Roger Federer won his 10th Basel title on Sunday, smothering young Australian Alex De Minaur 6-2, 6-2 to secure what the Swiss legend described as “an unbelievable” success at the home-town tournament where he used to work as a ballboy.
The 38-year-old had to control his emotions as he drew a loud and heartfelt standing ovation from his home public during the presentation of his 103rd career trophy.
He is now just six short of the record 109 ATP titles won by American Jimmy Connors.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion said it was as a ballboy at the St Jakobshalle more than two decades ago that he got his first taste of tennis.
“Being a ballboy really inspired me,” he said. “But I cannot believe that I’ve won here 10 times.
“I never even thought that I would win it once, this has been an unbelievable week for me.”
Federer’s 10 Basel titles ties the 10 he owns from Halle. He has also won Wimbledon eight times.
Sunday’s victory was his 75th win in Basel and extended his win streak at his hometown tournament to 24 matches with his last loss at the event coming in the 2013 final to Juan Martin del Potro.
He now owns four titles this season after Dubai, Miami and Halle.
With his wife, children and parents watching, Federer was presented with a metal sculpture depicting a life-sized hand ready to toss a tennis ball in honour of his landmark title.
“You don’t get to win 10 titles at the same venue very often in a career — if ever,” added Federer.
“I couldn’t be happier that I was able to do it here in Basel. It’s been a great week, fans were wonderful, like in other years.
“I really enjoyed myself being back in Basel. I may have had some good luck (with a quarter-final walkover against Stan Wawrinka), who knows? I started strong this week and was able to keep a solid level — sometimes a fantastic one.”
Federer broke twice per set against his 20-year-old Australian opponent, ranked 28, in a win lasting just over an hour in front of a full-house of 9,000.
“Alex has had a great year,” Federer said. “It’s not easy to win tournaments and he’s done it three times already this year.
“There is more to come for you. As for me, I hope to be back here next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this event.”
De Minaur joked that he had his own slender hopes prior to the start.
“I was hoping Roger might just get sick of winning, but that didn’t happen.
“He was too good again, it’s amazing. It was a dream to play him here in Basel.
“It’s been a great season for me, I’ll just keep pushing for bigger and better things.”
Federer will decide on Monday if he will play at the Paris Masters, the final event of the regular season before the November 10 start of the ATP Finals in London for which he has already qualified.
De Minaur was bidding to become the first Australian to win the title in Basel.