COMMENTARY | When you say the name Roger Federer, many people know whom you're speaking of.
The swift-moving tennis player whose backhand is a masterpiece of its own has created a dent in tennis history that is second to none. Whether he's on an ad in a magazine, on a billboard, or even symbolized by the "RF" logo on someone's hat, Roger Federer is a worldwide figure. He is an icon, a living legend.
Federer's been the talk of conversations for the past 10 or so years, and it doesn't look like he's going away anytime soon (the 31-year-old already has plans to play in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro).
He's been called the "Fed Express," "King Roger," and has even been deemed the "God of Tennis," if there was one. But, there's one nickname he's been celebrated with for the last few years, and that nickname hails from his records. He's unofficially been called the greatest of all time.
What exactly defines a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) player? Is it the amount of majors they've won, the amount of professional titles they hold, their records, or is it all of the above? That question is an ambiguous one, and many believe that Roger Federer is the epitome of that moniker. With the amount of success and milestones that he has accomplished, is there anything stopping him from being the greatest?
Let's take a look at Roger's credentials:
17. That's the most number of Grand Slams won by any male in the history of the sport. It also happens to be the number of slams the Swiss owns since capturing his first slam at Wimbledon in 2003. Seven Wimbledons, five U.S. Opens, four Australian Opens, and one French Open -- that's what you'll find in Federer's trophy case.
Right behind Federer is Pete Sampras with 14, Roy Emerson with 12, and Rafael Nadal, tied with Bjorn Borg and Roder Laver with 11 (Nadal being the only current player out of the group). As of now, the only ones who look like they stand a chance to catch up to Federer's number are Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
No. 1. Roger has spent a total of 302 weeks (and 237 consecutive weeks) at the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings -- the most of any player in the history of the sport. Heck, some players dream of being No. 1 for a day.
252-38. No, there's no mistake here. This is Federer's Grand Slam singles record since turning professional in 1998. A pretty staggering statistic, isn't it?
896. As of the eve of the French Open, Federer owns close to 900 career singles match wins. The only active player right behind him is Nadal with 604. Nadal, who has been on tour for 12 years, needs to garner about 300 more wins in the next three years to match Federer's in the same amount of time. Let's not put too much weight on this statistic, though, as many people will argue that injuries and schedules conflict with the number of match wins a player can collect.
The French Open Question. Federer has won four or more of each of the three majors except Roland Garros. Let's face it, he's been playing in a tough generation where Rafael Nadal has been reigning on the clay in Paris for what will be almost a decade. Does one Roland Garros qualify Federer as GOAT? The dimension of his wins at Roland Garros has raised this question.
Olympic Dreams. In 2008, Federer partnered countryman Stanislas Wawrinka to capture Olympic gold. Four years later, in 2012, he was crowned as the silver medalist at the London Olympics, falling to Great Britain's Andy Murray. No, he hasn't won a gold medal in singles, but that doesn't take away from someone being tipped as the best in the sport.
If the number of Twitter followers were to determine the fate of Federer's GOAT status, he wouldn't be too far ahead in the race (all right, let's give him a break, he's virtually a Twitter newbie -- 265,000 followers and counting). Fortunately, for Federer, Twitter followers are not what make or break his status in history. It is based rather on what he's done and what he can still do. As the No. 3 men's tennis player in the world, Federer is still stacking numbers to his already striking records.
We can't say for sure what players the sport will nurture in the future, but for now we can only focus on what we've known and what we know now.
Surely, Roger Federer is going to have his name set in the Hall of Fame. With that said, is there anything stopping him from the destiny of being the greatest ever up until this point in time?
Olivia Glinka covers on-court and off-court tennis news as a blogger and writer. You can read her content on One Stop Tennis.
Get the latest tennis scoop by following her on Twitter @OneStopTennis.
- Sports & Recreation
- Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal