Federer and the Fed
by Sean Randall | October 2nd, 2006, 11:54 pm

My colleague Mr. Vach sure got into hot water forecasting that Roger Federer would not match Pete’s six straight years at No. 1. And judging by the comments, the Federphiles were not amused. Having roamed around the internet a bit, it’s crystal clear when talking about the greatest tennis player one has to tread very cautiously as to not incite the many Federer faithful.

My take – a cautious one at that – is simply that Pete remains the greatest until either a) Roger gets to 14 Slams, b) Roger wins the calendar Slam, or c) Roger hits an ace after wiping vomit off his sleeve in the fifth set of a Slam. Whichever comes first, subject to change, of course

I know Roger has got to nine Slam wins quicker than Pete did (though remember Borg won 11 in just 25!) and Roger has excelled on clay, but at the end of the day Pete still has 14 and Roger still has nine. Plus, Pete going six straight years at No. 1 is pretty incredible, while Roger is just halfway to that point. Can Fed get six straight? Wouldn’t shock me, especially if he does get to 14 slams and beyond, which I think he’ll do.

Roger also needs to look at figuring out a way to win the Davis Cup (Pete won that) for Switzerland and finally getting gold medal to complete his resume – assuming he wins the French of course.

So is Fed on his way to being greatest ever? Um, yeah.

Anyway, speaking of the Fed, I’m sure many of you may have missed the news – perhaps until today – that Congress passed a bill in the wee hours Saturday morning making internet gambling illegal in the U.S.

That’s right Poker nutz, read it and weep.

The Prez is expected to sign the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as early as this week making it official. The gist of the bill is that it would become illegal for U.S. banks, credit card companies and other financial intuitions to process offshore gambling outfits. And to those offshore gaming/sportsbook gambling outfits, it would become illegal for them to take bets from U.S. residents.

According to reports Pokerstars.net and Partypoker.com are ready to pull the plug on “real money” playing for U.S. residents once the bill is signed, and several more sites will likely follow suit. That’s a lot of poker players who could find themselves on the betting “sidelines” in a matter of days, if not hours and minutes. Ouch.

So what’s this all mean for U.S. tennis fans, whose sport hardly register a blip on the online gambling industry radar screen? It means sayonara to all those freaking poker shows and ads which clog up ESPN and other networks. And that means no more cutting away from tennis to go to the World Series of Poker because it won’t be on anymore, although something else – darts? – is sure to take its place.

With the poker fad “virtually” wiped out here in the U.S., tennis should bump up a spot or two (we can’t be behind darts, can we?) in the overall U.S. entertainment rankings, maybe from No. 28 to 27. Not a huge jump, but hey, any rise in the ranks we’ll take.

The bad news of course is if you live in the U.S. and you are a poker fan (Andy Roddick?) and/or you like to bet tennis matches you will soon be SOL.

As for the bill itself, it’s basically another crap American policy which we never got a say in. Betting on corrupt American institutions is perfectly legal on Wall Street, but putting a dime on the Eagles to cover will now land you in jail. That’s total B.S. And I’ll leave it at that.

What I do hope is that the good folks at the USTA, TIA and others in the tennis community recognize that there will soon be millions of online poker addicts who’ll be left with nothing to do. Hey, how about getting them to pick up a racquet…

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45 Comments for Federer and the Fed

ben Says:

That’s some serious cop out and asskissing. Good work.

critic Says:

Davis Cup as measurement of greatness? I really doubt it. And in that case, sampras would of course NOT be the greatest, it would be McEnroe, for he achieved the most concerning both single and team-play. You could even take doubles results into account. How many doubles titles did pete win? Right, 2. Fed has 7 till now.
Davis Cup? Please have a look at Pete’s Davis Cup stats and compare them with Federer’s. Fed is clearly better in that section. Yet he never won the cup. Sampras was part of probably the best Davis Cup team ever when he won. Federer will never have that chance. So just leave the Cup out of the way. It doesn’t add to the discussion.
But: i appreciate very much how you defined greatness by three achievements above. Sure, they are up for debate, but you had the guts to state some “to do’s” as guidelines. Well done!
The most important one is the moment in the Corretja-match. I believe that this match made sampras the greatest of them all for many if not all his fans. They say, it showed his heart for the sport. There’s even a fanpage mainly based on such incomparable moments in sampras’ career. (2nd e.g. Courier match, Aus open)
If that incident (vomitting before hitting an ace) should be the measuring stick, i claim that federer NEVER will be the greatest. He is simply unable to do such a thing. Probably everyone is. In that sense, Sampras was a freak of nature.
I respect that opinion about greatness. It is crystal clear, it makes sense. I can’t even counter it. Still, I don’t share it. I love tennis for the beauty of the movement, beauty of the strokes. Federer shows it in perfection, Sampras did too (almost, anyways). I don’t love the sport for players staggering over the court in pain.

