Tennis Special: Why Roger Federer is the GOAT?
No player in the professional tennis world has proven himself as persistent or as dedicated World Number 2 Roger Federer, who, despite of his mediocre season and performance this year, is still breaking records and overcoming new milestones for himself. The Maestro is the embodiment of the old maxim which states that a true champion is only as weak as he makes himself in his darkest moments.
Last week, 29-year-old Federer set up a personal record for himself, reaching a total of 900 ATP matches, with his recent success over Taylor Dent at the Stockholm Open. In the same tournament, he defeated compatriot and doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka to win the Stockholm event, winning his third 2010 title and scoring his 64th career title in the same go. This is a record only beaten by Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, and matched only by one player, Pete Sampras. Of the 903 matches that Federer has played so far, he has only lost 22%, setting up an impressive win record of 730 matches. He will probably always be short of Connors’s all-time record of 1519 matches, but if he continues to play at the same rate as he currently is, it would take him 11 years to break Connors’s score.
2010 has not been one of the Maestro’s greatest seasons, and he himself would be the first to admit it. He started off the New Year remarkably well, giving the world one of the best performances of his career to sabotage Andy Murray’s attempt to reach his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open. However, after this tournament, luck was not on either player’s side and they both had to wait uptill August to win a title between them.
Although this year was Federer’s worst year since he first came to power in 2002, what is exceptional is that he is still better than almost every player out there, even at his worst. Already famous in history books for 16 Grand Slam titles and one career Grand Slam, he is still going strong on the records. With his defeat of Murray at the Shanghai Masters and his successful battle against Novak Djokovic saw him regaining his World Number 2 position, although it is still unsatisfactory for the Swiss, who says, "It's not that important to be two, three or four. For me it's either No. 1 in the world or everything else."
How many more records can the World Number 2 try for? He spent 237 consecutive weeks as World Number 1, one week short of the record set by Pete Sampras. He finished the year as the ATP’s blue-eyed boy five times in six years, and he has appeared in 23 consecutive Majors semi-finals. Perhaps these will only serve to further strengthen his resolve for records such as an Olympic Gold Medal (which would make him the third man with a career Golden Slam, after Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal).
Many critics argue that the tennis great has given up after his multiple wins, and that he no longer holds the same drive or dedication to succeed. Although Federer, like any other major player, accepts that he arranges his schedule in a way which allows him to maximize his potential around the Grand Slams, he does not seem to be anywhere near giving up; on the contrary, his determination seems to increase as the years that he will have in the game lessen. This is what makes a champion, and it is the reason that Federer is probably the All-Time Greatest.