Federer forever

Published: December 6, 2011
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This latest win marks the Swiss maestro’s second successive ATP world tour final’s triumph and a record sixth ATP tour final win in all. PHOTO: AFP

In the last few years, men’s tennis has undergone a revolution of sorts. Quality and competition are two aspects that have literally gone through the roof. One of the main catalysts has been the consistent arrival of outstanding young talent. In this regard, Roger Federer is perhaps a front runner of sorts. His skill, athleticism and freakish fitness levels mark the beginning of a new era in tennis.

Last weekend, at London’s visually futuristic O2 arena, Federer delivered a timely reminder of his inimitable quality and composure.

This latest win marks the Swiss maestro’s second successive ATP world tour final’s triumph and a record sixth ATP tour final win in all. As is the case with many other sporting legends, records just cannot seem to stop tumbling for Roger Federer.

Many tennis analysts and critics, former and present players consider Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Former world number one and eight time grand slam champion Andre Agassi was recently quoted as saying:

 (Federer has) changed the game of tennis, he’s raised the standard. To me he’s the best of all time now – maybe Nadal has a chance in his career to prove differently, but right now I think Roger’s the all-time best.

Agassi made a fair comment. Amongst contemporary players, Nadal and Djokovic will most probably challenge Federer’s stake as the greatest player of all time. They are both young with significantly more time left in the game than Federer. Yet there is no doubt that “Fed Express,” as he is fondly known, fully deserves all the accolades and praise generously showered upon him.

In recent months, Federer’s ATP ranking has intermittently slipped below Nadal, Djokovic and even Andy Murray. Yet the massive fan following never dips. Mainly because Federer’s poise and grace on and off the court remains unparalleled. There arguably has never been a better one-handed backhand played in the game, and his exceptionally fluid and forceful forehand has been labeled by John McEnroe as the greatest shot in tennis.

Talking about records, Federer has written and re-written men’s tennis record books. He has the highest number of grand slam victories in men’s tennis history (16), the most grand slam finals ever played (23), most consecutive grand slam finals, semi-finals and quarter finals played (10, 23 and 30 respectively). And the highest number of successive match wins in grand slam history (27 on two separate occasions). He is also the only player in men’s tennis history to have won three slams in a year thrice.

Federer has appeared in all four grand slam finals in a calendar year on three separate occasions (06, 07 and 09). His streak of appearing in all four grand slam semi-finals in the same year on five different occasions is unheard of in tennis annals. He has won more successive ATP finals (24 between 2003 and 2005) than any other player in history.

He is also the only male player ever to reach the finals of each of the nine ATP Masters 1,000 tournaments (which are considered to be the most prestigious tennis events after the four grand slams and the ATP World tour finals). And after his sizzling victory at the O2 arena in London last Saturday, Federer has also overtaken Pete Sampras’s previous joint-record of most ATP World tour final victories.

The brilliant Swiss has stayed as world number one for an incredible 285 weeks in total; including a record 237 consecutive weeks as the top ranked player. His career prize money totaling 66 million USD is the highest in tennis history. To add to a stellar list of mind-boggling achievements, he also added the small matter of an Olympic gold medal to his burgeoning trophy-cabinet at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

No matter how you analyse and decipher these records. They make for an incredible reading and will stand the test of time. Yet, despite such an amazing career record that oozes ruthless class, 2011 was an average year compared to the dizzy “Roger-arian” standards. For the first time in many years “FedEx” failed to win a single grand slam title. There was also a significant power shift in men’s tennis towards the new world number one Novak Djokovic. The 24-year-old Serbian motored along to three Grand Slam wins. In the process playing a level of tennis many believe has been scarcely attained in tennis history.

Federer has not won a grand slam event since his Australian open victory over Andy Murray in 2010. As a result, murmurs regarding a perpetual decline have been scaling a feverish pitch. Since that win, he has been beaten regularly in the semifinals and finals of grand slam events at the hands of his old nemeses Nadal and Djokovic. Yet more alarmingly, he also lost out in the quarters and the semis to lower ranked players such as Tsonga, Berdych and Robin Soderling.

In this context, Federer’s win at the season ending World Tour Finals carries great significance. Especially the straight sets ‘group-match’ demolition of Rafael Nadal which was reminiscent of the great man in his pomp. 2012 will be another immensely competitive year in men’s tennis. However, what remains to be seen is whether Federer can lay down another successful challenge for grand slam victory number 17.

Irrespective, from the legion of his ardent fans you will only hear one chant: “Come on, Roger!”

safwan.umair

Safwan Umair

A masters graduate in international business from the University of Manchester and an undergrad in business enterprise from the University of Glamorgan. Now pursuing a career as a self employed enthusiast in the Food and snack industry. I Posses a great passion for writing. Exclusively on contemporary issues that matter most. Or those that are related to the Sporting world, especially cricket

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Swami

    The author says:

    “To add to a stellar list of mind-boggling achievements, he also added the small matter of an Olympic gold medal to his burgeoning trophy-cabinet at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

    Incorrect. Nadal won the Olympic gold.Recommend

  • daAda

    @Swami:

    Federer won the doubles!

    So YES he has a olympic gold!Recommend

  • Karthi

    @Swami:
    Nadal won the Olympic Singles and Roger won the Doubles Gold. Recommend

  • Arya Tabrizi

    Swami says:
    “Incorrect. Nadal won the Olympic gold.”

    Incorrect. Federer won the doubles Olympic gold.Recommend

  • Guest

    @Swami:
    You’re both right and wrong. Nadal won the singles gold medal. Federer won the doubles along with Wawrinka.Recommend

  • Safwan

    He won the doubles gold medal partnering wawrinka!Recommend

  • hanif

    he won the gold in the doubles with stanislas wawrinka,incorrect tooRecommend

  • Annegc1

    @Swami : actually hé has a golden modal from Olympic Games. Hé won it with Stanislas Wawrinka.Recommend

  • HAMMAD ALI HASSAN

    federar is an intelligent, experienced tennis player, whatever other say dnt careRecommend

  • hypnotoedtennis

    Actually, Rod Laver holds the record for successive victories at the majors in the Open Era. I don’t remember the number (I think it might be 29), but given that he won the Grand Slam in 1969, he won at least 28 straight matches. Recommend

  • Talha Ahmed

    Hail Federer!Recommend

  • http://www.gmail.com Ammara

    ^^ Well, it’s literally awesome to know that so many people in Pakistan follow Tennis!
    Just L-O-V-E this sport! <3Recommend

  • Anon

    He won men’s doubles Olympic gold with Stan Wawrinka. @Swami: Recommend

  • Parvati

    nice article.. thak you for posting it :):):)Recommend

  • umair

    i never liked his attitude, when ever djokovic or nadal beat him he would make a world of excuses or cry. Recommend

  • Shahid

    Federer is the Greatest Of All Time! Period.Recommend

  • bluhvn

    Congratulations on this lovely article.Recommend

  • provic

    @Swami:
    He won gold medal in mens double with Stanislas Wawrink.Recommend

  • imran

    Sir Roger Federer – greatest Of all timeRecommend

  • Annie

    @umair:
    He only cried at the Australian Open, and thats not a big deal…. And Fed never made excuses, the one who loves to make excuses is Rafa Nadal, when ever he loses he is not 100 percent fit or has an injury.. as for Djokovic, he’s one arrogant serb, who is a one year wonder…So check your facts before saying anything
    FEDERER is the bestRecommend

  • Usama Ahmed

    For the first time, i have seen article on FedExpress on tribune. Federer undoubtedly is the greatest player ever born.. The record book is never ending when it comes to Federer.. The maestro of the game. Nadal indeed is trying hard and have made an impressions already yet till the record stands, no doubt federer holds superior to any other contender.. Its because of federer that i started watching tennis back in 2005..Recommend

  • Fahad Yaqoob

    Away from the court, he is second in the list of most trusted individuals after Nelsan Mandila according to last year reports!!!Recommend

  • Rabia

    Adore him! :D
    He made me love tennis.
    Go, Roger!Recommend

  • J Price

    @hypnotoedtennis: Actually, in 1969 they only played 5 matches in the slams, not 7 like today. So Laver would only have 20 match wins, not 28.Recommend

  • Hc

    @Swami:
    Federer and Wawrinka won the doubles gold medalRecommend

  • Swami

    Thanks for reminding me about the doubles gold. But honestly, does anyone remember a doubles gold when evaluating a singles player? I don’t see anyone talking about the doubles records of a Rod Laver or a Bjorn Borg. So, why bring in Federer’s doubles record?

    It’s kinda like talking about Mark Woodforde’s record as a single player. Immaterial and by the way.Recommend

  • safwan umair

    @ swami …. i really can’t fathom your point. Are you suggesting that organizers just hand over a doubles tennis gold medal to the worthiest competitors??? No they don’t. And in the record books it will stay as an Olympic gold medal.Recommend

  • Faraz Ahmed

    @ Usama
    My story is quite the same as is yours.
    Following tennis with so much passion I didnt know that there is such a huge base of fans that follows tennis or likes Federer. Just incredible!Recommend

  • Parvati

    FEDERER is the only tennis player in recent times with a sustained, balanced record. He is not even using the modern “power packed” rackets used by his contemporaries.. so he is the GREATEST OF ALL TIME…….. :):):)Recommend

  • Faraz Ahmed

    How r u tennis fans in pakistan going to watch Roland Garros in 2012?
    Not any popular sports channel going to air it. I m worried.Recommend

  • safwan

    @ faraz…. Isn’t it aired on ten sports usually??Recommend

  • Faraz Ahmed

    No, ten sports only covered it until 2006. From 2007 onwards Star Sports started showing it, but now it doesn’t have tv rights anymore. Neo Sports will show it and and most of the cable opertators do not make this channel available to the audience.Recommend