Who Will Stop The Grand Old Men Of Tennis? Evergreen Federer Rules Halle

Jun 23 - by AFP for SportPesa News

Living legend wins the ATP tournament for a record-stretching 10th time on Sunday, notching up his 102nd career singles title

Roger Federer from Switzerland poses with the trophy after he won his final match against David Goffin from Belgium at the ATP tennis tournament in Halle, western Germany, on June 23, 2019. PHOTO/AFP

  • He was one of two 37-year-olds to be playing in an ATP final on the same day, with veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez also in the singles final at Queen's
  • Federer said he was ready for Wimbledon after  waltzing past Belgium's David Goffin in straight sets to win a record-extending 10th title at the ATP event in Halle on Sunday
  • An unsettled looking Goffin then gifted Federer the opening game of the second set with a double fault on break point

BERLIN, Germany- Roger Federer expressed sympathy for the younger generation of tennis players on Sunday, saying that their successes outside of the Grand Slams were being overlooked.

Federer, 37, won the ATP tournament in Halle for a record-stretching 10th time on Sunday, notching up his 102nd career singles title.

He was one of two 37-year-olds to be playing in an ATP final on the same day, with veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez also in the singles final at Queen's.

Federer admitted that the continuing success of older players such as himself, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had left little elbow room for the younger generation.

"As long as me, Rafa and Novak are around it is not going to be easy for a young guy to come up and dominate," he said.

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"Maybe it would be good for the sport if they did, I don't know. People seem to like it as it is."

Yet Federer insisted that the success of players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Borna Coric and Karen Khachanov should not be overlooked. 

Coric, 22, beat Federer in the Halle final last year, while 23-year-old Khachanov broke into the top 10 this year after beating Djokovic in straight sets in the final of the Paris Masters last November.

Federer argued that such triumphs were not being given enough recognition, and were being drowned out by the overwhelming focus on the four majors.

Record-extending

"I think there is too much focus on the Grand Slams these days which isn't fair," said Federer.

"In my day, it was a huge success to win your first Masters 1000 tournament and break into the top 10."

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"Khachanov beat Djokovic in the Paris final as well. It's not like he beat any old tourist."

Federer said he was ready for Wimbledon after  waltzing past Belgium's David Goffin in straight sets to win a record-extending 10th title at the ATP event in Halle on Sunday. 

Federer, 37, beat Goffin 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 to secure his 102nd career singles title and remain unbeaten on grass so far this season. 

"It's unbelievable. I never thought when I first played here that I would win 10 titles," said Federer.

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"Often when it went well for me here, I also had successful Wimbledons, so this sets me up nicely."

The Swiss star is chasing a ninth Wimbledon crown in London next month as he looks to extend and defend his record of 20 career majors. 

Long-term rival Rafael Nadal moved to within just two titles of Federer's record with his 12th French Open triumph earlier this month, while world number one Novak Djokovic is just five short with 15 career majors. 

Great intensity

The win at Halle means that Federer will be second seed ahead of Nadal at the All-England Club, and the Swiss said that his performances at the tournament would boost his confidence. 

"It's always good at my age to prove myself that I can last five matches in six days and tough ones along the way," he said.

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Federer endured a rough ride in the early rounds in Halle, battling to hard-fought, three-set victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut. 

Things got easier in the latter stages as he thrashed Andy Murray's new doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the semi-finals before dispatching Goffin on Sunday. 

Federer held off three break points early in the first set before prevailing in the tiebreaker. 

An unsettled looking Goffin then gifted Federer the opening game of the second set with a double fault on break point. 

From there, the Swiss never looked back, breaking Goffin twice more on his way to a 10th Halle title. 

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"I thought David was actually better than me in the first 10 games," said Federer.

Goffin added: "I thought I started really well, there was great intensity in the first set.