Roger Federer's historic win at the Masters Series tournament in Hamburg has earned the Swiss tennis star his first ever placing in the world's top ten.
Sunday's straight sets victory over Russia's Marat Safin gave Federer his first ever Masters Series title and propelled the 20-year-old Swiss up six places to eighth in the new standings.
"It's a fantastic feeling," Federer said on Monday. "To get into the top ten was my main target for this season."
Feat of clay
Federer's achievement in Hamburg was all the more remarkable for having been realised at a clay-court event. The sport's slowest surface had previously been seen as the Swiss player's weakest.
His first 11 professional matches on clay all ended in defeat. Although he made improvements since then, Federer had never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a clay-court tournament - until Hamburg.
Sunday's victory is being praised as the greatest ever by a Swiss male tennis player on the ATP Tour. As far as all tennis competitions go, only Marc Rosset's triumph at the 1992 Summer Olympics would appear to rival Federer's latest accomplishment.
Third Swiss man to break top ten
The top ten ranking is also a rarity for Swiss men's tennis, with only Rosset and Jakob Hlasek preceding Federer. Hlasek entered the top ten in November 1988 before going on to peak in seventh place. Rosset became a top ten player in July 1995, moving up to ninth at his highest point.
Federer's youth, all-round talent and his newly proven ability on all surfaces all suggest that the young man from Basel could eclipse both Rosset and Hlasek. Many of the game's followers are already predicting a first Grand Slam for Federer at the upcoming French Open.
Federer himself says he is keeping his feet on the ground for the Roland Garros tournament, which gets underway next Monday. After a brief champagne celebration in Hamburg, the Swiss number one said his first target would be to match last year's achievement of reaching the French Open quarterfinals.
swissinfo with agencies
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