Vienna: German veteran Tommy Haas celebrated a piece of personal history on Thursday when the former world number two became only the fourth active player to win 500 matches.
The 34-year-old Haas, whose career has been plagued by injuries, reached the landmark by beating American Jesse Levine 6-4, 6-2 in the Austrian Open second round.
Florida-based Haas, ranked 20 in the world, joins an elite group of active players made up of Roger Federer (871 wins), Rafael Nadal (583) and Lleyton Hewitt (566) to reach the 500-win mark.
The all-time leader is Jimmy Connors (1,243 wins) followed by Ivan Lendl (1,071), Guillermo Vilas (923) and John McEnroe (875).
"I really want to reach 500 wins, it was a goal for me at the start of the year. To do it means a lot. It's been such a hard road, I had to play some good tennis," said Haas, the champion in Vienna in 2001.
"No one gives you anything on the ATP. And to do it here in Vienna where I won the title was spectacular.
"You have a lot of goals over the years and I've tried to reach mine. This is something great, because I wasn't really sure I could do it when I was playing last spring.
"I feel really fit now and playing good tennis. It really makes me proud, I want to thank my family, my team and those supporting me. This is something I can always look back on."
To mark the achievement, Haas was presented on court with a Fiat 500 retro car.
Story first published on: Friday, 19 October 2012 09:32 IST