A Star Retires…and a Superstar is Born

Josh Cohen

Jordan, Ruth, Gretzky, Armstrong, Tiger. Each of these men has cemented themselves as one of the greatest athletes to ever participate in sports.The time has come to consider adding another to the list of greats: Roger Federer.With one powerful smash, Federer finished off Andy Roddick in a four set battle at this year’s US Open this past Sunday.At age 25, Federer has now won 9 of the last 14 grand slam tournaments, compiled a 72-6 record on the year, and will finish the top ranked tennis player in the world for the third straight year.Not only is he the most dominant player of the past decade, by the time its all said and done, he may go down as the best to every string up a racket.

Now in order to judge Federer against tennis history, it would seem logical to compare him to the greatest tennis player of all, Pete Sampras.Sampras finished his career after 15 years on tour with 14 grand slam titles, the most in tennis history. He dominated the game in the 90’s like nobody else in history.Federer has won nine grand slam singles titles at age 25, has played in 10 consecutive grand slam semi-finals, a USTA record and has reached a record six consecutive grand slam finals.He has compiled an unbelievable 8-1 record in his finals appearances at the Australian, French, US Open, and Wimbledon, and this year became the first player ever to win Wimbledon and the US Open back to back for three straight years.

With the rise of young phemons Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick, many writers have asked if the gap is closing between Federer and the rest of the field. Can he continue to dominate the competition? Nadal has had Federer’s number in recent matches, including the French Open Final where he beat Federer in four sets, but Nadal is a clay court specialist. He can’t hold is own with Federer on a hard court or a grass surface, which is where Federer gets most of his victories. With Sunday’s victory over Roddick, Federer continued his dominance over the American, pushing his record to 11-1 against Roddick.

Against the rest of the world, Federer has shown why he deserves to go down as the best ever.He won 55 straight matches and 9 straight finals in North America between 2004 and 2006.Before losing in Wimbledon in 2002, Federer won a record 48 consecutive grass court

appearances and won 27 consecutive grand slam matches, two short of the all-time record held by Rod Laver.He has earned $6.1 million dollars in prize money this year, nearly $1 million dollars more than Nadal and Roddick combined. Federer has proven to be unstoppable.He has one of the best returns in the game and silky smooth ground strokes. He controls his serve very well, going without a single double fault in his US Open Finals match against Roddick.He combines speed with agility, and he’s only getting better.He is young and motivated by his recent run, and has others like tennis great Martina Navratilova convinced that he might go down as the best ever. “Probably at his best, he was better than anyone else at their best.”Pete Sampras better be a little worried, because Roger Federer’s assault on the record books looks to continue for a very long time, as he moves up the ranks towards the greatest tennis player ever.