After joining Jimmy Connors in the 100 club with victory in the United Arab Emirates, Roger Federer was able to reflect on his achievement.
Roger Federer realised a dream by claiming the 100th ATP Tour title of his illustrious career at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The Swiss overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 in Saturday’s final to follow in Jimmy Connors’ footsteps by reaching a century of tournament wins in the Open Era.
Having been sat on 99 since his success on home soil at the Swiss Indoors last October, Federer triumphed in a battle between two players at contrasting stages of their tennis careers.
Tsitsipas, 20, knocked the 20-time grand slam champion out of the Australian Open at the start of the year but was no match for him in their second career meeting, with the contest lasting just under 70 minutes.
“I’m delighted, I’m so happy,” Federer said in his on-court interview.
“To win my eighth [title] here, in combination with the 100th, it’s been a wonderful week for me. [There have been] difficult conditions throughout and tough opponents all the way through.
“Stefanos today, what a great run he’s had as well, winning Marseille last week and making it to the final is really hard to do, on different continents. So credit to him for playing a great tournament.
“Of course, for me, it’s an absolute dream come true right now.”
What a reaction from the @DDFTennis crowd!
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While demonstrating he still retains the desire to compete at the highest level, Federer is confident the emergence of rising stars like Tsitsipas means the sport will continue to prosper even after he has stepped away.
“I don’t know if he [Tsitsipas] was born when I won my first title. I think barely,” the 37-year-old quipped.
“It’s a privilege, you know, because one day I’ll be watching them [the younger players] in front of the television and it was always my special treat to play against my heroes growing up – [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras and those players.
“For me to maybe be in their shoes now and give the chance for the younger guys to play against me, and also giving myself the chance to maybe play against future Hall of Famers and legends, it’s wonderful.
“I’m sure Stefanos is going to have a wonderful career. He’s having one already. There’s so many other great guys as well, so tennis is in good hands regardless of if I’m there or not.”