Tejuz Says:

Well said Critic :-) Certainly was a nice comment on this column.

Cant take Davis Cup as a measuring stick. Its a team game and the maximum that you can score is just 2 of the 5 points in singles.

Vomitting before hitting an ace :-) ha ha ..dunno if Fed is capable of that. He usually never goes to 5 sets, and even when he does.. he doesnt look tired except when hez injured. Against Nalbandian in Masters Cup finals, he cud have thrown the towel after losing 3rd,4th sets and trailing 0-4 in the 5th when he ran out of gas cuz of lack of preperation.. but he fought on n took the 5th set to a tie break. AND that,i guess is more greater than hitting an ace after vomitting.

Olympics come once in 4 years.. so eventually he’ll win it in 2 years..

well.. that doesnt mean what Pete has achieved isnt great. But then, its more of a joy to watch Roger play. He has powerful strokes, yet so artistic and smooth to watch. Never ceases to amaze me with his shots.

Raj Says:

If Fed wins the French, then no question, he will be the greatest ever. Even Laver had to contend only with two surfaces (grass and clay). Borg never won a grand slam on hard courts. Pete threw in the towel every time on clay. Lendl never won on grass. Agassi won on all, but he couldn’t dominate the way Pete did in the mid nineties.

Point is – nobody has been perfect. However, Fed is closer to perfection than anyone else so far. But he still has to get there. Either he wins the French, or wins 15 grand slams – one of these two, and he is certainly the best ever as per stats. I think he will do both.

BTW, focusing just on stats is acknowledging that you don’t have the ability to judge a persons game yourself. I have been playing for 25 years, and I can tell you, just game wise, Fed is the best ever. THAT has been the reason why so many great tennis players have been saying that (McEnroe included). Because they have the ability to judge. Stats will follow, are already following, but even a moron can judge someone on stats.

BTW, there was a comment that Pete was miserable on clay. Well, he was. Running forehand or not – if his game (other than serve) was so good, someone should explain to me why he could not hold on in a rally on clay, with even someone ranked 50 in the world. Fed doesn’t have that weakness.

Sean Says:

Ya, me too, I would like someone to really explain why Sampras was so bad on clay. Everyone seems to ignore that. If he had such good all round game, then he should have done well on clay! just being able to serve unbelievable thanks to modern racket technology doesn’t make you a great player.

I would have loved to see Sampras play 10 years earlier, and play becker and edberg at their peak on grass, and Lendl at his peak at the US open.

Bonitto Says:

Whether Pete is weak on clay, your arugments are flawed, because guess what Roger has not won the French Open yet either and until he does, you guys can say all you want, Pete is the Greatest of them all.

pauline Says:

yes pete had 6 years at #1 but he wasn’t as dominant week in and week out as federer has been. IMO the only thing federer really needs to do to be the best (at least in terms of numbers) is win double digit slam titles and win the french at least once. numbers aren’t the deciding factor for me as there are always points that can be made either way about level of competition etc. game wise: skill level and variety, federer already is the best in my opinion.

Bonitto Says:

And that is only your opinions Pauline, like everyone else, so keep it that way and let orthers has their like the writer.

Federer fans aren't fans of tennis Says:

The freaky Fedtards will come and hang you in the night.

Allen Says:

8 grand slam titles in 3 calendar years. Even Tiger Woods never did it. Sampras never came close. Laver, Borg Lendl never did it. Fed did it.

Polaris Says:

Imagine a tournament draw where all the legends of the game, past and present, take part. Who is the last man standing?

