Tennis: 5 of Roger Federer's greatest Grand Slam moments

Roger Federer taking a selfie with the Australian Open Men's singles trophy at Government House in Melbourne on Jan 29. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Roger Federer all but sealed his status as the greatest tennis player of all-time on Sunday (Jan 28) at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where the 36-year-old clinched what was previously thought an unattainable 20th Grand Slam title.

The Straits Times looks back at five of his most memorable triumphs in Majors.

2017 Australian Open

To understand what this victory meant to Federer, all you need is one video clip.

It is a slow-mo video of his reaction to his match-winning shot in the 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 final against old rival Rafael Nadal being upheld.

You feel everything Federer does: relief (that the three-and-a-half hour match was finally over), jubilation, delirium, and then the realisation of what he had accomplished.

At 35, he became the oldest man in 45 years, since Ken Rosewall in 1972, to win a Grand Slam.

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And in his first tournament in six months after being laid low with a knee injury.

Federer had to beat top-10 players Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori, and then Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, to set up the date with Nadal.

The final was the first time he had beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam event since the 2007 Wimbledon final, and was also his first Grand Slam victory over the Spaniard outside of the grass courts of the All England Club.

2003 Wimbledon

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They say you never forget your first.

Federer, then 21, finally showed his championship mettle, after he swatted aside big-serving Australian Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in under two hours.

Having won the Wimbledon Juniors in 1998, he was tipped to be the next big thing in men's tennis but had to wait five years before proving he would.

Following the win, the game's legends looked into their crystal ball and had great expectations.

John McEnroe said a talent like Federer comes "only once in 10 or 15 years" while Pat Cash compared the Swiss to seven-time champion Pete Sampras.

But even they could not have predicted Federer would follow-up his debut Grand Slam title with another four consecutive triumphs at Wimbledon, before eventually surpassing Sampras.

2009 Wimbledon

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A history-making win, in every sense of the phrase. This was Federer's 15th Grand Slam title, which saw him surpass Sampras' all-time record.

That was not the only record set that afternoon.

Federer's 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 win over American Andy Roddick was the longest men's singles final (in terms of games played) in Grand Slam tournament history with 77 games, breaking the record of 71 games set at the 1927 Australian Open.

The match also had the longest fifth set (16-14) in a major men's singles final, surpassing the 11-9 fifth set in the 1927 French Open final.

The Fed Express was in full steam by now, and he certainly looked the part - he strode out onto the grass at Wimbledon in an elegant white jacket, and had a gold trim on the collar of his playing shirt. Naturally.

2009 French Open

Critics will say Federer's lone French Open title win was down to Nadal not being in his way. After all, he was beaten by the Spaniard in three previous finals.

But Nadal was stunned in the fourth round by World No. 23 Robin Soderling in four sets.

The Swede then beat Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez to meet Federer in the final but fell 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in just under two hours.

Because of the shock of Nadal's 31-game winning streak being snapped, perhaps not enough credit is given to Federer.

But he had to toil for his title, and dug deep against Jose Acasuso and Paul Henri-Mathieu in the earlier rounds to avoid becoming a giant-killing casualty like Nadal.

He also had to see off in-form players Gael Monfils and Juan Martin Del Potro, before taking down Soderling.

2005 US Open

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"I think Roger is the best I've played against... He's the only guy I've ever played against where you hold serve to go 1-0, and you're thinking, 'All right! Good!'".

Andre Agassi was effusive in his praise for Federer after their 2005 US Open final, and not many would disagree with his praise.

Even when he was not at his best, Federer was good enough to post a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 win over the crafty eight-time Grand Slam winner Agassi, who was playing in his last Grand Slam final.

So often the nice guy, Federer had to play the role of villain for one match, denying the fairy tale ending to his American opponent's career, who had needed a cortisone injection to calm the pain of a back injury just to be able to play in the tournament.

In the end, the 11-year age gap proved too much for Agassi to overcome.

Even after beating the romantic's favourite, Federer was charming.

"Fortunately, it happened that I play my best again in the final as usual," he shrugged. "I don't know how I do it, but it definitely feels great every single time."

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