With 20 Grand Slam titles and 310 weeks ranked No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings, there is no doubt that Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. In his nearly two decades at the top of the game, the Swiss maestro’s style and seemingly effortless dominance captivated fans and baffled opponents – as he repeatedly rewrote the tennis record books.
But which of Federer’s many seasons at the top would be the best of his career? Would it be 2004, 2006 or 2007, when he won three Grand Slam titles, or 2005 when he recorded the second-best winning percentage of the Open era? What about 2009 when he finished his Grand Slam career at Roland Garros, or 2012 when he passed Pete Sampras for most weeks at world No. 1?
ATPTour.com breaks down seven of the best seasons of Federer’s storied career, from his big breakout season to his big comeback year…
Roger Federer won his second Wimbledon title in 2004. Photo by: Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 74-6 (92.5%)
Grand Slam titles: 3
After bursting onto the scene by winning Wimbledon, his first major title, in 2003, Federer cemented his position of strength to be reckoned with just one season later. He became the first man to win three Grand Slam singles titles in the same year since Mats Wilander in 1998 when he won trophies at the Australian Open (d. Safin), Wimbledon (d. Roddick) and the US Open (d. Hewitt) .
The 22-year-old Swiss had one of the most dominant seasons of the Open Era as he amassed an impressive 93 (74-6) winning percentage and climbed to No. 1 in the world in the Pepperstone Rankings ATP for the first time. time (February 2). His trophy tally totaled 11 by the end of the year and included a second Tennis Masters Cup crown. [now Nitto ATP Finals].
“It’s still hard to believe because I think once I get settled in, have some free time, especially at the end of the year, I’ll look back thinking, ‘How the hell did I I did all this? Now it’s just a bit much,” Federer said after his win in New York.
He had no idea what awaited him…
Andre Agassi fell victim to Federer in four sets in the 2005 US Open final. Photo by: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
Win-loss record: 81-4 (95.29%)
Grand Slam titles: 2
With four Grand Slam titles already in Federer’s name, the tennis world held its breath as 2005 dawned. The question on everyone’s mind was, “Will he be able to back it up?” Turns out there’s nothing to worry about.
Federer won four ATP Masters 1000 titles, including the “Sunshine Double” by winning back-to-back trophies in Indian Wells and Miami. At the Grand Slams, he continued his dominance at Wimbledon, winning his third consecutive men’s singles title (d. Roddick) and adding a second US Open trophy (d. Agassi) to his cabinet.
Federer went 81-4 in 2005, with a winning percentage of 95.29 as he won 11 trophies. It was the second-best winning percentage in the Open Era after John McEnroe’s 96.47 (82-3) season in 1984.
Six times Federer won the season finale, including 2006 in Shanghai. Photo by: Andrew Wong/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 92-5 (94.84%)
Grand Slam titles: 3
FedEx ATP Rankings
World number 1 Federer lost to just two players in a compelling 2006 season: a soaring Rafael Nadal (four times) and 19-year-old Andy Murray (once). He finished the year with an almost untouchable winning percentage of 95 (92-5). Federer reached the final of all four Grand Slams and won three, while adding to his legend at the Australian Open (d. Baghdatis), Wimbledon (d. Nadal) and US Open ( d. Roddick).
He started 2006 on a 16-game winning streak and finished the season winning 29 straight, including a third Nitto ATP Finals title. This undefeated run would continue in 2007 and would total a career-best 41 straight wins.
“I have no more words [to describe] myself,” Federer joked after his 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 final victory over James Blake in Shanghai. “I had to laugh sometimes today at how well I was playing. At this point in my career, I’m so happy with my game.”
Federer wins his second consecutive Wimbledon final victory over Rafael Nadal in 2007. Photo by: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 68-9 (88.3%)
Grand Slam titles: 3
For the second consecutive year, Federer reached the final of the four Grand Slam tournaments, winning three. He became the first player in history to win three majors in a year three times (2004, 2006, 2007) as he continued to fend off new faces and young challengers.
