Federer marches to greatness

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Aprogerfederer.jpg' class='caption'> If Roger Federer scares even himself with how well he plays, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Melbourne :

If Roger Federer scares even himself with how well he plays, then what hope is there for the rest of us? Winning 10 grand slam titles in just under four years has to be some sort of indication of just how supreme a tennis player the world number one actually is. He's certainly been told that by some of the game's greatest players ever. Rod Laver paid him a special visit in the locker rooms at Melbourne just to tell him that. Compare him with some of world sports most dominant stars and his statistics hold up well. Best among equals Lance Armstrong has won an unprecedented seven Tour de France titles. Michael Schumacher is a seven time formula one world champion with an astounding 91 race wins, Tiger Woods has 12 majors to his name, and is fast closing in on Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Roger, meanwhile, is just four titles behind Pete Sampras' career record of 14 grand slam titles - something he achieved across a span of 12 years. As with Tiger Woods in golf, Federer can be judged either by dominance in the grand slams or by consistent success on the tour week after week. Either way the Swiss maestro passes the test. He, as indeed Tiger, is well on his way to surpassing records only his most gifted predecessors achieved.
  • By end February he will break Jimmy Connnors' record of 160 straight weeks as world number one. He already has enough points for that one.
  • He's already become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a grand slam without dropping a set.
  • He could equal Borg's record of five straight Wimbledon titles this year, something even Sampras didn't manage doing.
  • Last year, Federer broke John McEnroe's record from 1984 by reaching the final in 16 of the 17 tournaments he played.
  • And of course he's also set some records of his own. He is the first player in the open era to reach seven straight grand slam finals.
  • He is the only player to have won three of the grand slams at least three times each. Territory yet to conquer In the midst of all this, the one gaping hole in Federer's resume is the lack of a French Open title. And given his dominance in the other grand slams, the question is, will he be able to complete a rare calendar year grand slam? Federer came within one match of it last year when he was beaten by Rafael Nadal in the final and for that reason he says this year's edition will be an interesting one. The pressure's on the world number one. But as he's proven time and again, he thrives under pressure. The only way to improve on a near perfect 2006 he says will be to win the French open, hopefully in addition to the other three for a rare calendar grand slam.

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    • Roger Federer
    • James Blake
    • Tennis

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