BRISBANE (Reuters) - With 17 grand slam titles under his belt, Roger Federer has made a habit of smashing barriers and passing milestones but even he was moved by his latest achievement.
On Sunday, he chalked up another watershed, registering his 1,000 ATP career match win by beating Milos Raonic 6-4 6-7(2) 6-4 in the final of the Brisbane International.
Only Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl had achieved the feat before and Federer was clearly moved.
“It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won, because I never thought about anything, reaching 500 or 800,” he told a news conference.
“All those numbers didn’t mean anything to me, but for some reason 1.000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just counting to 1,000 is going to take a while.”
The stars aligned themselves perfectly for Federer to reach the milestone. By sheer coincidence it came in a final in a country where the Swiss maestro has enjoyed some of his greatest triumphs.
He received the tournament trophy from Roy Emerson, an Australian great who won 12 grand slam titles, and also a special framed photograph from Rod Laver, the only player to complete the calendar-year grand slam on two occasions.
Raonic almost spoiled the party after coming back from losing the opening set and going down a service break in the second but the epic nature of the contest only added to Federer’s accomplishment.
“Looking back, it’s almost nicer winning this way through a tight match with nerves and humid conditions against a great player in a final,” Federer said.
“It means so much more than just running away with it with the score maybe winning 6-4 6-4, which was looking very likely at one stage.”
Federer said the win had boosted his confidence of adding to his tally of grand slam wins, which has been stuck on 17 since his last major win at Wimbledon 2012.
At 33, he has no plans of retiring but conceded that the all-time record for ATP wins -- which Connors holds at 1,253 -- may be beyond him.
”Never even thought about it,“ he said. ”It’s not been a goal of mine to reach any of those guys.
”I know how well they’ve played over the years, how much they’ve played, and how successful they’ve played but it’s not a goal of mine in any way.
“Clearly, at this point, I doubt that it’s going to happen, but you never know.”
Reporting by Julian Linden