Federer: The Greatest Champion In Sports History

federerRoger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon title today with a decisive straight set triumph over Marin Cilic. That’s 19 majors overall for the soon-to-be 36 year old icon who is showing no signs of losing his winning touch.

His game is as great if not greater than ever before, in every aspect. Now he has more experience and “fun” playing, as he told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after.

“I’ve seen a lot in forty years,” said an awed John McEnroe, “But I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Federer and Cilic battled early with Cilic holding an early break point at 2-1. Cilic netted the backhand return and then it was all downhill from there for the Croatian who just completely unraveled under the pressure of playing the “tennis god” and also the outrageously high level that Federer was playing at.

It was as one-sided a major final as you will ever see, but what can you expect when the greatest tennis player in history is at the top of his game?

Or perhaps, the greatest champion in the history of sport. Yes, I’m going to assert that Roger Federer is in a class of his own now. He has raised the bar. Pele, Ali, Jordan, Nicklaus, Gretzky, Schumacher reside in an echelon just below the one and only Roger Federer.

Two time Australian Open champion Johan Kriek on Roger Federer today: “Roger Federer is the greatest male player of all time. But really in demeanor, class, everything he is the greatest tennis player and ambassador of our sport both male and female. Uncomplicated looking in a very complicated sport.
No scandals, just tennis and records. On top of it all a family man with four kids still winning the biggest titles. The accolades do not do his achievements any justice.”



  • mrzz · July 16, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Hey, @britbox and @Federberg, do you see Maradona in the list above?

  • shawnbm · July 16, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Nicklaus???? Gretzky??? Hold on now. Jordan? Yes. Pelé? Maybe, but likely yes. Schumacher? Maybe. Nicklaus and The Great One–I give him a tie with them.

  • Federberg · July 16, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Lol! I'm not sure @scoop knows much about football!

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    I might have to add Diego Maradona to the list :)

  • Andrew Miller · July 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Federer outdid even himself this tournament. He beat old guys, young guys, hungry guys. Sheesh. What can we say about him? He’s the best tennis player the planet has ever seen. And around him are others who rank a smidge below him as the best players the planet has ever seen.

  • crystalfire · July 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    messi? lol

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Federberg LOL you are right but I get more into it with each World Cup :) Love the World Cup.

  • Federberg · July 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    You have to win world titles to get on the list :)

  • Federberg · July 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    scoop said:

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Federberg LOL you are right but I get more into it with each World Cup :) Love the World Cup.Click to expand…

    Best sporting event in the world. @mrzz is Brazilian so he's not objective :D

    Maradona was hacked to pieces by possibly the greatest Brazilian team ever. @mrzz's compatriots recognised extreme talent

  • mrzz · July 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    They just kept playing around him, singing, "nah nah nah, you are not that good, nah nah nah, nha!"

  • Andrew Miller · July 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Scoop, how about boys champ Davidovich from Spain, or boys USA semifinalist Kypson? Just saw some clips. I’m starting to believe that the upcoming generation of players is going to inherit the men’s tennis game. We may all be “waiting for Felix” or his buddy Shapovalov, or for Kyrgios to wake up and start winning big, but it seems more likely that we’ll see a whole other group of players no one knows winning, like Konta who came out of nowhere and Ostapenko who also came from seemingly nowhere. I watched some Kypson, and even those he doesn’t have the frenetic firepower of Fritz, he has a lethal serve, he’s the right height, good put away shots.
    And Davidovich seems to have come out of nowhere also.

    I know looking at juniors is a fools errand. I usually try to get a sense of the quality of game, whether a player has some strategy out there, or sheer desire. Still a fools errand.
    But I like what Kypson was doing out there. Moved the ball around, found a way to move in. It may be standard stuff, but he seems to have develod a professional game as a junior, which is NOT standard stuff.