Statistics aside, I am convinced that Federer at his peak would defeat all-comers, Sampras included. It’s a matter of each era being superior to each era prior. Federer at his peak is superior to a peak Sampras, the way a peak Sampras, or Agassi, is superior to a peak Lendl, Becker or Edberg, the same way this group at its peak is superior to McEnroe, Borg, Connors, who in turn are superior to Laver, Tilden, Emerson at their peak, and so on. The interesting thing is that Federer is so good, so unbelievably fluid and natural, that one wonders if any forthcoming era can actually produce an even more technically superior player-specimen. It is a challenge to imagine. We may have reached the threshold or the absolute ceiling of the men’s game in Roger Federer. I’m convinced the statistics will eventually speak to this.

I think it’s significant to note that I’m not a Federer fan. I’m actually a Lendl fan, who is quite a contrast in studies. I’m old school like that. But I think Federer is so far and away the greatest and most gifted player to ever wield a stick, he is essentially transcending the sport purely on the beauty of his shot-making and effortless mobility.

Cynthia Says:

Well said, polaris. I am also a lendl fan – he had to face all the best players at THEIR peak – borg, connors, mcenroe, wilander, becker, edberg. otherwise he would have won much more than 8. Lendl dominated the mid 80s like Fed does today, inspite of the competition he had.

Fed is not greater than Lendl, yet. but he is getting there. on fluidity of his game and his skill level, no question Fed is the best.

Sampras wasn’t even close. For those who pay close attention – he got SO MANY favors at the US open over the years, including in 2002 – in terms of scheduling all his matches at night (if he had to play in the afternoon every time, he would have died), moving his matches around in case he had a long match in the previous round, etc. And his competition at Wimbledon? Ivanisevic and Pioline. come on.

A resume isn’t without errors. Some people are better than their resumes. Some people’s resumes are better than them. Sampras’s resume is much better than what he was – he got lucky.

Tejuz Says:

Those were nice comments, Cynthia ‘n Polaris. Federer is by far the most gifted Tennis player til date. Sky is the limit for him..

cj Says:

honestly why cant the fed be reconized for the great ability he has the beauty and gracefullness of his game is admirable surely any one who watches or understands the game will admit to his talent.fed also has great players in his day who are chasing him all the time.its not just the sampras,connors,beckers and lendl who had great players in there era.come on do remember also a few years ago when he turned pro his coach was killed in a fatal car accident and roger did so well to handle the grief and trauma he had to cope with at that time he was only a young lad remember.his nature and personaliyy is what the sofisticated game of tennis needs not your football type of person its tennis after all. leave my guy alone and enjoy his game.

Jimmy Says:

It’s still early to say whether Federer is the greatest or not, it will be unfair to all the greatest players in history and him if whoever says Federer is now the greatest player . And, I personally think Sampras doesn’t “remain” the greatest, because he never was or is since he hasn’t won the French Open, the best he could get to was SF. Yeh, so I think so far Federer is still not yet the greatest player. The only one who won Four Slams within a year was Rod Laver, maybe he right now is the one who remains the greatest.
As long as Federer is still playing, it’s way too early to make any comparison between Sampras and Federer or any other great players in history.

Chandan Says:

Roger Federer has Elvish blood, he wields the racket like Potter’s wand, his movement is as graceful as a Ballerina, his construction of points resembles Leonardo painting a masterpiece, he is a Jedi master in harmony with the Force and with his complete game he has the one thing to rule them all and with his brilliance bind them.

Pete ???, he is not even in the same league.
Cynthia got it right, some people’s resumes are better than them and Pete fits the bill perfectly.

Why are Americans such lously losers ? :o)

Scott Says:

Laver had to only win on grass and clay – 3 of the 4 slams were played on grass then. Plus tennis as a sport didn’t have as much depth – nowhere near what its now. Until the 70s, mens tennis was more like what womens tennis is today – 6-8 top players who nobody else can beat. Upto the quarters was always a cakewalk. Today, the 100th ranked man can give the top player a run. Look at what this 276th ranked guy did at the Japan open yesterday – Fed won 7-6, 7-6. This would never have happened in Laver’s era. Not to take anything away from him – he was a superlative player.

Sampras was a good player too. Just like Becker, Edberg were. But he was no greater than them. sampras certainly deserves to be in the 6-8 slams club. but 14 was certainly a stroke of luck for him. Cynthia is right – his resume is better than him.

