Last week’s main sport seemed to be covering an endless stream of news about the death of Queen Elizabeth II. In the shadow of the queen two other rulers left: the king and the queen of tennis, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, hang their tennis rackets on the willows.
The reigns of these tennis greats stretched over more than two decades. They recently played against athletes who had yet to be born when they were already making their way to the top. Both athletes are living legends.
They are called “GOAT,”Greatest Of All Time‘. To substantiate this claim, lists and statistics are recited. This shows that both the king as the queen, who were both born in 1981, were exceptional. Yet there is one significant difference: Serena Williams really does outshine her competitors in just about every statistic.
Roger Federer once broke almost every record, but has now been passed in the most important statistics by Rafaël Nadal and Novak Djokovic. In the number of grand slam titles and the number of weeks at number one, for example. Federer, however, puts forward other stats: he has the most masters to his name, he is currently the oldest captain of the ATP ranking and he has been at the top of that ranking for the longest period of time.
An eye-catching playstyle and perseverance
Still, it’s not those stats that make him the biggest. He hadn’t been nearly as strong in recent years. He missed record opportunities and struggled from one injury to another, but his style of play remained stunningly elegant. He was courteous and honorable in the loss, and he displayed fun in the game and perseverance. Which tennis player plays tennis until he is on tram 4? Did you know that he never ended any game early due to injury? Because of a pain here or there? And that he has turned a 0-2 deficit in sets into 3-2 ten times? He is a champion in that.
Andre Agassi, Björn Borg, Boris Becker, Tim Henman, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras, all men who could hit the ball well, called Roger Federer the “greatest player of all time” more than 10 years ago. And then the second half of his career was yet to come.
The king is dead. Long live the king!
The king is dead, long live the king! The winner of the youngest US Open and the new number one is Carlos Alcaraz. The title of ‘best of all time’ is already prophetically attributed to him. He is the most famous record holder. He already has one record: he is the youngest number one ever.
However, he lost his first match as a grand slam winner and number one. And he does that well too, because as Federer already showed: you don’t become the greatest by being clear.