  • Andrew Miller · July 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Cant make it up. Federer, slam less since 2012, adds two slams in 2017. It’s unreal, unheard of, unbelievable. All those people that wrote him off! Novak too tough? Ha now Novak is bowing out early at slams. Nadal too tough? Well Nadal is too tough, but he has to make the match. How many people asked the obligatory press question Federer when are you going to throw in the towel? Or thought it?
    Federer proved everyone alive wrong. So has Nadal. It’s just unbelievable.
    But maybe it’s not that unbelievable. After all we had Graf and Navratilova and Evert all around at the same time, winning slams every which way. We have Serena Williams winning tons and tons of slams. The Bryan brothers.
    Maybe it’s too easy to dismiss that there was no good reason Federer couldn’t make it this far again!

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Andrew; i saw Kypson lose to Felix at Herr two yrs ago 1r with Lendl watching. Good match. Just saw Kypson in dubs at sarasota open. On track to be a solid pro. Developing on nice path.

  • crystalfire · July 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    talent wise and what hes accomplished in the sport hes def up there

  • Federberg · July 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    He's a fantastic player don't get me wrong. But there's so much recency bias. Look at the Argentinian team Messi has played in. To not win a world title is really poor. Maradona did it with next to no one around him. I love Messi, love watching him play, but he's not in Diego's league. Ask Argentinians they'll tell you the same. I'm not even sure I can call him a greater player than Brazilian Ronaldo, Zidane and he's not as great as Garincha who no one talks about these days. You could almost say he's the modern day Garincha without the rings

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm


    This headline is 100 percent accurate. Federer simply brushed aside the competition these last two weeks. Nobody came close to him. Not like he had an easy draw. At least in Australia, he had a tough draw and was pushed a number of times.

    Here? Not so much. I would never have believed he would win this so easily. s I sad when Zverev lost Raonic, he was better off doing so because Fed would have obliterated him again.

    If Fed wins in Flushing Meadow, it’s the greatest season in the history of men’s tennis to win every Slam you enter.

  • atttomole · July 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I think Federer is up there with the likes of Nicklaus, Woods, Maradona, Ronaldo, Jordan, Schumacher etc. Its hard to compare across different sports.

  • El Dude · July 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    atttomole said:

    I think Federer is up there with the likes of Nicklaus, Woods, Maradona, Ronaldo, Jordan, Schumacher etc. Its hard to compare across different sports.Click to expand…

    This. I love Roger and am as happy as anyone for him winning Wimbledon, but if we can't rank tennis players across eras, then we certainly can't really rank players across sports.

    Oh yeah, scoop…no baseball? Gotta mention the Babe.

  • Chazz · July 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Maradona wasn’t even the greatesf soccer player of all time. Pele was. There is no question who the greatest tennis player of all time is. Same with basketball and golf. I think it’s between Jordan, Federer and Nicklaus for best athlete.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 16, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t say there’s no question who the best tennis player is. Nadal is five years younger than Fed. He could still win possibly 17-19 slams and he beat Fed all over the block until this year.

  • Chazz · July 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    True Dan, but as of right now Federer is fhe greatest.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 16, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Thanks Duke. I can't think of another champion who more impressed in my lifetime than Federer. And nobody I've read or heard about either. Federer has taken sport to a new height with his class, example, achievements, manners, playing style and elegance.

  • Andrew Miller · July 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I second that on Federer, who raised the sport along with the big four, to never before imagined heights, in terms of practice, play, poise, fun. They’ve set an example and ensure that other new champions will follow it. They’ve ensured that there will be several golden eras. It’s really amazing. The parallel I think may be New England Patriots? LA Lakers?

  • Chazz · July 16, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    I will add that for sports like football and baseball it is really difficult to say one player was/is the greatest because the positions are so different (QB vs another position, Pitcher vs outfield, etc).

