The June 9, 2003 kicked off one of the most incredible streaks in tennis history. Currently marked by the imminent return of tennis, it will take place under the cement of the United States, leaving behind a grass tour that has always been one of the most iconic stretches of the season. In grass, Roger Federer for several years he became the absolute king, a tyrannical domain that was built on 65 victories. There is no better time than now to look back on one of the most impressive streaks in tennis history and review it year after year.
– 2003, first title in Halle and first crown at Wimbledon: Federer came to the grass tour with a Masters 1000 in his baggage and recently entered the world elite, as number 5 in the world. Already in 2001 he had given signs of what he could do, ending the dominance of Pete Sampras in a Wimbledon in which he reached the quarterfinals. Halle marked a start far from being immaculate but with a happy ending: he twice came from an adverse first set, both against Fernando Vicente in the 2nd round and in the semifinals against Youzhny, but he destroyed Kiefer in the final (6-1, 6-3 ).
At Wimbledon, however, the Swiss almost touched perfection. He only left one set over the two weeks, against Mardy Fish in the third round, whom he beat in four sets. He eliminated No. 8 seed Sjeng Schalken with ease in the quarters, while Andy Roddick (# 6 in the world at the time) also had no problems in the semifinals. A 7-6 (5), 6-2 and 7-6 (3) against Mark Philippousis in the final gave Federer his first Grand Slam crown. His journey had only just begun.
– 2004, second title at Halle and Wimbledon: Federer was a true steamroller during this season, on a grass tour that she has already reached as world number one. It was Roger’s fizz period, with ultra-offensive tennis that paid dividends. In Halle he was a true espresso, not giving up a single set (he did not even concede a tie-break against) and with rosco included in the final against Mardy Fish (6-0, 6-3). A more demanding cadre at Wimbledon also did not stop Federer, who defeated Karlovic, Hewitt, Grosjean and Roddick to clinch their second title in the London capital.
– 2005, new crowns at Halle and Wimbledon: Robin Soderling was very close to breaking the streak in the first round of the German tournament, being only two points from victory, but the Swiss advanced to defeat Marat Safin in a great final, claiming a small rematch of the semifinals of the Australian Open . Federer, in complete state of grace in a year in which he only accumulated four defeats, returned to leave on the way his “usual suspects” in London: Hewitt in the semifinals (6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4 )) and Roddick in the final (6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4). Only one set on loan in the third round to Nicolas Kiefer prevented another perfect championship.
– 2006, about to end the streak, but fourth title at Halle and Wimbledon: Olivier Rochus was the player who was closest to finishing this string of victories. It was an unlikely scenario, Halle’s quarterfinals, but Roger had to work hard and save up to four match balls in the second set tie-break. Two tie-breaks on loan to Haas and Berdych respectively were no obstacle to a new crown in the German tournament.
Wimbledon presented a new reality, in what would be the first final between Federer and Nadal of the trilogy in which the manacorí ended up usurping the cup from the hands of the Swiss. On this occasion, after a championship that had been a walk for Roger (he reached the final by granting a single single tie-break, against Nicolas Mahut), the experience and higher ground position ended up being imposed on a beardless Nadal, who still I’d have time to show what pasta it was made from.
– 2007, fifth Wimbledon: The last year of undefeated on grass of the Swiss had a particularity, and that is that after the defeat in the final of Roland Garros Federer decided not to participate in any event prior to the third Grand Slam of the year. In a context of change in the circuit, where new talents began to appear (he defeated del Potro in the first round), Roger continued to impose his law, ending Safin, Ferrero and Gasquet until reaching a final in which he sweated ink to defeat Nadal. The Mallorcan was one step away, but a 6-2 in the fifth set certified the reign of the Basel at Wimbledon. It was his fifth year undefeated on grass.
– 2008, fifth crown in Halle and end of streak in Wimbledon Historic Final: Federer returned to Halle to redeem himself from the wounds of his most uneven final against his biggest competitor, and boy did he do it. He won again without giving up a single tie-break, although with smaller rivals (not a single top-30). Wimbledon 2008 was the stoppage of the accountant in that epic final against Nadal that it is not necessary to remember, a final that the Swiss, yes, arrived packed (he had not yielded a set yet). 65 consecutive victories that ended before the person who took the number one shortly after. There was no more suitable ending.
The following year Federer conquered Wimbledon again, in a year in which Halle was skipped again. His records on grass have been previously broken down, records that do not present a comparison by any other active tennis player. To finish, some more data that serves to calibrate this historic streak on the most residual surface of the circuit today.
Top 10 wins: 9 out of 65 (13.8%)
2003 SF Wimbledon vs Andy Roddick (# 6): 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-3)
2004 QF Wimbledon vs Lleyton Hewitt (# 10): 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-0, 6-4
2004 Wimbledon Final vs Andy Roddick (# 2): 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4
Final Halle 2005 vs Marat Safin (# 5): 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-4
2005 Wimbledon Semifinal vs Lleyton Hewitt (# 2): 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
2005 Wimbledon Final vs Andy Roddick (# 4): 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4
QF Wimbledon 2006 vs Mario Ancic (# 10): 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
2006 Wimbledon Final vs Rafael Nadal (# 2): 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3
2007 Wimbledon Final vs Rafael Nadal (# 2): 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2
Matches without ceding any set: 50 of 65 (77%)
Longest match in Halle: QF vs Olivier Rochus in 2006 – 2 hours 45 minutes
Shortest match in Halle: SF vs Jiri Novak in 2004 – 53 minutes
Longest match at Wimbledon: Final vs Rafael Nadal in 2007 – 3 hours 45 minutes
Shortest match at Wimbledon: 2nd round vs Alejandro Falla in 2004 – 54 minutes