Dee had lost all 54 matches -- and 108 sets -- of his pro career

Updated: April 22, 2008, 12:01 PM ET
Reuters

LONDON -- Three years since setting out as a professional tennis player, Robert Dee of Great Britain has finally recorded a victory after 54 consecutive defeats.

His trail of sorrow gave him the dubious honor of holding the worst record in professional tennis, losing each of the 108 sets he had contested since his first tournament in Mexico.

The 21-year-old's patience was rewarded on Saturday, however, when he defeated Arzhang Derakhshani of the United States 6-4, 6-3, in qualifying for a Futures tournament in Reus, Spain.

"I phoned my parents straight away. I told my mum I had lost again," Dee was quoted as saying in the London Evening Standard on Tuesday.

"Then I said 'put dad on' and I told him I had won. For me it was a little bit of a relief. I knew I could do it but there were times when I wondered."

His tennis odyssey has taken Dee around the globe to outposts in Colombia, Sudan, Senegal and Norway, always with the same outcome until this week.

His win streak was stopped at one as he was beaten 6-3, 6-1, by Artur Romanowski of Poland in the following round. Now, with a win under his belt, he's looking for another.

"Now I have my first win I just need to push on and get a second one," he said.

"This is only a small step on a very long journey. I am very determined. I never thought about giving up. I always knew I had more in me and I would always improve."

Dee's 54-match losing streak was the worst since Guatemalan player Diego Beltranena also lost that number between 1997 and 2005, although Beltranena at least managed to win a set.