By- Yash Sood
The debate over who is the best tennis player of all time is quickly changing from a deliberation to a rhetorical question. Is it Roger Federer, the 32-year old Swiss wizard who has won a record 17 grand slams or Rafael Nadal who holds an impressive 23-10 record against Roger and is the winner of 13 grand slams himself. I personally consider Federer to be the greatest player of all time, despite Nadal’s rise as the hottest player in the world right now. His consistency and longevity, as well as not losing to inferior players when it matters, distinguish him from the rest. Federer, during his peak, won 11 of the 16 grand slam possible. He is only the 6th player to complete a Career Grand Slam. He made it to 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals, 23 consecutive semi- finals and 36 consecutive quarterfinals. But apart from the record that he set, it’s the grace with which he has done it that makes him the best. He’s humble, classy, versatile and dominant. He just wants to play tennis as much as possible (not a surprise that he has won titles in 17 countries!) He is not a clay court specialist, a hard court specialist, he is simply Roger Federer. The surface doesn’t matter to him; he’s amazing anytime, anywhere, any place. He has an incredible mental strength and is cool under pressure; he has that uncanny habit of delivering when it matters regardless of the situation.
Time and again people have written him off, but every now and then, he has answered his critics’ resoundingly. 2013, perhaps, was Roger Federer’s most difficult year since the beginning of his career- with back problems, uncharacteristic defeats and a drop in the world ranking from two to six. Many people called for his retirement, considered that he was past his prime but now, at the 2014 Australian Open, he showed everyone that he still has tennis left in him. He looked like a man on a mission, to prove a point to all those who wrote him off, that he still is the greatest player in tennis history. There may be a marginal decline in his overall ability or his physique, but you wouldn’t be surprised really if he is able to add a few more grand slams to his already trophy-laden cabinet!
Truly, Federer is still the best player in tennis history, but he should be aware of the threat of Nadal, who already has 13 grand slams and could win more while playing at the prime of his career.