Roger Federer Crowned Oldest No. 1 in Tennis at Age 36

Source: Statista

Having won his 97th ATP World Tour title in Rotterdam on Sunday, Roger Federer became the oldest tennis player to reach world no. 1 since the introduction of the ATP Rankings in 1973. The Swiss maestro took the top spot from Rafael Nadal, nearly five years his junior, in the new rankings published on Monday.

Reclaiming the no. 1 spot more than five years after having lost it to Novak Djokovic in November 2012, Federer’s return to the tennis throne adds a couple more records to his name. Not only is he the oldest player to reach number 1 – Andre Agassi was 33 when he was last no. 1 in September 2003 – Federer is also the player with the longest period between two stints at no. 1 (5 years) and the player with the longest period between his no. 1 debut and his latest coronation (14 years). This week will mark his 303rd week at the top of the ATP Rankings, which is, you guessed it, also a record.

At 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Roger Federer also leads in that category, which leads us to one of the few records in male tennis he has yet to conquer. Having won 97 singles titles on tour, the Swiss trails Jimmy Connors by 12 wins. The American won 109 tournaments during his career, including 8 Grand Slam titles.

Tennis Infographic

The “Big Four” Dominate at the Grand Slams

The Australian Open has its dream final. After the early exits of top seeds Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seized the moment to make a run for the title. Not having played an official tour event since Wimbledon in July, Federer is perhaps the more surprising finalist of the two, but it was Nadal who had to pass the biggest test today, when he beat Grigor Dimitrov in a five-hour epic. Having faced each other in Grand Slam finals a record eight times in the past (Nadal leads 6-2), the tennis world is looking forward to witnessing another hopefully gripping final between the two friendly rivals.

Over the past decade, the Grand Slam tournaments have been utterly dominated by four players: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray won 44 of the past 50 Grand Slam titles in the men’s singles competition, with only three other players having been able to break their dominance and lift one of the four most important trophies in Tennis since (the long-retired) Marat Safin won in Melbourne in 2005.

This chart ranks active male Tennis players by the number of singles Grand Slam titles they have won so far.

Infographic: The
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Can Serena Make it 23?

Former world number one Serena Williams kicked off her Australian Open campaign in style, beating the Swiss hopeful Belinda Bencic 6:3 6:4 on Tuesday. The No.2 seed Williams, formerly known to start tournaments off slow and get into the rhythm as they progress, couldn’t afford a slow start this time around, as Bencic posed a serious threat to Serena’s quest for a 23rd Grand Slam title. After all, Bencic had won their last encounter in Toronto two years ago.

Currently tied with Steffi Graf at 22 Grand Slam wins, Williams is on the brink of surpassing Steffi Graf to become the single most successful tennis player in the open era. As our chart illustrates, no active player is even close to matching Williams’ Grand Slam resume and should she finally reach 23 titles, it will likely be a record for the ages.

This chart ranks active female tennis players by the number of Grand Slam titles they won.

Infographic: Can Serena Make it 23? | Statista
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Serena On The Brink

The desire to use the superlative is seemingly irresistible in most sports. The discussions on ‘the best ever’ player/team/coach can not only be passionately and seemingly endlessly discussed in stadiums and pubs alike but also by pundits, commentators and journalists. There are very few examples of consensus; while for one person, Lionel Messi might be the greatest footballer who ever played the game, there will always be another arguing Cristiano Ronaldo’s corner. Others would chirp in, claiming modern-day players have an unfair advantage; equipment and playing conditions are better, more time and money is invested in training, there are more games played – the list goes on.

When it comes to Tennis, the situation is no different. Already before one begins to form an opinion, there must be a distinction made between the Open and pre-Open era. For the chart below, we’re looking at players active in the Open era – i.e. since 1968. Cutting through the subjective and qualitative, when it comes to the numbers there are really only two players that can be considered for the honour of this particular superlative. Going into this year’s US Open, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams are tied level on possibly the most important numerical indicators of greatness. With 22 Grand Slam singles titles to their names and a total of 186 consecutive weeks each as world number one, Serena now stands on the brink.

If she wins next Saturday at Flushing Meadows, Williams will have two more very big reasons to stake a claim as ‘the greatest ever’. Well, greatest singles player. In the Open era…

This chart compares Serena Williams and Steffi Graf on Grand Slams won and weeks as world number one.

Infographic: Serena On The Brink | Statista
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