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Roger Federer adds another "Big Title" to his resume by winning the 2018 Australian Open crown.

Federer Strengthens 'Big Titles' Lead With Slam No. 20

Djokovic, Nadal remain close behind the 36-year-old Swiss

You can pick and choose your favourite Roger Federer number – 20 Grand Slam titles, six Australian Open crowns, 36 years old – but they're all reaching the stage of indescribable.

Another example: 53, his tally of “Big Titles” after earning back-to-back Australian Open crowns on Sunday for only the second time in his career (2006-07). In addition to his 20 Grand Slams, Federer's Hall-of-Fame career has also featured six Nitto ATP Finals titles and 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns.

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But his 20th major title was especially sweet, Federer admitted after beating Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to improve to 9-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “Getting to 20 is obviously very, very special, no doubt,” he said.

It seems like a decade ago, not 14 months, when Federer was in the midst of his biggest Grand Slam title slump. From January 2010 to December 2016, Federer had won only two Grand Slam titles – 2010 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon. Not since before 2003 Wimbledon, when he won his first Grand Slam title, had Federer endured such a stretch.

Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990) 

Player

Grand Slams

Nitto ATP Finals

1000s

Total (Avg)

Roger Federer

20/72

6/15

27/127

53/214 (4.0)

Novak Djokovic

12/52

5/10

30/98

47/160 (3.4)

Rafael Nadal

16/51

0/8

30/107

46/164 (3.6)

Pete Sampras

14/52

5/11

11/83

30/146 (4.9)

Andre Agassi

8/61

1/13

17/90

26/164 (6.3)

Andy Murray

3/46

1/8

14/96

18/148 (8.2)

Boris Becker*

2/26

2/6

5/51

9/83 (9.2)

Thomas Muster

1/29

0/4

8/53

9/86 (9.6)

Gustavo Kuerten

3/33

1/3

5/67

9/103 (11.4)

Jim Courier

4/38

0/4

5/71

9/113 (12.6)

Stefan Edberg**

3/28

0/4

1/24

4/56 (14)

Marcelo Rios

0/26

0/1

5/56

5/83 (16.6)

Michael Chang

1/50

0/6

7/86

8/142 (17.8)

Marat Safin

2/41

0/3

5/87

7/131 (18.7)

Andy Roddick

1/46

0/6

5/75

6/127 (21.2)

 * Becker's four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg's three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.  

Toss in his knee surgery and his six months away from the sport in the second half of 2016, and it becomes easier to remember why he and his millions of fans wondered if he would ever kiss another Grand Slam trophy. Yet here Federer is at 36, an age known as “ancient” in tennis a decade ago, having won three of the past five Grand Slam tournaments.

“I can't believe it myself. I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don't think age is an issue, per se. It's just a number,” Federer said. “But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that's what's going to dictate how successful I will be.”

Longest Streaks Of Grand Slam Titles By Federer & Rafael Nadal

Length of Streak

Federer's Titles

Nadal's Titles

11 majors

2005-07 Wimb, 2005-07 USO, 2006-07 AO

2005-07 RG

6 majors

2008 USO, 2009 RG, 2009 Wimb

2008 RG, 2008 Wimb, 2009 AO

5 majors

2017 AO, 2017 Wimb, 2018 AO

2017 RG, 2017 USO

4 majors

2010 AO

2010 RG, 2010 Wimb, 2010 USO

Federer's rivals, however, remain close behind the Swiss star in the Big Titles count. Novak Djokovic has 47 Big Titles and leads everyone, including Federer, in his efficiency at the biggest tournaments. Djokovic has played 159 Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 tournaments, and he's won 47 Big Titles, which means, on average, he hoists a Big Title about every three opportunities (3.4). The Serbian is also tied with Federer and Roy Emerson for the all-time Australian Open titles lead at six.

Most Australian men’s singles titles (all-time)

Player

No. of titles

Roger Federer

6

Novak Djokovic

6

Roy Emerson

6

Andre Agassi

4

Jack Crawford

4

Ken Rosewall

4

Active players in bold

Nadal has also won Big Titles on a more consistent basis than Federer. The Spaniard has contested 161 Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 tournaments, and has claimed 46 Big Titles (every 3.5 on average).

But Federer said he's not worried about extending any title lead against the current greats – Djokovic and Nadal – or the retired legends, including Emerson and Pete Sampras.

Watch Federer Tribute

“It doesn't matter. It's about living the emotions that I went through tonight again at the trophy ceremony, going through a tough rollercoaster match, five-setter against Cilic, who is a great player, and then getting No. 6 here, No. 20 overall. It's just a very special moment,” Federer said.

“Defending my title from last year, sort of the fairytale continues. That's what stands out for me, maybe not equaling Emerson or Novak. They had their own unbelievable careers. I admire what they're doing and have done with Emo. It's definitely a very special moment in my life again.”

Because, for Federer, during the 200th Grand Slam tournament of the Open Era (since April 1968) and the 50th Australian Open, celebrating his 20th Grand Slam title was good enough.

Federer In Grand Slam Finals

Event

Result

2003 Wimbledon

d. Mark Philippoussis 76(5) 62 76(3)

2004 Australian Open

d. Marat Safin 76(3) 64 62

2004 Wimbledon

d. Andy Roddick 46 75 76(3) 64

2004 US Open

d. Lleyton Hewitt 60 76(3) 60

2005 Wimbledon

d. Andy Roddick 62 76(2) 64

2005 US Open

d. Andre Agassi 63 26 76(1) 61

2006 Australian Open

d. Marcos Baghdatis 57 75 60 62

2006 Roland Garros

l. Rafael Nadal 16 61 64 76(4)

2006 Wimbledon

d. Rafael Nadal 60 76(5) 67(2) 63

2006 US Open

d. Andy Roddick 62 46 75 61

2007 Australian Open

d. Fernando Gonzalez 76(2) 64 64

2007 Roland Garros

l. Rafael Nadal 63 46 63 64

2007 Wimbledon

d. Rafael Nadal 76(7) 46 76(3) 26 62

2007 US Open

d. Novak Djokovic 76(4) 76(2) 64

2008 Roland Garros

l. Rafael Nadal 61 63 60

2008 Wimbledon

l. Rafael Nadal 64 64 67(5) 67(8) 97

2008 US Open

d. Andy Murray 62 75 62

2009 Australian Open

l. Rafael Nadal 75 36 76(3) 36 62

2009 Roland Garros

d. Robin Soderling 61 76(1) 64

2009 Wimbledon

d. Andy Roddick 57 76(6) 76(5) 36 16-14

2009 US Open

l. Juan Martin del Potro 36 76(5) 46 76(4) 62

2010 Australian Open

d. Andy Murray 63 64 76(11)

2011 Roland Garros

l. Rafael Nadal 75 76(3) 57 61

2012 Wimbledon

d. Andy Murray 46 75 63 64

2014 Wimbledon

l. Novak Djokovic 67(7) 64 76(4) 57 64

2015 Wimbledon

l. Novak Djokovic 76(1) 67(10) 64 63

2015 US Open

l. Novak Djokovic 64 57 64 64

2017 Australian Open

d. Rafael Nadal 64 36 61 36 63

2017 Wimbledon

d. Marin Cilic 63 61 64

2018 Australian Open

d. Marin Cilic 62 67(5) 63 36 61

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