Roger Federer announced he would retire from professional tennis after the Laver Cup next week. His decision draws curtains on a stellar career that lasted more than two decades.
The 41-year-old said in a statement, “The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.”
Federer will end his career with an imperious tally of 20 Grand Slam titles, but also had to deal with the heartbreak of losses in 11 finals. Federer won the first Grand Slam title in 2003 when he beat Mark Philippoussis in the Wimbledon final. Federer’s last Grand Slam win was the 2018 Australian Open, where he beat Marin Cilic in straight sets.
The Swiss player’s Grand Slam titles break up: eight Wimbledon, six Australian Open, five U.S. Open and one French Open.
His Grand Slam finals loss count of 11 is the joint highest with Ivan Lendl and Novak Djokovic.
But even in his losses in Grand Slam finals, Federer’s effortless tennis made for a great viewing. The 2008 and 2019 Wimbledon finals are among the obvious examples.
Here are the Grand Slam finals Federer lost and his opponent from the match.
2006 – French Open – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4)
This was Federer’s eighth Slam final. The Swiss had won all his previous summit clashes and was already 7-time Grand Slam winner when he faced his first defeat to Rafael Nadal.
2007 – French Open – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
A repeat of the previous year’s final. Between the two losses, Federer won all three Grand Slams up for grabs – Wimbledon 2006, U.S Open 2006 and Australian Open 2007. The Swiss juggernaut was, however, yet again, impeded by Rafael Nadal.
2008 – French Open – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
A Nadal-Federer final in had become a familiar sight by 2008. While Federer maintained his dominance on grass court at the Wimbledon, the Spaniard continued to thrive on clay, winning his fourth French Open, and the third consecutive win over Federer in the Roland Garros final.
2008 – Wimbledon – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7
Considered by many to be one of the greatest matches, the 2008 Wimbledon final lasted 4 hours 48 minutes. Rafael Nadal won the match in five sets and grabbed his maiden Wimbledon title.
2009 – Australian Open – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2
By 2009, Federer had already won 13 Grand Slams and was vying to equal Pete Sampras’ tally of 14. But he met an all-too-familiar foe in the final and lost in five sets. Nadal, on the other hand, collected three out of the four Grand Slams with his latest win over Federer.
2009 – U.S. Open – Juan Martin del Potro defeated Federer 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2
After the Australian Open setback, Federer won the French Open, his first, and Wimbledon. He failed to win the third Slam of the year and was bettered by the brute force of Argentina’s del Potro. Federer still went on to end his fifth consecutive season as No. 1 in ATP rankings in 2009.
2011 – French Open – Rafael Nadal defeated Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1
Federer yet again failed to crack the Nadal puzzle in the French Open final which handed the Spaniard his sixth Roland Garros title and took his overall Grand Slam tally to double figures.
2014 – Wimbledon – Novak Djokovic defeated Federer 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4
By the 2014 Wimbledon final, Federer and Nadal had set the standard in tennis, and Novak Djokovic was very close to matching it. Sitting with six Grand Slam titles, Djokovic bettered Federer in the final to win his second Wimbledon. This was Federer’s first defeat to the Serbian in a Grand Slam final.
2015 – Wimbledon – Novak Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6(1), 6-7(10), 6-4, 6-3
Federer and Djokovic met again in the Wimbledon final and the Serbian took a 2-1 lead over Federer in Grand Slam finals.
2015 – U.S. Open – Novak Djokovic defeated Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
The third successive Grand Slam final meeting between Federer and Djokovic that went in favour of the latter. This was Federer’s seventh and last appearance in the final at the Flushing Meadows. The Swiss won five and lost two, and remain the record holder for most titles in men’s singles in the Open Era.
2019 – Wimbledon – Novak Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12
Federer’s next loss in a final came after he winning three Slams in 2017 and 2018 when he became the first male tennis players to win 20 grand slams. Federer was on the cusp of his 21st title with two match points but squandered both and handed a win to Djokovic.