  • El Dude · July 16, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    scoop said:

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Thanks Duke. I can't think of another champion who more impressed in my lifetime than Federer. And nobody I've read or heard about either. Federer has taken sport to a new height with his class, example, achievements, manners, playing style and elegance.Click to expand…

    I agree, Scoop. He is everything great about tennis and we'll never see anyone like him. He is my favorite athlete of all time, with Mike Trout a close second! (I'm also a big baseball fan and follow the Angels).

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I don’t know enough about other sports to know where Fed ranks among other greats. But The Australian has an article about this and they talk about many of the same superstars mentioned here, with the addition of cricketer Bradman. Their take is that Fed eclipsed players like Gretzky, Ruth, Jordan and Bradman because the others were not on world stages. I don’t know if that is the case, but an interesting point.

    They have 3 criteria: success, longevity and mass appeal. They think it is crucial that a player captured the imagination, was a champion of the people.

    What tips the balance in their opinion, is Federer coming back this season, after a few lean years, to win 2 Slams.

  • dan markowitz · July 17, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Michael Jordan wasn’t on a world stage? Come on, basketball is much bigger than tennis everywhere except Europe possibly. I’d say Jordan, knowing basketball the way I do, was never eclipsed while Fed was twice by both Nadal and Djoko. Was Air Jordan ever sent packing in an NBA Finals by a Magic, Barkley or Drexler, no! But Fed was by a Del Potro.

    No Jordan was a slice above Fed. I don’t think you can compare the two honestly. Jordan was never challenged and failed the way Fed did many times in his career. And Jordan also played minor league baseball on top of it.

  • catherine · July 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Hartt – The world’s stage thing is surely an irrelevent point when you’re considering comparisons between performers in other sports. Tennis is international so tennis reputations are international – doesn’t mean other athletes aren’t/weren’t great in their own spheres.

    I don’t believe you can get very far with that kind of comparison anyway.

    Let’s just say Roger Federer is great and leave it like that. Unfortunately he was given no competition in this year’s final so it’s been a ritual crowning rather than a struggle with a more realistic and debatable outcome.

  • Andrew Miller · July 17, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Basketball,soccer much bigger than tennis. Even cricket is. However Federer IS a household name. Maybe because of Nike but mostly because of his performance across the better part of two decades. The legend began in Davis cup, as all legends do, and blossomed, faded, blossomed, faded, blossomed!
    Again, greatest era in tennis. Which, somehow, generates even finer chapters of its golden era.

  • Andrew Miller · July 17, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I’ll throw this out there, we won’t be able to predict who wins the us open, but it will be a great tournament. For whatever reasons, Djokovic’ crack up has really boosted the sport, and if he is successful in coming back, it will only boost the golden era of the sport.
    Tennis is doing great. This was an excellent Wimbledon, even without Nadal ir Djoker in final, or Serena or Sharpie. The sport is in good health. Long live tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · July 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Federer, who before this year last won a slam in 2012, five years ago? It’s a miracle. Agassi won his last slam at 33. Federer has now more than doubled Lendl and Agassi and McEnroe titles. It’s a miracle, of hard work, coaching attitude luck etc.

  • Chazz · July 17, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Andrew, the great thing about the US Open is it will be more unpredictable than the French or Wimbledon this year. We thought Nadal would likely win the French and we thought Federer was one of the top 2 or 3 favorites to win Wimbledon. What about the US Open? I don’t think it will be a repeat of the Aussie final. Something different is going to happen. I don’t think Federer will win it. Nadal? Cilic? Stanimal?

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Looking at greats in a variety of sports seems to be popular right now. The Telgraph has a piece, “GOAT – Roger Federer and 15 other most consistently successful modern sportspeople.” What I liked about it was they give a brief summary of why each is considered great. That was very helpful for sports I am not familiar with. You can tell it is a British publication because they have 2 soccer players and not one basketball star.

    They don’t try to do a ranking, which is wise. I thought they were actually heavy on tennis players, including 7 in the list. (Federer, Sampras, Graf, Court, Venus, Serena and Navratilova.)

