With his 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 victory today in the French Open final, Roger Federer won his 14th grand slam title, tying Pete Sampras for the all time record. For a while I have been debating his place in tennis history, but with his victory today I can finally say I believe he is the best player of all time. While his career is not over and he may finish with several more titles, he has not only tied the all time record but has also won the personal grand slam (all 4 different grand slam tournaments), something which is very difficult to do.
Here are some stats that help prove my point:
1. He is now tied with Pete Sampras for the most grand slam singles titles of all time.
2. He has become only the 6th player in tennis history to win all 4 grand slam titles.
3. He has reached 14 of the last 15 grand slam finals.
4. He has reached at least the semi-finals in 20 consecutive grand slam tournaments.
5. He is tied for the most slam finals appearances with 19.
6. He has won 5 straight US Opens and had won 5 straight Wimbledons before losing to Nadal last year.
While his path to this championship was made a lot easier when Nadal lost in the 4th round, Federer took apart Robin Soderling in the final, the very player to beat Nadal in this tournament.
Watching Federer is something I have taken for granted, and will no longer do. He has a huge arsenal of deadly shots, and there is not a shot in the game he has trouble with, or has failed to master.
While Rafael Nadal has definitely proven himself to be a worthy opponent, and has shown the ability to win on grass and clay and occasionally hard courts, he has been plagued by bad knees, an injury that may shorten his career. When all is said and done, I believe it will be hard to argue against the fact that Roger Federer is the best tennis player of all time.