Roger Federer’s everlasting legacy

Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 2 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Many commentators and players regard Federer as the greatest tennis player of all time. He has been ranked inside the top 10 since October 2002 and the top 20 since April 2001.

Federer holds several records of the Open Era: holding the world No. 1 position for 302 weeks,  (including 237 consecutive weeks); winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles; reaching each Grand Slam Final at least five times (an all-time record); and reaching the Wimbledon final nine times. He is among the seven men, (and among the four in Open Era), to capture a career Grand Slam. Federer shares an Open Era record for most titles at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras (7) and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras (5).

Yes, the list is endless and frankly one would run out of paper if an attempt to list out Federer’s records is made. Roger Federer does not need to prove his eternal greatness, however it is imperative that we all understand how great he truly is and how much he’s leaving behind for all of us to enjoy.

Let’s analyze his style of play, which has been perfectly summarized by tennis legend Jimmy Connors, who said “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist… or you’re Roger Federer.” Federer is an all-court, all-round player known for his speed, fluid style of play, and exceptional shot making. Federer mainly plays from the baseline but is also comfortable at the net, being one of the best volleyers in the game today. He has a powerful, accurate smash and very effectively performs rare elements in today’s tennis, such as backhand smash and sky-hook, half-volley and jump smash (slam dunk).  Federer is also known for his efficient movement around the court and excellent footwork, which enables him to run around shots directed to his backhand and instead hit a powerful inside-out or inside-in forehand, one of his best shots.

Federer plays with a single-handed backhand, which gives him great variety. He employs the slice, occasionally using it to lure his opponent to the net and deliver a passing shot. Federer can also fire topspin winners and possesses a ‘flick’ backhand with which he can generate pace with his wrist; this is usually used to pass the opponent at the net. His serve is difficult to read because he always uses a similar ball toss, regardless of what type of serve he is going to hit and where he aims to hit it, and turns his back to his opponents during his motion. He is often able to produce big serves on key points during a match. His first serve is typically around 200 km/h (125 mph);however, he is capable of serving at 220 km/h (137 mph).

Roger Federer has glued numerous accolades in the past; and rightly so for his achievements on the court have been unprecedented. That said, former top-ranked tennis player, Pete Sampras, insists that the Swiss is a “complete player” and that he’s the “greatest” going by the numbers.

Roger Federer does not win as often as he used to. His appearance in the second week of a Grand Slam is no longer a given, and the kind of match he once won with ease can present a five-set struggle for the Swiss tennis player. He does not have a death-grip on the world’s number 1 ranking anymore, but certain records are likely to remain his. Consider Federer’s 70th win at the Australian Open, a feat that came after beating Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 7-6. The victory extended his win total Down Under well beyond Stefan Edberg’s 56 wins. Novak Djokovic has 43 wins in Australia, and 40 belong to Rafael Nadal. Federer then extended the streak in Australia to 73-10 while advancing to his 11th consecutive Melbourne semi-final after beating Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3. That set up a showdown with top-ranked Nadal.

At 33 years old, Federer is the oldest of the three and although he has shown some signs of slowing down, he is still a force to reckon with. Nadal is 28, and Djokovic is 27. If they want to rack up more wins that Federer in Australia, or break other Swiss-made records, they will not only need to keep pace with however he performs now, but also outpace him in years to come.

The early glory days of Federer were the infant years of Nadal and Djokovic’s careers. Federer was able to over-power his more seasoned opponents on the tour, like Roddick, and Lleyton Hewitt. As previously mentioned, Nadal was the only thorn in his side for a while. Now, more players have come into their own, and the entire game has been elevated. Federer benefited from a high level of fitness and health that Nadal and Djokovic have not known. He consistently played at the top of his game, and the records prove that. Absent a similar period in men’s tennis, with an authoritative player, some records will remain relics of Federer’s days on top.

Federer looks almost effortless when playing the game. Each stroke is packed with effortless grace and deadly accuracy. He rarely breaks a sweat and is often relaxed even if he is playing a long 5 set match. He looks completely at ease and almost as if he owns the court.

It is common knowledge that Roger Federer will go down as one of the best players to grace the sport of tennis. His records will go down in history and it will take Herculean effort to break them. We should be humbled and honored to have a player of his caliber still playing the way he does.





Saurav Roy
An article by:
Saurav Roy

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