For the millennials among us – and those who have a love of tennis – it’s hard to disagree with Roger Federer being called the greatest tennis player of our time.
On the back of his sixth Australian Open title, Federer’s Grand Slam titles have reached number 20 – and what an accomplishment!
At the age of 36, Federer has become the first male star to win 20 or more major singles titles – there are three women who’ve already achieved this milestone, Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf.
Just behind Federer in the amount of singles titles won, is one of his long-time rivals, Rafael Nadal – who has a total of 16.
Now I’m not saying he’s the greatest just because of the amount of titles he’s won – which is hard to argue with – but it’s also his persona, both on and off the court.
The Swiss star’s personality is a huge hit with fans.
He comes across as down to earth, manages to avoid the tabloids for all the wrong reasons and still gets emotional when victorious on court – this goes against the macho label attached to sport.
I grew up in a time when I was lucky enough to watch some tennis legends, most notably, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
Both were entertaining and a pleasure to watch, as well as being extremely talented within their field – yet even they were still far from reaching number 20 – Sampras holds a total of 14 singles titles to his name, while Agassi has eight.
Despite Federer’s weakness being the French Open, he’s still managed to win it – albeit once, back in 2009, defeating Sweden’s Robin Soderling.
The French Open seems to be a weakness for most of the greatest tennis players – apart from Rafael Nadal, who’s won it an incredible 10 times – Bjorn Borg comes in second with a total of six.
Sampras failed to win it and Agassi only won it once, along with Fred Perry and Novak Djokovic.
Cynics often argue whether Federer could have dominated during the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, alongside the likes of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker, when there was so much competition.
Borg had a five year run at Wimbledon from 1976-1980 as well as a five year run at the French Open, 1977-1981 and McEnroe won three straight US Opens, from 1979-1981.
At any other time during this era, there were always 10 or 12 players who were considered real contenders in any tournament they entered – can this be said of the period where Federer dominated?
Despite the achievements from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, comparing eras is incredibly difficult and like football – doesn’t ever really give a conclusive answer.
Off the court, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a world-renowned sport star not make headlines for all the wrong reasons.
All too often we see bad behaviour, whether it be infidelity or an arrest of some sort and it’s this wholesome image which has proved a hit not only with fans, but with companies looking for a face and image for their brand, which is probably why Nike have had a mammoth sponsorship deal with him.
He’s been married to his wife Mirka – also a former tennis star – since 2009. The couple tied the knot in an intimate ceremony, inviting only close family and friends.
They also have two sets of twins, eight-year-old twin girls, Charlene and Myla and four-year-old boys, Lenny and Leo.
It’s also to great to see Mirka regularly in the crowd for Roger’s matches – seemingly animated and full of support for her husband.
Federer spent an astonishing 302 weeks as the world number one, something which is an Open era record.
During the period of 2004 to 2008, he spent 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the ATP rankings – an achievement which may never be surpassed and had never been seen before in the Open era.
Despite younger players being victorious over Federer in recent years, (surely his age of 36 plays a factor), he’s consistently, throughout the last 20 years, played at the highest level, which is surely a testament to just how good he is?
There are countless career defining moments for Federer in terms of matches played; his 2007 Australian Open win over Andy Roddick, who at the time, was at the top of his game, his Shanghai masters victory over Rafael Nadal where he absolutely destroyed the Spanish star, ending his 16-match winning streak and a personal favourite, his 2010 win over Novak Djokovic to take the Basle title, just two months after Novak had eliminated Federer from the US Open.
With a serve which has reached just over 140 mph, a formidable backhand as well as remarkable athleticism, Federer’s skill, class and versatility make him the GOAT.
The Greatest (tennis star) Of All Time!