If there's one tennis player today who exhibits the stuff that legends are made of, it has to be the current men's world number one player, Roger Federer of Switzerland. Since gaining the top spot in the men's tennis rankings in February 2004, Federer has been an immovable force and now holds the distinction of staying at number one for the third-longest time behind only Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors.
And Federer has done it in style. In 2004, for instance, he became the first man since 1988 to win three out of four Grand Slam events in the same year, capturing the championships at the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon. From 2003 to 2006, Federer won an astounding seven Grand Slam singles titles and was already being mentioned in the same breadth with some of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Like many of the other tennis greats, Federer took up the game early, at age eight. He dominated the junior’s circuit for several years before joining the ATP tour in 1998, but not before an impressive reign as the ITF World Junior Tennis champion. By 1999, he was good enough to be named to the Swiss Davis Cup team. He finished the year as the youngest player ever to be ranked among the ATP's top 100.
He won his first ATP tournament in 2001, but his big accomplishment that year was when he powered the Swiss Davis Cup team to a 3-2 victory over the United States. He was the 13th-ranked player in the world by end-2001.
He won his first ATP Masters Series (AMS) final in Hamburg in 2002 as well as the Medibank International title. The highlight of that year was when he beat two former world number ones (Russians Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov) in Davis Cup competition. Federer finished 2002 as number six in the world.
It was in 2003 when Federer started to hit his stride. He started the year by winning two tournaments in a row. In July, he also captured the Wimbledon Championships, his first Grand Slam crown. He also won the Tennis Masters Cup and led Switzerland to a semifinals appearance in David Cup action.
The year 2004 was the Year of Roger Federer as he put together one of the most dominant seasons ever seen in the open era of modern tennis. Aside from winning three of the four Grand Slam events, Federer also went home with the Tennis Masters Cup for the second straight year. He finished 2004 with a remarkable 74-6 win-loss record and was named by Tennis Magazine as its "Player of the Year."