US OPEN - September 9, 2007
Flushing Meadows, New York, U.S.A.
Federer Wins US Open, Continues To Rewrite History
Switzerland's Roger Federer continued to write himself deeper in the history books on Sunday afternoon, taking out Serbia's Novak Djokovic, 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 6-4, in front of a packed house for the US Open singles title. With that win he gained his revenge for a loss in the final of the ATP Masters Series event in Montreal in August.
Federer actually began rewriting history with his semifinal win over Nikolay Davydenko, extending his own record of most consecutive Grand Slam finals to 10. He broke the previous all-time record earlier in the season at Roland Garros, where he reached his eighth consecutive Slam final (Jack Crawford reached seven successive major finals, between 1933 and 1934). The Swiss is also the first man to reach all four Grand Slam finals in a calendar year for two years in a row.
By virtue of his win on Sunday, Federer became the first man in the Open Era to capture four consecutive US Open singles titles, and the first man in history to do so since Bill Tilden accomplished the feat between 1920 and 1923. Federer beat Lleyton Hewitt for the 2004 title, Andre Agassi for the 2005 title and Andy Roddick for last year's title. Federer is the second man to capture four straight titles at two different Grand Slams (having also earned five straight at Wimbledon), after Borg's impressive feats at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Federer's 27-match win streak at the US Open ties the Open Era record, which is also held by Ivan Lendl, who won the title from 1985 to 1987 but lost in the 1988 semifinals. By reaching the final, Federer passed John McEnroe's mark of 25 straight wins, and next year the 26-year-old will have a shot at passing Lendl.
Transitioning from grass to hard has proven difficult for some, but Federer has now won Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back for four years running. No other male player has won the Wimbledon-US Open double more than two years in a row.
Federer is now 38-4 at the US Open. He trails only Hewitt among active players in the wins column at the year's final Grand Slam (the Australian is 39-8 lifetime in Flushing). The Swiss is now 138-22 overall in the majors, making him 11th among all players in the Open Era. The US Open title was also his 40th ATP singles title on hardcourts and 50th overall (he is in ninth place among Open Era title leaders).
The 2007 US Open is Federer's third major of the year (having already earned the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns) and the 12th of his career (he has now won three Australian Opens, five Wimbledons and four US Opens). He is in second place among Open Era Grand Slam leaders, tied with Roy Emerson; remaining in first place is Sampras, who won a total of 14 major singles titles.
Having come into the US Open as the US Open Series winner, Federer takes home a $1 million bonus, which brings his total prize money for the championship run to $2.4 million, the largest payout in the history of the sport.
Djokovic was playing in his career-first Grand Slam singles final and was one of the youngest players ever to make it that far at the US Open (at 20 years, three months and 18 days, he was the third-youngest, after Sampras and Boris Becker). In the big picture, he was the 18th-youngest Slam finalist in the Open Era.
Djokovic, who was also the first Serbian man in history to make a Grand Slam final, had lost in the third round of both of his prior tries at this event.WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Federer: "For me, Wimbledon is obviously always going to be No. 1, but New York has definitely grown on me the last few years. I think especially since that famous final against Agassi here a few years ago, I started to really love this tournament. I realize what kind of a big-time event this is, with 24,000 people in the stadium, the city, and how difficult it is to win here. I wasn't aware of it in the very beginning when I came on tour, really. For me, the US Open is the second-biggest one we have on tour. To have won these two the most times, it's just incredible for me.
"I think about [the Grand Slam record] a lot now, honestly. In the beginning I felt put under pressure about the situation because you don't win Slams just like that, it's just too tough. But to come so close already at my age is fantastic, and I really hope to break it."
Djokovic: "In general, looking at the whole US Open, I have been performing really well. Today, as well, I played nice tennis. I had a lot of chances and just didn't use them. But looking at the situation, it was my first Grand Slam final, in front of 24,000 people, and everybody expected a nice match. So I had quite a lot of pressure. But I enjoyed it, and it was just an amazing experience for me."
"One of [Roger Federer's] biggest strengths is his mental strength. He gets the advantage over his opponents in any match because they're thinking, 'I'm playing Roger Federer, one of the best players ever in tennis.' So, right away he has this little advantage. But on the other hand, you have to put yourself in his position. He's the No. 1 player in the world and everybody expects him to do well in every tournament, on every surface. He has a lot of pressure. It's just amazing to see him, how fast and how successfully he deals with that pressure. He performs some incredible tennis. Obviously he's very talented and has a lot of advantages, but to get to this situation he had to work, he had to wait. It didn't happen right away."