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 9:46 am

    For the USO I am going out on a limb and predicting that neither Federer nor Nadal will win. I don’t know who it will be, who could predict Cilic in 2014 or Stan last year? I am still hoping Milos will win a Slam. If he continues to be healthy and gets some match play, think he has a shot at this year’s USO.

  • MartyB · July 17, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I know I'm looking a bit ahead here but if Fed wins the US Open will SI finally give Fed the acknowledgement he deserves by being named Athlete of the Year…Oh no wait Brady will get it. LoL

  • catherine · July 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

    This year at the USO, like other GS, the draw will feature last year’s champions, neither of whom have had stellar seasons and probably don’t want to be reminded of the fact.
    Maybe Stan and Angie can send stand-ins :)

  • Obsi · July 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

  • mrzz · July 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Ali is surely great, but his greatness goes well beyond the ring. He was way more than just an athlete. Our times do not have room for guys like him.

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    There are lots of congratulatory tweets for Federer’s 19th Slam and 8th Wimbledon, but Andy Roddick has my favourite: “At his point you’re just showing off.”

  • Dan Markowitz · July 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    That is funny, but with Roddick, I always feel like there’s always a little smirk to what he says. Like dude, get on with your life.

  • catherine · July 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Big question – is the end of W’don shindig a Dinner or a Ball ? Even Federer seemed confused.

    But nobody’s danced at a Wimbledon Ball since 1976 – traditionally held at the Dorchester I think.

    The reason ? Who knows how to waltz these days ?

    I bet Roger does.

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I realised I had a typo -it should be at “this” point.

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    There must be dancing because apparently now the ladies’ and gentlemen’s champions have the choice whether to dance together or not. At one point they were expected to, and in his autobiography Agassi talked about how disappointed he was that the tradition had stopped because he wanted to dance with Graf. In 2015 Serena and Novak did dance together, but it was not a waltz.

    Garbine wanted to dance with Fed, figuring he would be an elegant dancer. I hope she got her wish. :)

  • Andrew Miller · July 17, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Roddick’s upset and happy, at same time. He almost had that 2009 title, but like Agassi once said, as a finalist you get the best seat in the house to see how good your opponent is. Roddick is an expert on Federer’s master class on the Wimbledon centre court laws, having taken that class three times!

  • catherine · July 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Hartt –
    No there isn’t dancing at the Dinner, Serena and Djoko’s was just extemporised – the dancing was abandoned years ago so they could cram more people in. After the Dorchester it was moved to the Savoy and is now at the Guildhall. A friend of mine usually goes.
    Maybe some people go on to a livelier place later after the Dinner :)

  • Hartt · July 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Aw, so sad for Garbine. She even wanted Fed to win so she could dance with him!

  • shawnbm · July 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    ^ Ali is an icon that transcends his sport, much like Arnold Palmer transcended golf to become an icon of America during his heyday. Neither one of them was statistically the dominant of all times, but they stand over their sports as kings. Federer is like this and tennis, with Borg being the only one in the same vein.

  • Chazz · July 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    On the subject of Federer, I found this moderately interesting. His last 6 Slams:

    2017 Wimbledon WON
    2017 Aussie WON
    2016 Wimbledon SF
    2016 Aussie SF
    2015 US Open Final
    2015 Wimbledon Final

  • Chazz · July 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry for no line breaks, not sure why it breaks for some things and not for others. To sum it up, 2 titles, 2 runner-ups and 2 semi-finals.

  • Busted · July 17, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Maybe it's time to stop lumping athletes who compete(d) in individual sports with athletes who play(ed) team sports? Federer walks on the court alone. Ali stepped into the boxing ring alone. Nicklaus walked on the golf course alone. Jordan, Gretzky, Pele – frickling Tom Brady – all hadhave teammates to rely one. Even Jordan couldn't pass himself the ball. Schumacher drove a fricking CAR…so I'm taking him off the list completely unless you're willing to add Valentino Rossi and his motorcycle…

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