Former and current tennis professionals consider Roger Federer to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. On Saturday, the Swiss star won for the record-breaking sixth time at the Dubai Tennis Championship, against the Czech Tomas Berdych with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory, achieving his 78th career title. Although he won, it was a hard fight. Federer lost the first serve as well as the serve in the second, to trail 3-2. He said after the match that he had plenty of heavy matches during the last year and a half so “it was nice to get a lucky break again.”
Berdych and Federer have a long history of playing against each other. It was the 18th time they were on opposite sides on the tennis court. However, the statistics favored the Swede. In Dubai, Federer won for the 12th time against the Czech Berdych, who has only managed to win six of their matches against each other. Berdych admitted after the match that his execution was not good enough to hold it to the end: “He’ll [Federer] never give up and give you anything for free.” The Czech tennis professional is currently ranked 6th in the ATP ranking, and ended his winning streak of 11 matches with the loss to Federer. Berdych himself referred to Federer as a legend in a Twitter message after their match.
Federer had already won against the world’s number two tennis player, Novak Djokovic, in the semi-finals on Friday, which put him in a good position to win his sixth Dubai championship. The Serbian tennis star, who is six years younger than Federer, was also last year’s winner at Dubai. Federer’s victory was the first hard-court title since the 2012 Western and Southern Opens.
Although he had won at least one title every year for the last 14 years, Federer had a rather weak 2013. But he has already started the new season with four wins against players ranked among the top 10 tennis players in the world. Two of those wins came back-to-back within two days during the Dubai Tennis Championship. The Swiss champion commented on his confidence level after this good start into the season: “It’s the mental belief that you’re gonna win instead of losing – I think that’s what I got right now.”
Federer holds a record of 17 grand slam titles, with a total of 78 titles. He is now ranked third on the all-time title list, pulling away from former American world number one tennis professional John McEnroe. He lost both his opening sets against Djokovic as well as Berdych, but the Swede was more solid in closing out his advantage. This strong performance has been noted by the tennis world.
The year 2014 has been a highlight thus far for Federer, as he reached the final in Brisbane and the semis at the Australian Open. He will go with a growing confidence into the first Masters of the season, which starts late next week in Indian Wells, California. Federer has won that championship four times and holds the record for most wins there, as well as at the Dubai championship where his record stands at six.
By Peter Schimke