Friday 6 December 2019

French Open: Roger Federer proud to emulate Jimmy Connors record

Roger Federer waves after defeating Germany's Tobias Kanke during their first round match in the French Open
Roger Federer waves after defeating Germany's Tobias Kanke during their first round match in the French Open

Paul Newman

Roger Federer appears to break records as easily as some politicians break promises.

The 30-year-old Swiss needs only one more victory to beat Jimmy Connors' record of 233 wins in Grand Slam tournaments after beginning his 14th consecutive French Open here yesterday with a 6-2 7-5 6-3 victory over Germany's Tobias Kamke.

It was not a particularly polished display -- the world No 3 dropped his serve three times and made 47 unforced errors -- but he said first-round matches were never easy.

"I had ups and downs on my serve, but overall I'm happy I'm through. Sometimes you have to come through when you're not playing your very best," he said.

Federer said that equalling Connors' record was one of his most important achievements because it demonstrated his longevity.

"Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time and was around for 20 years," Federer said. "I have been so successful for such a long time and to already tie that record, at 30, is pretty incredible, so I'm very happy."


When asked if he had ever talked to Connors about the lengths of their careers, Federer said: "No. He didn't talk to me much when he was working with (Andy) Roddick. He was quite distant at that time, which is a bit weird, because I got on very well with Roddick. But I think he respects me very much. I talked to him, but he is much closer to (Rafael) Nadal than to me. Maybe that's the reason."

Federer has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles -- the last of them was nearly two and a half years ago -- and has reached the quarter-finals or better at the last 31 events.

He is attempting to become the first player over the age of 30 to win a Grand Slam title since Andre Agassi won the Australian Open nine years ago at 32.

While Federer sails on, many of his contemporaries are hitting the rocks. Lleyton Hewitt (31) was beaten 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-3 yesterday by Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic.

David Nalbandian lost 6-3 5-7 6-4 7-5 to Romania's Adrian Ungur, who now faces Federer.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic beat Italy's Potito Starace 7-6 6-3 6-1. (© Independent News Service)

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