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Federer equals Connors' grand slam record
Dave James
07:44 AEST Tue May 29 2012

Roger Federer has kicked off his 50th straight major with a 6-2 7-5 6-3 win over Germany's Tomas Kamke at the French Open to equal Jimmy Connors' record of 233 grand slam match victories.

Federer, the record 16-time grand slam title winner, is now 233-35 lifetime at the majors.

Monday's win was also his 50th against 12 losses at Roland Garros, having made his debut as a wildcard in 1999 where he lost to Australia's Pat Rafter in the first round.

Since that time, he has missed just one grand slam - the 1999 US Open, where he failed to qualify.

"It's a big record, because that was longevity. Jimmy is obviously one of the greats of all time, and was around for 20 years," said Federer.

"This is my 13th or 14th French Open. It all started back in '99 against Rafter, and I have hardly missed any grand slams.

"I love the big tournaments. I have been so successful for such a long time and to already tie that record which is 30 years old is pretty incredible, so I'm very happy."

Federer, who is likely to set the new grand slam match record in the next round where he faces Romania's Adrian Ungur, now has his sights on another Connors record.

"He had 109 career victories, I'm at 74 now. Is it possible for me to equal Connors' titles? 110, that would be a round figure. That would be incredible. But that's a dream. I go year after year, and we'll see."

Despite Connors' standing in the sport, Federer admitted on Monday that his relationship with the great American has not always been close.

"He didn't talk to me much when he was working with Andy Roddick. He was quite distant at that time, which is a bit weird, because I got on very well with Roddick," explained Federer.

"But I think he respects me very much. He is much closer to Nadal than to me. Maybe that's the reason."

The Swiss star, a potential semi-final opponent of world No.1 Novak Djokovic, took victory over Kamke on Monday on a sixth match point courtesy of a sweeping forehand.

Even that was an extension of another highlight of his career as it was pointed out to him that it was his 48th straight win over German players.

"I have good records against many players, thank God. I was on a winning streak against Americans for a while, too," he said.

"I lived up to expectations and was able to come through. German players usually are talented like the French players and always give you a good match."