Friday, June 12, 2009

Ang Kambing

a.k.a. The GOAT

a.k.a.: The Greatest Of All Time.

There's nothing more awesome than watching Roger Federer play tennis. I'm a Federer fanatic (yes, a Fedtard), obviously, and it isn't just because of how many grand slams he's won (a record 14, in all 4 grand slams events), or how long he has stayed at the #1 ranking (that would be 237 consecutive weeks, another record by the way). It's about how great this man is at playing the sport. From the booming aces and forehand winners, to the deft volleys and smooth drop shots (and those half-volleys and no-backswing groundstrokes from the baseline that only he can do), to his footwork and fitness... He has also played and won without the help of a coach for most of his career, which speaks volumes about how sharp his thinking game is.

Roger Federer is simply the most talented man to have ever played the sport.

Winning the French Open meant that Roger Federer is now undeniably part of that ultra-exclusive group of Greatest Tennis Player Ever candidates, together with Rod Laver and Pete Sampras on the men's side.

Laver, of course represents the old school. He won THE grand slam (all four grand slam events in the same year) twice, first in 1962 when grand slams were still an amatuer-only affair, and again in 1969, in the Open era, when pros were allowed to play in Grand Slams, ushering in the fame and multi-million prize money era of tennis.

Pete on the other hand represents the school of quantity (not that he lacks quality.) He won 14 grand slams (the record recently tied by Federer) which includes seven Wimbledons, but no French Opens. Pete also ended as the year-end world #1 six consecutive years, a record on the men's tour, and kept a winning record against his rival Andre Agassi.

Roger is probably a hybrid of the two: employing a great mixture of the old school game filled with fluidity and finesse, and the all-out aggression and power game of the more recent breed of champions. At his peak, he absolutely dominated the sport, holding a 92% match win percentage from 2004-2007. With the barrage of much younger competitors like Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, 27 year-old Federer has ceased to be the sole dominant force, but he has still managed to stay at the top-most level, winning 2 of the last 4 grand slams (and making the finals of the other 2.)

It feels fitting for Roger to claim his piece of history at the French Open: the very tournament that has eluded him so many times, at the exact venue that wounded his champion stature exactly a year before. But now it's no longer elusive, and no matter what happens, he will never again be a wounded champion.

Congrats on the career grand slam Roger! (And good luck at Wimbledon! Let's go for Grand Slam #15!)












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