed each other to new heights.

"When you have the pinnacle of the 2008 Wimbledon final and all those matches in between them that was just beyond epic for me."

WTA world number one Iga Swiatek thanked Roger Federer for "everything you've done and everything you are for our sport" after the Swiss great announced his retirement.

Federer confirmed on Thursday that he would bring his illustrious playing career to a close after the Laver Cup.

The 41-year-old will bow out with 20 grand slam titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Swiatek, meanwhile, won her third major title last week, defeating Ons Jabeur in straight sets to clinch the US Open, following her successes at Roland Garros in 2020 and earlier this year.

"I just want to thank you for everything you've done and everything you are for our sport," 21-year-old Swiatek tweeted in response to Federer's announcement.

"It's been a privilege to witness your career. I wish you all the best." 

Swiatek followed her post with a goat emoji, signifying that Federer is the greatest of all time.

Chris Evert, a former world number one, also joined the tributes to Federer, tweeting: "He was the epitome of a champion; class, grace, humility, beloved by everyone…and he elegantly mastered the sport like no other…Good luck to you, @rogerfederer don't go too far!"

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time major winner, posted: "What a heartfelt message, full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. Which is exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you, for all the magic!!!"

Erling Haaland and Casper Ruud are flying the Norwegian flag high at the top of their sports, with Brighton and Hove Albion Women's new recruit Elisabeth Terland inspired by her compatriots.

Norway international Terland left SK Brann for Brighton in August and will hope to make her Women's Super League debut on Friday against Arsenal.

The 21-year-old, who has 13 international caps, referenced the rapid start Haaland has made to life at Manchester City, where he has scored 13 goals in just nine appearances since leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland enjoyed a reunion with his former club on Wednesday, netting a sublime acrobatic finish to take his tally to 26 goals in 21 Champions League appearances – a strike every 62 minutes on average.

With City's new recruit taking the Premier League by storm, Terland hopes to emulate her fellow Norwegian as she prepares for a new challenge in England.

"The things he's doing at the moment are sick. It's just cool to see how a player can come into a new league and come into a new team and just perform time after time," she told Stats Perform. 

"Of course, it's inspiring. Everybody from Norway is really proud of him and what he's doing. Everybody is supporting him. He's a good product of our country."

While Haaland has made a flying start at City, tennis player Ruud reached his second major final of the season at the US Open.

Carlos Alcaraz proved a step too far for Ruud in the battle for the world number one spot at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, but the 23-year-old is another compatriot serving as inspiration for Terland.

"I did watch a little bit [of the US Open final]. It was quite late. Of course, it's just as inspiring to see people doing well in [other] sports," she added.

"That makes you want to do well in sports as well. [He is] a great athlete and does it time after time as well. Hopefully, next time he will win."

Rafael Nadal says it has been "an honour and a privilege" competing with Roger Federer after the 20-time grand slam winner announced his retirement on Thursday.

In a statement posted on social media, Federer confirmed his "bittersweet decision" to call time on his top-level tennis career after next week's Laver Cup in London.

Federer won 20 grand slam titles across a legendary 24-year career, a trophy tally in majors that only Novak Djokovic (21) and Nadal (22) can better.

The 41-year-old has not competed since Wimbledon 2021, after which he underwent a third knee operation, but Nadal had hoped his fellow great would never retire.

"Dear Roger, my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come. It's a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world," Nadal posted on his Twitter account.

"It's been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court."

Nadal, who will team up with Federer and Djokovic as part of Team Europe's all-star cast at the Laver Cup, added: "We will have many more moments to share together.

"There are still lots of things to do together, we know that. For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what's ahead of you."

Federer has spent 750 weeks in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings, an undefeated number for a male player since they were first published in 1973.

The Swiss has also won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369).

As he brings down the curtain on his remarkable career, several other players paid their respects to one of the sport's all-time greats. 

"Some of Fed’s numbers are laughably impossible to top (23 straight slam semi-finals, for instance)," John Isner posted on Twitter. 

"But his impact on tennis far exceeds what he accomplished on court. Thanks for everything, RF."

Seven-time grand slam winner Petra Kvitova added: "Roger, you have always been such a huge inspiration to me. Your elegance, your grace, your beautiful game. 

"I have always held you in the highest regard and want to congratulate you for an amazing career. Tennis won’t be the same without you! Thank you."

Roger Federer's retirement from tennis marks the end of an era, as one of the sport's finest bows out next week at the Laver Cup.

A 20-time grand slam champion and six-time ATP Tour Finals victor – the latter still an undefeated record in the Open Era – the Swiss star has been one of the leading lights in the men's game.

Coming on the heels of Serena Williams' apparent finish at the summit of the sport at this month's US Open, it represents the latest major changing of the guard near the summit of tennis' upper echelons.

