Tommy Haas reached another milestone in his 16-year professional tennis career Thursday by becoming the fourth active player to win 500 matches on the ATP Tour, joining Roger Federer (871), Rafael Nadal (583) and Lleyton Hewitt (566).
The 34-year-old German, who won 13 career titles and was ranked a career-high second in 2002, reached the mark by defeating Jesse Levine of the United States 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Erste Bank Open.
”It was a major goal of mine,” said Haas, who returned to the top 20 this week after recovering from persistent shoulder and hip injuries. ”It makes me very proud, and it’s certainly one of the biggest achievements of my career especially after all what happened.”
Haas is the 38th player in the open era to achieve the feat.
Jimmy Connors leads the all-time ranking with 1,243 wins ahead of Ivan Lendl (1,071), Guillermo Vilas (923), John McEnroe (875) and Federer. Boris Becker (713) was the first German player to pass the mark.
”We got a daughter (in Nov. 2010) during the time I was injured and that motivated me to come back,” Haas said. ”I hoped she could see me play one day so she would realize what her father has done in his career. As long as the body holds up and I enjoy it, I will keep playing.”
Immediately after the match, tournament organizers presented Haas with a car – a Fiat 500 – which he took for a couple of turns on the center court.
”A great gift and a real bonus for me,” Haas said.