What a remarkable way to begin 2015.
17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer claimed his 1000th match win on Sunday afternoon when he defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in three sets to lift the Brisbane International title for the first time in his career.
Federer, who now joins Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl as one of three men to reach that number, defeated Raonic 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 in he final and was later joined by Rod Laver and Roy Emerson after the match to celebrate his achievement.
“It’s a little bit tough standing here, in front of so many Grand Slam champions; it’s an honour,” said Raonic in the on-court ceremony. “We all know today was a significant milestone for Roger. When we were warming up, I heard all those titles; I honestly thought he was playing for 2000 match wins today! I think he needs to step it up!”
Federer captured his 83rd title on the ATP World Tour, but it was not a straightforward encounter against the Canadian. Raonic rallied back in the second set and forced a riveting decider between the two players. In that final set, Federer saved five break points while Raonic saved four before succumbing to Federer’s resilient pressure.
“It’s a special moment, no doubt about it,” said Federer upon receiving a commemorative award from Laver. “I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years, so to get to 1000 wins tonight really means a lot to me. I’ll never forget this match.”
With the loss, Raonic drops to a 1-8 record against Federer and a 6-8 mark in finals.
“It was a great tennis match. I stayed out there, competed, gave it my all,” said Raonic. “I gave myself a chance after being down a set and a break. I think it just shows the development I’ve been able to make over the last little while. You put me in that same situation few months and weeks ago and I think I could be out of that stadium pretty quickly.”