Roger Federer: Greatest Ever In Tennis History?
“C’mon! Why do you even need to ask that? You are not a true tennis aficionado if you don’t have answer to that question”. Most Roger Federer fans might react to the title of this article with that rhetoric.
Lets see why. 29th January 2017 – a date to be written in gold in the history of international sports. Roger Federer won the Australian Open against his old rival Rafael Nadal in an extraordinary match to grab his 18th Grand Slam title at the age of 35. Considering his age many might have thought Federer’s Grand Slam-winning days were far gone, but he defied that to grab his 18th major title at the Australian Open.
For over a decade, Federer has been infallible. To watch this legend play is to see the most unadulterated form of sport, perhaps like Messi with his soccer ball. As Jimmy Connors once told the BBC, in the modern game, “You’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard-court specialist…or you’re Roger Federer.” Here’s another one by John McEnroe, winner of 7 Grand Slams – “He’s the most gifted player that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen a lot of people play. I’ve seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players – the Samprases, Beckers, Connors’, Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all.”
Enough said by sporting legends. Let’s look at hard facts.
10 all-time records by Roger Federer
- He is the only player to reach 10 Wimbledon finals, which is an all-time record in men’s tennis.
- He is the only player to win 5 consecutive titles at the US Open (2004–08)
- Federer is the only player to win 330 matches in the open era of tennis
- There is no other player in tennis history who has won 6+ titles in 6 different tournaments. Federer has won 6 titles at World Tour Finals, 7 titles at Wimbledon (Grand Slam), 7 titles at Cincinnati (Masters 1000), 7 titles at Dubai Tennis Championships (ATP500), 7 titles at the Swiss Indoors (ATP500) and 8 titles at Halle Open (ATP500).
- Federer is the only player to register at least ten titles on three different surfaces: 61 hard court titles, 15 grass court titles, and 11 clay court titles
- The only tennis player to be at World No. 1 of the ATP rankings for 302 weeks (286 weeks as No. 1 was Pete Sampras, until 2012)
- The Australian Open Win has made Federer the first man in history to win 5 or more titles at three different Grand Slam events: five in Melbourne, seven at Wimbledon and five at the US Open
- Has career earnings of more than US$100 million
- Federer holds the all-time men’s record of 314 Grand Slam wins
- Federer is the only player to win three different Grand Slams at least 5 times (US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open)
These are just a few of his innumerable records in his career spanning 19 years. A true sportsperson, Federer is an all-court, all-around player known for his speed, fluidity, and incomparable shot making. He has a powerful, accurate smash and very efficiently delivers rare elements in today’s tennis, such as the backhand smash and skyhook, half-volley and jump smash. At 35, especially after a serious injury, Federer seems to have defied age, some criticism and conventional logic by winning his 100th Australian Open match, nearly five years since his last grand slam title.
If one were to pick names as the greatest tennis stars, the world has ever witnessed, Federer’s name will be on the top of the list, without doubt.
What makes him a greater human being? Well this is what he said in November 2016 ahead of his post-injury comeback, quoting Nadal as his inspiration: “”You (Nadal) have done it a million times, so I can be inspired by the way you made it look so easy when you came back. You came back to the world’s top 10, top five, even world No 1. That’s something that I’m going to be thinking about when I come back to the tour in January.”
A similarly inspiration personality is the former Captain Cool, MS Dhoni. Read about what leadership lessons one can take from him, in this article.