Chasing his 21st Major crown at the Australian Open in a couple of weeks, Roger Federer revived the moment when he caught and passed the record of Pete Sampras, becoming the most successful player at the most prominent tennis events.
The Swiss admitted it felt great to move in front of the American and to add as many titles as possible in the last ten years, still standing in front of his closest rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Federer's first Major crown came at Wimbledon 2003, attaching 15 more in the next seven years to stand on 16 after the Australian Open 2010 and looking good to stay the leader of the pack for good.
In six years between 2004-09, Federer lifted 14 Major trophies, passing Pete Sampras after that epic Wimbledon 2009 final and winning another one at the Australian Open at the beginning of the next season. Between Roland Garros 2010 and the US Open 2016, the Swiss star had managed to celebrate at only one Grand Slam (Wimbledon 2012), allowing Nadal and Djokovic to soften the deficit in the previous decade but remaining in front of them thanks to late titles in Melbourne in 2017 and 2018.
Djokovic and Nadal claimed all four crowns in 2019 and Nadal has a chance to at least catch the Swiss in the season ahead of us, which is perfectly fine for Roger as well, praising his biggest rivals but feeling confident about his chances of winning more Majors in the next couple of years.
"Of course, at the time, it was a big deal for me to equal or pass Pete Sampras' record. Ever since, it has been about adding what I can to that tally but I enjoy tennis, I like it a lot. I hope I can still play for a little longer and if I can add more Grand Slams that would be great. Still, it is not an attempt to fend off the others; if Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal pass me, that's o.k."