“Looks Like It’s Only Grand Slam Titles That Matter”: Roger Federer Opens Up on Obsession with Grand Slam Race

Published 06/15/2021, 7:57 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Roger Federer has opened up on how the conversation inevitably veers to the race for Grand Slams when he is spoken in the same breath as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

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Speaking to reporters after opening his campaign at ATP Halle 2021 with a closely fought win over Belarussian qualifier Ilya Ivashka on Monday, Federer said that from the strains of the discourse these days it seems like only the Grand Slams matter and not the other Tour championship wins.

The eight-time Wimbledon champion says he doesn’t like how the modern-day discourse seems to link tennis greatness to Grand Slam titles. “Looks like it’s only Grand Slam titles that matter these days. And I don’t like that,” Federer said.

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(Quotes have been translated)

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer during his second round match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Roger Federer says there are more Tour events than Grand Slams in a calendar year

Federer said that across both the men’s and women’s circuits, tennis stars play more Tour events than Grand Slams round the year and it’s unfair to always be holding them to their Grand Slam records.

Federer said back in the day when he was pushing for more Grand Slams, he was fueled by a desire to go past Pete Sampras’s career haul of 14 Major titles.

The Swiss added that he has always maintained that all the Grand Slam championships that he won after breaking Sampras’s record was a “bonus”, clearly hinting that he isn’t obsessed about staying ahead in the Grand Slam race. 

“Most of the time we play ATP tournaments. At the time, I just wanted to beat Pete’s record. I’ve always said that anything that comes after 15 Grand Slam titles was a bonus,” Federer said.

Watch This Link: Madrid Open 2009 Final: The Last Time Roger Federer Defeated Rafael Nadal on Clay

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His remark was also an educated dig at those who seem not to give due diligence to his career title wins, which is far more than Nadal and DjokovicFederer currently leads at 103 titles, with Nadal trailing at 88 and Djokovic further behind at 84. 

The champion was previously quoted as saying that he is under no illusion about the fact that Nadal and Djokovic will eventually finish with more career Grand Slam titles than him.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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