Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has beaten the record for the longest unbroken reign as world number one, overtaking Jimmy Connors' 30-year-old milestone.This content was published on February 26, 2007 - 18:00
The Basel-born player has held the top spot since February 2, 2004 – a total of 161 weeks.
"It is a nice record to have," said Federer, who extended his career high winning streak to 37 after beating Kristian Pless 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 on Monday in the first round of the Dubai Open. "I'll definitely keep it for three years. It's very hard to beat."
He added: "I've been looking forward to this day to come and I'm very excited. That is definitely one of the biggest records I've broken so far in my career."
Connors, from the United States, enjoyed 160 weeks as the world's top-ranked player between July 1974 and August 1977.
The 25-year-old Swiss is guaranteed to leave that benchmark far behind as his closest rival, Spain's Rafael Nadal, trails by 3,415 points in the ATP entry system.
When the ATP updated the rankings on Sunday, they showed Federer on top with 8,120 points and Nadal on 4,705. The rest lag far behind, with Andy Roddick of the United States in third place on 2,830.
"I am profoundly proud of not only being able to compete with my opponents today, but also with history," Federer told his official website.
"One hundred and sixty-one weeks is a long time and being able to lead this statistic from now on is a terrific feeling. As you can imagine it has taken a lot to come this far," he added.
Such is Federer's dominance of the sport, the Swiss made sure he would overtake Connors by winning the season-ending Masters Cup in November.
Since then he has only played once: last month's Australian Open, where he became the first man in 27 years to win a grand slam title without dropping a set. It was his tenth major tournament success.
Also on Monday the Swiss postal service announced that Federer would be gracing the country's one-franc stamp from April 10.
Swiss Post, which described him as an exceptional athlete and outstanding ambassador for Switzerland, noted that it was rare for a living person to feature on a stamp.
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During his unbroken reign as world number one, the 25-year-old Swiss has accumulated a 247-15 win-loss record, winning 34 titles in 49 tournaments.
The only player he has lost to more than once while number one is Spain's Rafael Nadal, who has won six of their nine meetings.
Consecutive weeks as world number one:
1. Roger Federer – 161
2. Jimmy Connors – 160
3. Ivan Lendl – 157
4. Pete Sampras – 102
5. Lleyton Hewitt – 75
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