Wednesday, June 17

A tribute

Finally, a complete collection.

After 3 finals at Roland Garros, Roger Federer finally won his first French Grand Slam title. Too bad it was not Rafael Nadal at the opposite end. Instead, Robin Soderling measured up to his big upset of Nadal to reach the finals. Alas, he succumbed to a hungrier and more determined Federer.

No more tears of disappointment and sadness, it's tears of joy this time around. And what a joy it was to see him finally lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaire. Winning the title also made him only the sixth man to achieve the career grand slam and put him level with Pete Sampras with a record of 14 majors. And bearing any upsets, he might surpass that mark by winning on grass in a few weeks time in Wimbledon.

Federer's Grand Slams record:

1. Wimbledon 2003: Only 21 years old, he beat Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) and claim his first grand-slam title.

2. Australia Open 2004: Federer celebrates becoming world No 1 by outclassing Marat Safin 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-2 for his second grand-slam title.

3. Wimbledon 2004: Defeated Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 for his second of many Wimbledon titles to come.

4. US Open 2004: Federer becomes the first man in history to win his first four grand-slam finals - and the first man in 16 years to claim three Majors in one year - with a 6-0, 7-6 (7/3), 6-0 rout of Lleyton Hewitt, his first victory in New York.

5. Wimbledon 2005: Three in a row, and the victim is none other than Andy Roddick, beating him 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

6. US Open 2005: Defeated Andre Agassi 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 to defend his title.

7. Australia Open 2006: Federer recovers from a poor start to sink unfancied Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 for his second title in Melbourne.

8. Wimbledon 2006: Federer takes his winning streak on grass to 48 matches by beating arch rival Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6, (7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 for a fourth Wimbledon crown.

9. US Open 2006: Hi Roddick, bye Roddick. Third title here by beating Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

10. Australia Open 2007: Federer becomes the first man since 1980 to win a grand slam without dropping a set as he sees off Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-4 for a third title in Melbourne.

11. Wimbledon 2007: Federer emulates Bjorn Borg by winning a fifth straight title here, beating Nadal for the second year in succession in an epic five-setter - 7-6 (9/7), 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-2 - that lasted close to four hours.

12. US Open 2007: Beat the joker Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 for his fourth consecutive title in New York.

13. US Open 2008: Federer recovers from his Roland Garros and Wimbledon heartbreak months earlier to win a fifth straight title at Flushing Meadows, beating Britain's Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in the final as a second seed.

14. French Open 2009: Federer grabs the elusive title at Roland Garros by beating surprise finalist Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4.

With more Slams to come, for sure. Go Roger!