Roger Federer won his 15th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon 2009 to claim his 6th Slam at The Championships held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club. By doing this, he surpassed American Pete Sampras who won his 14th Slam in glorious style by defeating his arch-rival Andre Agassi in his final professional match at The US Open in 2002.
This year’s Gentlemen’s final was fantastic. The former world No.1 Andy Roddick was an equally worthy winner, before having his serve broken for the first time in the 5th set, therefore setting the new record in a final set of 16 games to 14.
Now that Roger holds the new record in men’s tennis a lot of people are saying that because he surpassed Pete’s record that this confirms the Swiss champion as the greatest player of all time.
The greatest number of slams alone does not automatically give him that mantle in no way, shape or form. For starters, Roger is NOT the greatest player of all time on this premise as this mantle obviously includes all players. In that regard Federer has a long way to go.
A number of great female champions have career records that look better than Federer’s and these women seem to have been overlooked in popular opinion. If the greatest number of Grand Slam titles won is a key factor in determining who the greatest player of all time is then nobody comes close to Margaret Court’s collection of 62!
If we narrow it down to singles only then, Roger is another 9 Grand Slam titles short of equaling the singles record set by any player. That record belongs to the great Australian Margaret Court with 24. Steffi Graf won 22, Helen Wills Moody 19, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova both with 18 then there’s Federer with 15.
The current world No.1 has won the most by any male player. I think that time will tell whether he deserves the greatest player of all time accolade outright, but for the present he needs to continue his winning ways over the next few years.
Even if you narrow it down to who is the greatest male player of all time there are a number of factors that seem to have been overlooked.
Let’s look at just one of those. The great Australian Rod Laver deserves far more credit. Laver was ineligible to play in any Grand Slam events for over 5 years because he chose to be a professional tennis player after winning THE Grand Slam in 1962. The Rockhampton Rocket missed 22 consecutive Grand Slam events in the peak years of his career. How many more could he have won? Once the Open era begun at Wimbledon in 1968 Rod Laver won that event and won THE Grand Slam again in 1969!
Federer has won 9 of his collection of 15 at the same age/s as Laver was when he was ineligible. This leaves Federer with just 6 Slams if you take away the same span of time from Roger’s career. Remember that until Federer turns 30 in 2011 (from the 2011 US Open onwards), any Slams he wins from now until then would also not be included in this aspect of a Laver-Federer comparison, as Laver was ineligible to play from the age of 24 to 30.
© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2009
photo credit: alphababy