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Federer to target 100th singles title at ATP Finals in London

Federer to target 100th singles title at ATP Finals in London
By PA Sport

09/11/2018 at 10:00Updated 09/11/2018 at 11:16

The Swiss player is among the favourites at the season-ending event.

Roger Federer heads to London’s 02 Arena this week attempting to seal the 100th singles title of his career.

The Swiss star will be among the favourites at the season-ending event as he bids for a century of ATP Tour crowns.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at where Federer’s haul puts him in relation to other greats of the game and reflects on some of the milestones of his career.

First title on the board

Federer’s first ATP Tour success came back in 2001 at a indoor tournament in Milan.

The then 19-year-old, who was seeded seventh for that tournament, defeated Frenchman Julien Boutter in the final to claim his first title.

It was an event that included the likes of Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, so victory represented a big step in the career of the promising young Swiss.

Major breakthrough

Federer celebrates beating Sampras at Wimbledon

Federer really caught the eye at Wimbledon later that year. He came up against four-time defending champion Pete Sampras in the last 16 and triumphed in a five-set epic. His tournament ended in the quarters with defeat to Britain’s Tim Henman.

But it was clear that Federer was a player to watch and he began to rack up the tour titles. Three came in 2002 and he bagged seven more in 2003 – including his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon.

Victory in the final over Australia’s Mark Philippoussis set Federer on a run of dominance at SW19 that would see him win five Wimbledon titles in a row – a run ended by Rafael Nadal in 2007 in arguably the greatest final of all time.

Federer surpassed Pete Sampras’ tally of Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon in 2012 and would break the American’s Wimbledon record by winning his eighth title there in 2017.

The Australian Open at the start of 2018 was his 20th Grand Slam title and the 96th singles title of his career.

Federer turned 37 in August, with career prize money of over 118million US dollars to his name, but shows no sign of stopping yet.

Where does Federer stand on the all-time list?

Jimmy Connors has 109 singles titles to his name

Remarkably, 99 titles is only enough to claim second place on the all-time list of singles winners in the men’s game.

Jimmy Connors tops that list with his incredible haul of 109 titles, the last of which came in Tel Aviv in 1989. The American, who won eight Grand Slams, was at his most productive in 1976, racking up an astonishing 12 titles.

Ivan Lendl is third with 94 titles, while one of Federer’s biggest rivals Rafael Nadal sits fourth.

Nadal currently has 80 singles titles to his name, including 11 French Open wins and, aged just 32, could conceivably move up the list in years to come.

John McEnroe completes the top five, with 77 singles titles.

What chance does he have of beating Jimmy Connors’ record?

Roger Federer is ten short of equalling Jimmy Connors' haul of singles titles

Federer is currently 10 adrift of Connors’ haul. The Swiss has surprised many with his longevity and he appears to be as fit and as in form as he has ever been.

That said, he would likely need to play on at the top level for another few years to edge ahead of Connors in the standings.

He claimed seven titles in 2017 but has just the four so far this year. At that rate, if Federer is able to maintain the standard he continues to set, it would take another couple of seasons to get close to the 109 titles.

For the last couple of years Federer has also chosen to skip the entire clay court season and, understandably, does not enter as many tournaments as he used to.

While nobody would be foolish enough to suggest Federer will not make it past 109, Connors can breathe fairly easily for now.

How likely is Federer to get his 100th title in London?

Federer is seeded second for the ATP Tour Finals following the withdrawal of Nadal. He will, as always, enter as one of the favourites although Novak Djokovic will be the man to beat on the hard court – especially having defeated Federer at the recent Paris Masters.

Such is the nature of the beast with the season-ending Tour Finals, the best players in the world are competing, making life especially difficult for Federer.

He has been drawn into the Lleyton Hewitt group alongside Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem.

Federer, who has won two ATP Finals titles, will expect to at least reach the latter stages once again