Calling any sportsman or sportswoman the best ever is an inexact science. But surely now, Roger Federer has a pretty strong case to be thus labelled. Overnight he has won is seventh Wimbledon singles title, and his 17th Grand Slam tournament. And in doing so, he is once again atop the ITP World Rankings; The Guardian reports:
Anyone who cannot spare a drop of sympathy for Andy Murray in defeat at the hands of Roger Federer in this enthralling Wimbledon final either does not recognise genius or should be earning a living in a merchant bank. And anyone who can make his mother cry with a consolation speech of the quality he delivered to a transfixed Centre Court after three hours and 24 minutes of such spirit-draining effort is, as he described himself recently, "a pretty nice person".He is also a pretty good tennis player – but on Sunday not quite good enough to beat Federer, who faltered at the start with the sun beating down, then thrived after the rain forced the match under the roof, to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.It is doubtful if anyone could have matched him in this mood and form: not Novak Djokovic, whom he beat handsomely in the semi-finals on Friday and displaces as world No1 just a month shy of his 31st birthday; maybe not even Pete Sampras, his hero, whose mark of seven Wimbledon titles he has equalled, to go with the 10 other grand slams he has won. As for that British ghost from the past who is still riding on Murray's back, Fred Perry, he lived almost in another sport. As Boris Becker said later: "Murray played like a champion. There is no shame in losing to Roger Federer."
We reckon that Federer's win overnight cements his place as one of the best players ever, and quite probably the very best. His rivals for that accolade would be Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.
On statistics alone, Federer has won more Grand Slams than any other man. He and Sampras are tied with the most Wimbledon titles, and Federer is set to beat Sampras' record for most weeks at number one in the world rankings.
Many were writing Federer off a couple of seasons ago when he stopped winning slams. As his star descended, those of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were in the ascendancy. But Federer showed at Wimbledon that there is still life left in the old dog. His performances against Djokovic in the semi-final and against Andy Murray in last night's final were dominant, and right up there with his best.
What sets Federer apart from the current crowd however is his respect for the game. He dresses immaculately, and traditionally. He on-court demeanour is almost always of a high standard. He is a gracious loser, but more importantly, he is a gracious winner as well.