Friday, 27 January 2012

Why Federer is still the greatest

Can’t sleep at all so decided to write this, only because I read an article claiming Federer cannot be the greatest because of his poor record against Nadal.

Before I start I will say this, tennis like so many individual sports can be about match-ups, and some people have a better match up to others, making them seem better than they are. Nadal is a great player and I would suspect will go down as the greatest ever clay court player (at least up to now, this may change if Djokovic keeps beating him), and one of the great all court tennis players of all time, who has the perfect game to beat Federer, to the point he has literally crushed Fed’s mental attitude when playing him.

That being the case, why do I still think Federer is the greatest? Well that is simple, statistics, style of play, consistency, and length of domination; all these factors make Federer the greatest in my opinion.

If we start with statistics, well there are so many it would fill two pages to cover them all, and if you go to Wikipedia you can see how many individual records Roger has.

Simple stats to remember, not all are records yet but most are:

16 Grand Slam titles

23 Grand Slam finals

30 Grand Slam semi finals (23 consecutive)

34 Grand Slam quarter finals consecutive

No one even gets close to these figures, especially not Nadal

He is the only player to win three out of four slams three times

He has made 9 semi finals in a row at the Australian Open

He has the longest win streaks on both hard court 56, and grass 65

He was ranked World No. 1 for an amazing 237 weeks consecutively, and 285 weeks overall

He won 24 straight finals

I could go on, and on and on, but these stats are way better than anyone else

His style of play is in my opinion, is the most perfect and incredible style of tennis imaginable, the way he moves around the court, is a site to behold, I can enjoy any Federer match because of this, even if he is hammering the opponent it makes no difference. He has a grace and elegance that makes him seem special; a bit like watching Michael Jordan playing basketball, or Pele playing football.

His consistency is second to none; I don’t think he has ever missed a slam event in his career.

His total domination lasted from 2004 to roughly 2007, when he won 11 of 16 slams, making 13 finals and 15 semi finals. He was world number one every week of that period and won 315 matches only losing 24 times in four years.

These are just a few of the reasons I feel Fed is the greatest, saying he is not the greatest because he has a losing record against one player; a player that just happens to be the greatest clay court player ever, is like saying there is only one star in the sky because it is the brightest, and neglecting the rest of the sky and all the others stars out there. It is a one dimensional way of perceiving greatness. You have to look at the whole picture not just select one little bit you feel is more important than the rest, and this is what I feel people are doing when considering the Federer Nadal rivalry.

Unfortunately now you feel Federer is entering his swan song, and it will take a bit of luck as well as other factors to ever win another slam.  As I said last year how many more years he will want to play second fiddle to the new greats of tennis is debatable, but that still doesn't take away the fact he changed tennis.

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