Where: Paris, France
June 8, 2009 : Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis player who is ranked world Number Two* and believed by many to be the best player of all time, won the prize that had been eluding him for years. He won the French Open men’s singles title in Paris, defeating Swedish player Robin Soderling in straight sets. This was 27-year-old Federer’s 11th attempt at the title, and his fourth consecutive final at the championship. For the last three years, he was defeated by the Spanish player Rafael Nadal. This year, Nadal was knocked out of the tournament in the fourth round by Soderling.
Federer is now part of a select group made up of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi – the five other men who have acheived the Grand Slam. In tennis, the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open are the biggest events of the year. Winning all four events is called a ‘Grand Slam’. Each event is also called a Grand Slam competition.
With this win, Federer also equals Pete Sampras’ record of winning 14 Grand Slam event titles.”It was probably my greatest victory, I was under big pressure. I did it and it’s phenomenal,” said Federer, who fell to the ground and wept at the end of the match. His opponent Soderling called Federer the “the best player in history” and added, “He gave me a lesson in how to play tennis.”
The women’s final had two Russians competing for the title. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 23, defeated Dinara Safina, who remains World No.1 in the rankings. This was the second time Kuznetsova won a Grand slam event; her first big prize was the US Open which she won as a 19-year old. Kuznetsova has now moved up to No. 5 in the world rankings. India’s Leander Paes and his partner Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic won the Mens’ Doubles title. All eyes turn to London now, where Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis championship, begins on June 22, 2009.
*Rafael Nadal is ranked Number One.