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Federer laughing all way into record books

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 19:07 IST
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Roger Federer rubber-stamped his status as one of the greatest players the world has seen with a year which was exceptional and record-shattering even by his own mighty standards.

The Swiss ended 2006 with 12 titles from 16 finals and a 92-5 match record.

He started in January with victory in Doha, ended it with a third Masters Cup in four years and, in between, won back his Australian Open title and defended his Wimbledon and US Open crowns.

At the age of 25, his career title count now stands at 45, his year's prize money of almost 8,500,000 dollars took his lifetime total to 28,576,000 and sent his rivals into a trough of despair over how to react.

And Federer's reaction to their shortcomings? He thinks it's funny.

"I had to laugh at one stage how well I was playing, I always came up with a great answer," said Federer after he swept aside James Blake in the Masters Cup final in Shanghai.

"To come to this point in my career where I feel so happy with my game, it's come such a long way."

Federer played 17 tournaments in 2006 and reached the final in 16 of them.

Four of his five defeats came at the hands of rival Rafael Nadal, surpisingly on the hard courts of Dubai, but not so surprisingly on the clay of Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam the world number one has yet to crack.