Federer beat Fernando Gonzalez at the Australian Open, Nadal at Wimbledon and Novak Djokovic at the US Open. He also won the Nitto ATP Finals and two Masters 1000 titles in Hamburg and Cincinnati, a win-loss record of 88% (68-9).
His 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2 win over Nadal at Wimbledon was an instant classic and saw him tie Bjorn Borg’s record with his fifth consecutive championship at the All England Club. The feat also extended Federer’s winning streak on grass to 55. He had 65 consecutive wins on the surface between 2003 and 2008, the longest winning streak on grass in the open era.
Throughout this time, Federer has remained firmly at the top of the game. His 237 consecutive weeks atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (2004-2008) remains an ATP Tour record.
Mission accomplished! Federer ended his Grand Slam career at Roland Garros in 2009. Photo by: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 61-12 (83.6%)
Grand Slam titles: 2
After being disallowed in three previous Roland Garros finals, Federer finally ended his Grand Slam career with a victory over Robin Soderling in the final in Paris. He became the sixth man in history to complete a career Grand Slam.
“It could be my biggest win, the one that takes the most pressure off,” Federer joked afterwards. “Now, for the rest of my career, I can play relaxed and never hear again that I never won Roland-Garros.”
A few weeks later, the Swiss again made history by winning the men’s singles title again, after defeating Andy Roddick in an epic five-set Wimbledon final. While Roddick held serve 37 in a row, Federer finally broke through in the final game to win 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14. It was Federer’s 15th Grand Slam singles triumph, breaking Pete Sampras’ all-time record.
Federer adds the singles silver at the London Olympics to the doubles gold he won in Beijing. Photo by: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 71-12 (85.54%)
Grand Slam titles: 1
The 2012 season marked a marked return to form for Federer. He won 86% (71-12) of the matches he played and won six titles at tour level – his best stats in half a decade.
Federer, who last won a major title in 2010, won his record seventh trophy in men’s singles (d. Murray) – a record 17th Grand Slam crown. In the process, he returned to world No. 1 in Pepperstone’s ATP rankings, a feat that tied (and ultimately surpassed) Pete Sampras’ record for weeks at No. 1 out of 286. The Swiss would go on to count 310 weeks in total. during his career.
A month later, he also picked up a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. After dropping the first set to Juan Martin del Potro in the semis, Federer outlasted the Argentine in a marathon 3 -6, 7-6 (5), 19-17 to reach the final (from left to Murray). It was Federer’s first singles medal for Switzerland, having won doubles gold (with Wawrinka) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“It’s been a good month. I won Wimbledon, became world number one again and got the silver,” he said. “Honestly, I’m very, very proud to have won a silver medal. I had a very emotional tournament from start to finish.
A remarkable comeback season in 2017 begins with the Australian Open title. Photo by: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Win-loss record: 54-5 (91.5%)
Grand Slam titles: 2
With a revamped game, Federer embarked on one of tennis’ most impressive comeback seasons in 2017. At the age of 35, he won his first Grand Slam trophy since 2012 at the Open d Australia after rallying after a fifth-set breakdown against Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. The win made him the oldest Slam champion since Ken Rosewall won there in 1972 at age 37. At his beloved Wimbledon, Federer took things up a notch by winning his 19th Grand Slam title (d. Cilic) – and did it without dropping a set. .
Federer didn’t stop there and won seven titles in 2017, including three Masters 1000 victories in Indian Wells, Miami and Shanghai. It was the most trophies he had won in a decade, and he amassed a win-loss record of 92% (54-5), his best percentage since 2006. After starting the season at No. 17 in Pepperstone’s ATP rankings due to a knee injury that sidelined him for much of 2016, Federer would finish 2017 at world No. 2.
“I knew I could do well one day maybe, but not at this level. You would have laughed too if I had told you that I was going to win two Grand Slams this year,” Federer said at Wimbledon. “People wouldn’t believe me if I said that. I didn’t think I was going to win two this year either.