Throughout his career, the 41-year-old has stood either alone or alongside a rarefied group in the record group, and Stats Perform has rounded up some of his most impressive statistics.

750 - Federer has spent 750 weeks in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings, an undefeated number for a male player since they were first published in 1973.

369 - He has won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369).

237 - With 237 consecutive weeks at number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history – a stretch of four-and-a-half years.

105 - Federer has played 105 matches at Wimbledon in the Open Era, more than any other male player.

 

103 - The number of ATP-level titles won by Federer in the Open Era is 103, a feat bettered only by Jimmy Connors (109).

36 - At the age of 36 years, five months and seven days, Federer won his last grand slam, at the 2018 Australian Open, becoming the oldest man to do so in the Open Era save for Ken Rosewall in 1972 (37 years, a month and 24 days, also in Melbourne).

224 - Federer has recorded 224 victories against top-10 opponents. Only Novak Djokovic (232) has more such wins in the Open Era.

15 - In his home tournament in Basel, Federer reached 15 finals, the highest tally for a player in a single ATP-level tournament since the majors turned professional in 1968.

1 - With 429 grand slam matches to his name in the Open Era, Federer is the only male player to have exceeded the 400+ mark.

10 - Federer is the only male player able to reach 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals in the Open Era (between Wimbledon 2005 and the US Open 2007).

0 - According to ATP Media info, Federer never retired from a match in his career (1,526 matches in singles, 223 in doubles).

Lots of eras have ended in 2022.

Tennis has now seen two in a short period of time, as Serena Williams' decision to step away from the court after the US Open was followed by Roger Federer announcing on Thursday that he will do the same after next week's Laver Cup in London.

Federer has had one of the most decorated careers an athlete could hope for, winning 20 grand slams, including eight men's singles titles at Wimbledon.

No player has claimed more than his 369 match wins at grand slams, with Novak Djokovic second on 334.

Following the Swiss star's announcement, Stats Perform has taken a look at five key moments from a truly remarkable career.

Taking of the torch

It felt like a big moment at the time, but with hindsight it was more like something from a Hollywood movie.

Pete Sampras had dominated at Wimbledon from 1993 to 2000, winning the men's singles title seven times in eight years.

Then, in the fourth round at SW19 in 2001, a pony-tailed teenager from Switzerland rocked up and beat him.

Federer had won the boys' championship at Wimbledon in 1998, but here he became a man, beating Sampras in a five-set thriller, to the delight of the crowd.

It denied Sampras an eighth title, which would ironically be a feat achieved by Federer years later.

First grand slam win

It was, of course, Wimbledon where Federer lifted his first grand slam. Two years after his win against Sampras it was time for him to fulfil his potential, and he did just that in 2003.

Going into the tournament as number four seed, he defeated the likes of Mardy Fish, Feliciano Lopez, Sjeng Schalken and Andy Roddick to reach the final.

There, he met big-serving Australian, Mark Philippoussis, and won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

People said it could be the first of many, which was somewhat of an understatement.

Five alive at Flushing Meadows

Having already mastered Wimbledon by winning it five years in a row between 2003 and 2007, Federer wanted to dominate other grand slams, which he certainly did in the United States.

After winning his first US Open title in 2004, he went on to win it again and again, culminating in repeating his Wimbledon trick by making it five consecutive in 2008.

Having earned passage to the championship match with a hard-fought four-set victory against Djokovic in the semis, Federer ended up easing to a win in the final against Andy Murray, beating the Scot 6-2 7-5 6-2 to secure number five on the hard courts of New York.

A clay clean sweep

Federer had more than proven himself on grass and hard court, but while he still won the vast majority of his matches on clay, he struggled to get over the line in the same way, particularly thanks to the presence of a certain talented Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal beat him in three consecutive French Open finals from 2006 to 2008, with Federer unable to even force a fifth set in any of those defeats.

However, in 2009 he did not have to face Nadal in the final. Instead, he came up against the man who had shocked Nadal in the fourth round, Robin Soderling.

Federer found the Swede an easier proposition in the final, beating him 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to win his first title at Roland Garros, and complete his set of grand slams, having also won three times at the Australian Open by that point (2004, 2006 and 2007).

The final trophy lift

In what turned out to be his last grand slam success, Federer absolutely cruised through the field at the Australian Open in 2018, not dropping a set until the final.

While he had continued to go far in tournaments and wowed the crowds with his trademark rallies and forehand winners, Federer had only won three grand slams since 2010.

Federer had won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017, and many thought that might have been his one last hurrah, but he arguably saved an even better showing for the first tournament of the following year.

He was made to earn it in the final, before ultimately overcoming Marin Cilic 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1.

It brought his overall total of grand slam victories to 20, and though that has since been passed by Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21), Federer will go down as one of the all-time greats.

Page 1 of 74
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.