Roger Federer won his 18th major on Sunday at the Australian Open, extending his record for the most Grand Slam titles in the sport's history. Where does this win, which came at age 35 over Federer's arch-rival Rafael Nadal, rank in The Fed's pantheon? We looked back at each of Federer's Grand Slam titles, broke down the matches, the competitors, the quality and the significance of each to rank them from No. 1 to No. 18.
2017 Australian Open (d. Nadal in 5)
You pick the storyline you like best. A 35-year-old becomes the oldest man in 42 years to win a Grand Slam. A 35-year-old who hadn't won a Grand Slam in nearly five years hoisted a trophy at the year's first major. The 35-year-old was playing in his first tournament in six months after being out with an injury. He won it by defeating three of the best players in the world, each in a five-set classic. And, oh yeah, he had to beat Nadal in the final, coming back to win a classic fifth set that could very well end up being the decisive battle in the never-ending debate about the greatest tennis player of all time. It might be Federer's last (though I suspect he'll get to No. 19 by the time it's all said and done). It's certainly his greatest.
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2009 French Open (d. Robin Soderling in 3)
After Federer lost his third Grand Slam final to Rafael Nadal in seven months (and then bawled during the Australian Open trophy ceremony), the first "is Federer done?" conversations began and really haven't stopped for eight years. Then, out of nowhere, Nadal had his unbeaten streak at Roland Garros snapped by Robin Soderling and when Federer made his fourth-straight final, this time he didn't have Rafa to thwart him. It capped a career Slam that many thought he'd never get.
2003 Wimbledon (d. Mark Philippoussis in 3)
The one that started them all. Federer was identified as the next big thing in tennis when he won Wimbledon juniors in 1998. But he was a bit of a disappointment early on, mixing in unbelievable highs (upsetting Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001) and dismaying lows (losing in the first round the next year). Finally, in 2003, Federer put it all together, taking advantage of an easy draw that saw him face one top-10 player and then easily dispatching the big-serving, 48th-ranked Aussie to win his first-ever Grand Slam, 4,956 days before he won his 18th.
2005 U.S. Open (d. Andre Agassi in 4)
With Federer on a roll, having won five of the last nine Slams and in the midst of a 22-match finals winning streak, he played his first final against a tennis legend. The crafty, late-career Agassi - playing his last major final one year before his retirement - evened up the match with Federer in the second and forced a third-set tiebreak that might as well have been a decider. Agassi won the first point and then Federer, playing his most sublime tiebreak of his life, won seven straight points to take the set en route to a 6-1 drubbing in the fourth and final set to win back-to-back Opens.
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2012 Wimbledon (d. Murray in 4)
In the first edition of "will Roger ever win another major," Federer beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semis and then crushed the dreams of Great Britain by beating Andy Murray in the final (Murray was the first Brit to play in the Wimbeldon final since 1938). It was such an easy, drama-free major victory that more figured to follow, even as Federer was about to turn 31. Instead, The Fed soon went into the only slump of his career in 2013, forcing him to make big changes that paid off in 2014 and beyond.
2010 Australian Open (d. Murray in 3)
The last hurrah of the era of Roger Federer dominance. Playing in the 18th final of his last 19 Slams, Federer easily beat Murray in straights (but not without a 20-point tiebreak in the third) to take his 16th major. Over that span, Federer won 16 of 27 majors. Following the 2010 Australian Open, he'd win two of the next 26.
2009 Wimbledon (d. Andy Roddick in 5)
Slam No. 15, the one that moved Federer out of a tie with Pete Sampras to give him the most majors in the history of the sport. That's a fairly big accomplishment and the match (which ended in that classic 16-14 fifth set) was among his most memorable, so why is this one so low?
A) Federer breaking the record was conjectured from the beginning, discussed as a realistic possibility in 2005 and then virtually assured after he won three majors in each 2006 and 2007. This was hardly a climactic moment like it would be if Tiger Woods would have ever broken Jack Nicklaus's record. (Yes, past tense. Mark Tiger down for another major but even Mr. Woods himself can't expect him to get to No. 18.)
