Top seed Roger Federer secured the 1,000th victory of his career as he beat Milos Raonic to win the Brisbane International title. The world number two becomes the third man, after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl, to secure 1,000 ATP wins. “I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years so to get to 1,000 wins means a lot to me,” said Federer. “It’s a special moment, no doubt about that. I will never forget this match.” The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who lost to Lleyton Hewitt in last year’s Brisbane final, is the first player since Lendl in 1992 to reach the milestone. He has now won at least one tournament every year since 2001, an unbroken run spanning 15 seasons.
Federer has also won tournaments in 29 different cities, celebrating in this one after a surprisingly hard-fought victory secured with a netted forehand on his first championship point. Only Jimmy Connors (1253) and Ivan Lendl (1071) have won more matches in the Open era, although Federer’s winning percentage (81.5) has the previous generation’s numbers well covered. Astonishing, too, is how many of of Federer’s victories (737) have come in straight sets. The 33 year-old Swiss master, has beaten more opponents from France (111) than any other country, and whas a favourite victim in Andy Roddick who he has beaten 21 times.
Win No.1 was against Guillaume Raoux in Toulouse in 1998, and David Ferrer was the victim in the 500th, in Monte Carlo in 2007. Hardcourts have hosted 621 victories, and six have come against reigning world No.1s. After what Federer described as a “special moment, no doubt about it”, he was presented with the Roy Emerson Trophy by one great Queenslander, and received a framed 1000-win commemoration from another, Rod Laver. “I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years, to get to 1000 match wins right here tonight in front of you guys, it really means a lot to me, and I’ll never forget this match, clearly, so thank-you,” Federer said. “It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won, because I never thought about anything, reaching 500 or 800. All those numbers didn’t mean anything to me, but for some reason 1000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just to count to 1000 is going to take a while. Yeah, it’s funny emotions right now, but clearly very proud and happy.”
He insisted he was almost pleased to have cleared the last hurdle the hard way, rather than in the 6-4, 6-4 circumstances that it seemed, for a time, were set to unfold, eventually lasting two hours, 13 minutes, and testing the Swiss fully before delivering his 83rd title from 125 finals. A record 17 have been in grand slams, and Federer will be seeded second behind Novak Djokovic at next week’s Australian Open, having last won a major at Wimbledon in 2012.