The 2006 season was statistically the best season of Federer’s career as well as one of the greatest seasons of any player in tennis history. In December 2011, Stephen Tignor, chief editorial writer for Tennis.com, ranked Federer’s 2006 season as the second greatest season of all-time during the open era; behind only Rod Laver‘s Calendar Grand Slam year of 1969. Federer won 12 singles titles (the most of any player since John McEnroe in 1984) and had a match record of 92–5 (the most wins since Ivan Lendl in 1982). Federer reached the finals in an astounding 16 of the 17 tournaments he entered during the season.
In 2006, Federer won three Grand Slam singles titles and reached the final of the other, with the only loss coming against Nadal in the French Open. He was the first man to reach all four finals in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969. This was Federer and Nadal’s first meeting in a Grand Slam final. Federer defeated Nadal in the Wimbledon Championships final. In the Australian Open, Federer defeated Marcos Baghdatis, and at the US Open, Federer defeated Roddick (2003 champion). In addition, Federer made it to six ATP Masters Series 1000 finals, winning four on hard surfaces and losing two on clay to Nadal. Federer, however, consistently pushed Nadal to the limit on clay throughout the season taking him to 4th set tiebreakers in Monte-Carlo and Paris, and a thrilling match in Rome that went to a deciding 5th set tiebreaker.
Federer won one ATP 500 series event in Tokyo and captured the year-end championships for the third time in his career, again finishing the year as world No. 1. Federer only lost to two players during 2006, to Nadal four times in finals, and to 19-year-old Andy Murray in the second round of the 2006 Cincinnati Masters, in what would be Federer’s only defeat before the final that year. Federer finished the season on a 29 match winning streak, as well as winning 48 of his last 49 matches after the French Open.
A personal highlight for Federer came near the end of the season when he finally won his hometown tournament the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland.