Last year, after Roger Federer won the French Open, I didn't post for days because I was thrown into a tailspin about whether to believe he became the greatest of all time at that point. The same thing happened this time after the Australian, but my head's a little clearer now and I'm ready to say this:
Roger Federer is the greatest male singles player of all time.
You see, to me, it comes down to him and Pete Sampras because A) They've won the most Slams and B) because they played on every surface under the sun during their careers. I had trouble determining who got the nod because of one thing: Sampras, though never one of my favorites, played some DUDES:
Agassi. Courier. Lendl. Becker. Wilander. Chang. Ivanisevic. Edberg. Bruguera. Krajicek. Ivanisevic. Kafelnikov. Stich. Pioline … I could keep going, just spitting out names of the guys that Sampras fought off that were at or near their prime to finish the year at number one for six years in a row.
But anyway you look at it, 16 Slams are 16 Slams. And the fact that Federer has the drive to win more, regardless of the difficulties some Slams might pose—such as the French (which everyone knows Sampras never won) and the Australian (which Pete never contended at again after winning in '97)—solidifies his status in my opinion.
I don't know, maybe going against all those stars wore Sampras out, and who knows how Federer would've handled them as there simply aren't enough players of that caliber on tour today. I'm sure he would've given them hell, though, like he has for 16 different fortnights.
And coming up with the goods that many times makes Federer the man in my book. It was a long time coming, but I'll give it to him!
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.