As someone else had pointed out – if Sampras had such a good game, why was he so miserable on clay? Sampras fans have been ignoring this question. Sampras fans, please don’t hide, answer this one! And Sampras wasn’t even the most sporting player (agassi always was). Sampras had a bit of the mean, unsporting streak that nadal has now.

And for anyone who just needs stats, fed beat sampras on grass at wimbledon – agreed, sampras may have been a bit past his prime, but in the same way, Fed was WAY before his prime. that should settle it.

If Fed at peak was to play Sampras at peak, Fed would win in 5 sets on grass, 4 on hard courts, and 3 easy sets on clay. Sampras should thank his stars he faced pioline, ivanisevic, rafter, agassi at wimbledon, not Fed. If Sampras had played Fed for all his 7 wimbledon titles, he would have barely won 2.

Dan Says:

While Pete’s results on clay over the years were not very good, he did have a few moments. 1995 Davis cup final vs Kafelnikov anyone? The russians built their super-slow red clay court pretty much JUST to beat sampras, and he put a beat-down on Kafelnikov (who would win the French the following year).

I agree Federer is a phenomenal player, and is most certainly one of the best ever. However, as has been pointed out many times by former players, there aren’t nearly as many top players in the game now as their were in the 90s. Becker, Lendl, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Muster (and I’m sure others) were all winning slams, and yet Pete was still racking up slam titles at a pretty decent rate.

I would personally love to see a Pete at-his-prime play the modern day Roger. Roger, when asked how he would play against himself, answered: “I would serve and volley on every point”.

Federer is great, but why all the Sampras-hate? What if Borg hadn’t retired when he did… what would this dicussion be like?


allan Says:

becker lendl, edberg were done when sampras hit his peak. so was courier – and he wasn’t in that league anyway. Muster was just another Nadal. in fact less than that. agassi goofed off in the mid nineties for a few year, exactly when Sampras made hay. so who did sampras face at THEIR peak? only agassi, that too sometimes. Sampras did not face ANY other player (who has won 6 slams or more) at THEIR peak.

Borg, certainly, I think he was a greater player than Sampras, and greater than Fed, as of now. I am not a Fed maniac, but certainly, Sampras is overrated. As someone said before, he deserves to be in the 6-8 slam club, but no higher.

So its not Sampras hate, its disagreement with the overhype about Sampras. As the best ever, and stupid stuff like that.

Safin, Nalbandian, Nadal have denied Fed a few slams over the last three years. Trust me, they are no inferior to Courier, Muster, etc.

Alex Says:

A few things Roger doesnt’ have that Sampras had – a huge US PR and hype machine, the USTA which basically sets up the tournament for Americans, and the vested commercial interests in the US to call him the greatest (it didn’t matter that he did not reach a single French Final).

Reverse the nationalities. If Sampras was Swiss and Fed was American, we wouldn’t be having this debate. It would have been over during Wimbledon 2001.

These Bush supporting Americans would have tore down Sampras if he wasn’t american.

Ryan Says:

Just because internet gambling is shutting down doesn’t mean ESPN is going to slow down its poker coverage any time soon. Sure, all those online sites will stop advertising as much (MAYBE, considering the only thing they’re allowed to advertise now anyway is the .net free sites), but the time will be filled with more of those misogynistic Milwaukee’s Best Light ads. (By the way, what “real man” drinks that crap anyway?)

Ryan Says:

Also, some food for thought, from a strictly numbers standpoint…

Number of top 10 players Federer has beaten in his 9 Grand Slam victories: 18

Number of top 10 players Sampras beat in his 14 Grand Slam victories: 20

To me, this “Federer doesn’t have to play great players” stuff is garbage. He’s just that much better than everyone else. He would have done the same thing in Pete’s era, too, because the game is always being played at a higher level as it moves forward.

scott Says:

Sean Randall,

Your buddy Vach didn’t “forecast” anything, you moron. Forecasting refers to predictions made by statistical projections. Vach just “speculated” that Fed will not be year end no1 for 6 years.

don’t twist facts, just like the bushies do.

Peter Says:

Some more food for thought….

During the 6 years that Sampras was no 1 (1993-98), he lost 84 matches, won 43 tournaments, including 10 grandslams (5 of them wimbledons).