B) Federer was outplayed by Roddick for the first 76 games of the match. It wasn't until the 77th and final game that The Fed got a break of serve. (And once Federer saved two break points at 8-8, the match felt all but over.)
C) That tie with Sampras? It lasted all of four weeks.
2007 Wimbledon (d. Rafael Nadal in 5)
The second of three-straight finals between the rivals, Federer won his record-tying fifth-straight Wimbledon title over a budding Nadal, who was just emerging as a major threat off his favored clay surface. This one went five sets and was one of the best-played finals on this list. Federer saved a number of break points in the fifth and then hit three forehand winners to break Nadal in the decider en route to his 54th-straight win on grass. If not for the classic Wimbledon final the two would play one year later (instantly regarded as the greatest match ever and only building in reputation since), this one would be the Federer/Nadal match they remember.
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2004 U.S. Open (d. Lleyton Hewitt in 3)
Federer's inaugural U.S. Open capped a three-Slam season (his first of three), broke Federer in the United States and alerted the tennis world that something special was in its midst. This was Federer's most dominant finals win: He dropped the No. 4 seed and former world No. 1 by the odd score of 6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-0.
2004 Wimbledon (d. Roddick in 4)
This brought back-to-back wins at Wimbledon and was Federer's first major as the No. 1 player in the world, coming against the No. 2 player for good measure.
2005 Wimbledon (d. Roddick in 3)
Ho-hum, a third-straight Wimbledon title and one in which Federer only dropped one set (to Nicolas Kiefer, oddly enough).
2006 Wimbledon (d. Nadal in 4)
Nadal wasn't quite Nadal in the rival's first Wimbledon final. Yes, Rafa had just won his second-straight French Open and did it over Federer, so there was a nice bit of revenge in the win as well as a message that Federer was still the best in the world. But, in that moment, Nadal was a clay-court specialist who beat up an injured Agassi in the third round and then cruised to a final against subpar competition and Federer was the guy who was winning his fourth-straight at the All England Club. (You can decide whether to add or deduct points based on the sport coat.)
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2007 U.S. Open (d. Novak Djokovic in 3)
Djokovic was a rising star at age 20, having made his third-straight major semifinal at the Open, where he dispatched the Nadal-dispatching David Ferrer before getting overmatched by Federer. In the annals of history, this final was the first to pit two great champions but no one had any way of knowing that at the time.
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2007 Australian Open (d. Fernando Gonzalez in 3)
Easily the most forgettable of Federer's Slams. If you asked tennis fans to list the men The Fed had defeated in Slam finals, Gonzalez would be left off the most lists, by far. But this jumps a bit in the rankings because Federer won the tournament without dropping a set, making him the first man in 27 years to accomplish the feat.
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2008 U.S. Open (d. Andy Murray in 3)
A virtual replay of the 2007 final with Djokovic, complete with the twinkle provided by hindsight.
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2004 Australian Open (d. Marat Safin in 3)
In his first two Slam wins, Federer beat the 48th-ranked player in the world (Philippoussis) and the 86th-ranked player (Safin). There's more than meets the eye, though. One year before, Safin was the No. 3 player in the world and one year after he'd win in Melbourne for his second major title. In 2004, though, he was hardly a match for a 22-year-old Federer, who would hoist his second major trophy.
2006 U.S. Open (d. Roddick in 4)
In 2006, Federer winning Wimbledon or the U.S. Open was automatic - from 2004-07 he was 56-0 at the tournaments. This was Federer's best season at a major. He went 27-1, missing out on the Slam by two sets at Roland Garros. The next year he'd have the except same results but would finish 26-1 because of a walkover at Wimbledon. Also, Tiger Woods was there, thus setting up the friendship that would be fractured after Tiger crashed his Escalade.
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2006 Australian Open (d. Marcos Baghdatis in 4)
This was the first time Federer went on a three-major win streak but other than that, this one blends into all the rest. Federer faced just one opponent ranked inside the top 20 and if he hadn't played the affable, crowd-pleasing Baghdatis in the final, we might have forgotten about this one completely.