The final slam of 2016, the US Open, has begun and matches from the main draw are underway. Yet when you look at the draw, it seems incomplete. It misses a red flag bearing a white cross, and adjacent to it, the name Roger Federer.
Whether you are a tennis fan or not, if you scroll down your newsfeed on any social media site, links bearing the headline, “The last time Federer missed the US open (so and so happened)…” must have caught your eyes. Well, guess what, the device on which you are reading this article was also not invented the last time when Roger Federer missed the US Open.
Since 1999, Roger Federer has made an appearance to the Flushing Meadows every year and has managed to win the title 5 times in succession, making him the only player to win any two grand slams at least five times in succession.
Federer won the US Open from 2004 to 2008 and each time he won the tournament, parallely there were certain events that took place which might make you feel a little bit nostalgic.
- 2004, Roger won his first US Open title, his fourth grand slam then and became the first Swiss player to win the US Open. So when Federer won in the seniors group, the juniors champion’s name was Andy Murray. Currently ranked No.1 in the world, Murray won the US open senior’s group in 2012.
- 2005, Federer successfully defended his title. This was also the first time that Andy Murray qualified for the main draw. But the most emotional moment came when Andre Agassi called it a day and ended his star-studded career in 2005 USO. The junior’s category, girls champion was crowned to the future world No.1 and two-time US Open runner-up, Victoria Azarenka. Daniela Hantuchova completed her career grand slam in mixed doubles, the same year.
- 2006, for the third time Federer won the US Open. This was the first grand slam tournament for Novak Djokovic, who went on to lift the title in 2011 and 2015 and is also the current world no.2. Juan Martin Del Potro, who won the US Open in 2009, entered the main draw for the first time. Further on, this might come as a surprise, but yes, Martina Navratilova was still playing and she lifted the mixed doubles title along with Bob Bryan.
- 2007, just as you guessed, Federer won again. Maria Sharapova was the defending champion but was defeated by a then 18-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska who later on achieved the World No.2 ranking in 2012. This tournament was also the last tournament for Justine Henin (yes, probably the last time you saw the most disciplined and arguably the perfect one-handed backhand).
- 2008, Federer created history by becoming the first man to win the US Open 5 times in a row. He also became the fastest player to win 13 grand slam titles in 6 years. Andy Murray entered the finals of a grand slam tournament for the first time in his career. Grigor Dimitrov, known by many as “Baby Fed” won the boys’ singles category.
- Each time Federer played the finals of US Open from 2004 to 2008, his opponent was always different. Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
- Each time Federer lifted the US Open trophy, no woman was able to successfully defend her title. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin and Serena Williams were the ladies’ singles champions.
- Besides Roger Federer, the only player to have won the US Open 5 times in the open era is Pete Sampras. Andre Agassi is the only player to have met both the players in the finals of the US Open at least once. Roger Federer and Pete Sampras are tied for most titles at the US Open (5) and Wimbledon (7) in the open era.