Roger Federer made a Major debut at Roland Garros 1999 at 17, losing to world no. 3 Patrick Rafter in four sets. Roger failed to score a win at Majors in his first season on the Tour, suffering the first-round exit at Wimbledon and not competing at the US Open. Roger’s first victory at Majors came at the Australian Open 2000 when he beat Michael Chang 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 in just over two hours. It marked the beginning of Roger’s exceptional journey at the world’s most prestigious events, securing 20 Major crowns and celebrating 363 victories. The most recent one came on Monday against Denis Istomin at Roland Garros, with the Swiss beating the Uzbek 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes. Battling in his first Major match in almost 500 days, Roger produced sharped and aggressive tennis from start to finish, dictating the rallies with 48 winners and 20 unforced errors and doing everything right to leave Denis behind.
Istomin never imposed his strokes and did nothing on the return, facing 13 break chances and getting broken five times to propel Federer over the top. Roger was pleased with how he competed, saying he did everything he planned and feeling good about his movement and how he placed his groundstrokes.
Roger Federer scored Major wins within 21 years.
Federer had a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and overwhelmed Istomin in the most extended ones to race over the finish line and set the second-round clash with Marin Cilic. Pushing hard right from the start, Federer barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the opener and secured two breaks for 6-2 and momentum. Istomin couldn’t do much on the return in set number two, allowing Federer to grab an early break and control the scoreboard for 6-4, moving two sets to love ahead.
Producing four comfortable holds in the third set, Roger grabbed breaks in games five and nine to move over the top and celebrate the 363rd Major victory. It was a milestone one, as Federer became the second player with a Major win 21 years after scoring the first, joining Jimmy Connors on the exclusive list. Jimmy’s first Major victory came in 1971, and he was still competitive in 1992 to set the record that stood in his hands until a couple of days ago. Behind Connors and Federer, Andre Agassi, Fabrice Santoro and Feliciano Lopez scored Major wins within 19 years, while Rafael Nadal stands on 18, starting from Wimbledon 2003.