Roger Federer finally secured his 100th career title to become only the second player to reach that mark, the first being Jimmy Connors who secured 109 by the time he retired.
To win my eighth here in combination with the 100th, - it’s been a wonderful week for me Roger Federer
It was another huge landmark for the Swiss 20-time grand slam champion, and even more satisfying as it was at the expense of Stefanos Tsitsipas, the young Greek player who ousted him out of the Australian Open where he was the defending champion.
He avenged that defeat 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the eighth time he has emerged as champion of Dubai.
“Welcome to the ‘Triple Digit’ tournament victory club,” Connors himself said in congratulatory tweet. “I’ve been a bit lonely — glad to have the company!!!”
Federer, aged 37, has now won a title every year since his first in Milan 2001.
“It’s been a long, wonderful journey, I have loved every minute,” Federer said. “It’s been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank.
“Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me.”
As well as his record haul of Grand Slam titles, which includes a record eight wins at Wimbledon, Federer has won a record six ATP Finals and topped the rankings for a record 310 weeks — including 237 straight.
As to the match itself, Federer was in complete control from the first moments, breaking Tsitsipas in the opening game and claiming the set on his fourth set point.
The match was closer in the second set but Tsitsipas committed a critical error by netting an easy shot to lose his serve in the ninth game, thereby giving Federer the chance to serve out which he duly did.
“I’m so happy I’m still playing,” Federer said. “It all started as a junior world champion. It’s been great. I wouldn’t do it any differently.
“To win my eighth here in combination with the 100th, — it’s been a wonderful week for me.
“Difficult conditions throughout, tough opponents all the way through to Stefanos, [and] what a great run he’s had.
“I don’t know if Stefanos was born when I won my first title [but] it’s a privilege [to play against possible future champions] because I’ll be watching them on the TV.
“Difficult conditions throughout, tough opponents all the way through to Stefanos.
“What a great run he’s had, to win in Marseille and then come here was difficult for him.
“I don’t know if Stefanos was born when I won my first title.
“I’m sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career. Tennis is in good hands regardless if I’m there or not.”