During the 3 years that Fed has been no 1 (2004-6, and 06 is not over yet!), Fed has lost 15 matches, won 30 tournaments including 8 grandslams only 3 of them wimbledons).

The levels of domination are just not comparable. Anyone could take a good shot at Sampras if he was slightly off. It takes a hell of a lot more to beat fed. On ANY surface. Sampras was just so much more vulnerable, ALL the time.

Another stat. During their first 4 wimbledon titles, Sampras lost 14 sets, Borg lost 12, and Fed only 5. He doesn’t even lose many sets on grass, unlike Sampras. And this is wimbledon we are talking about. Sampras had several 5 setters and was close to defeat several times at wimbledon. Fed’s only 5 setter at wimbledon was when he beat Sampras. Not one 5 set match in his 4 titles.

Its important to look at the whole picture, all the stats. If you look at just one or two stats (like 14 slams, 6 years No 1), it obviously hides the real picture.

I bet I could quote you two stats that show that we are doing a hell of a good job in Iraq!

Sean Randall Says:

Great stuff people.

Riddle me this, was Andre Agassi a better player last year than when he was ten years earlier in 1995?

As far as Federer and his competition. My lone beef – and not Fed’s fault – is that everyone in the game right now is so one dimensional. That is, big forehand, good backhand, heavy groundies, good serve, good speed, etc.

There are so few serve/volley players worth a lick that Fed has to worry about. Whereas 10-15 years ago you had Becker, Edberg, Stich, Rafter and others. Now everybody you play is basically the same. I think Agassi said so much a few years ago, how matches were easier because you knew what you were going to get in just about every match.

I bring that up in that so many of the “journeymen” players of today are still having success. Paul Goldstein, Justin Gimelstob, Jonas Bjorkman, Kenneth Carlsen, Fabrice Santoro, Dick Norman and Kevin Kim.

Ivan Ljubicic and James Blake also come to mind, but to a lesser degree.

My point is some of those guys were playing in an era of more variety, but now with nearly everyone basically playing a “robotic” baseline game they have adapted better and found the opposition more to their liking. Or, maybe the guys at the top are not as great as they were 10 years ago so they sneak deeper into draws. Or, maybe they are just better players now…Who knows, just some stuff to ponder.

Peter Says:

To add to the stats….

During 1993-98, Pete’s no 1 years, he was 118-14 in grand slams, and 50-5 on grass, his favorite surface, where he was so called “invincible” (crap!).

During 2004-06, Fed has been 73-4 in grand slams, and 36-0 on grass.

Does THAT satisfy the Sampras fans? Finally? When we are looking at JUST the grand slams and grass? Pete used to just lose too often too early. Fed is just too much tougher to beat, and goes deeper in EVERY tournament he plays. Heck, 17 finals in a row? Pete could NEVER do that.

Pete was great, but nowhere near the greatest. Fed is great, and getting towards being the greatest. The difference is – Pete is retired, can’t do any more, while Fed is only half done.

Another couple of years and Sampras fans will just have to totally SHUT UP.

Tejuz Says:

15 years ago, Sampras didnt dominate when Becker, Edberg, Stich were at their peak. Sampras only started dominating when they were almost done with their careers. I guess players like Nalbandian, Ljubicic, Nadal, Safin, Hewitt, Henman, Baghdatis, Ancic, P’phousis are very different players from one another. Infact i would say we have more variety right now. Most of these guys can play from baseline and volley well.
And to top them all.. we have Federer who does everything exceptionally well.

I dont agree that today’s tennis is one-dimensional.

And well.. Federer did beat Sampras at his own game with serve-volley(wimbledon ’01).. and Agassi at his with a baseline game(many times esp. US ’05)

Sean Randall Says:

Tejuz, thanks for the comment.

Let me ask you when you compare the year-end Top 10 from 1996 to the current Top 10 which group do you see having more variety and why?

For those that don’t remember – okay, I looked it up – the 1996 Top 10 in order was Sampras, Chang, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic, Muster, Becker, Krajicek, Agassi, Enqvist and Ferreira.

critic Says:

I mentioned the following before, but i do it again:
For the next years to come, we will see many young players emerging, which will make the Federer reign a lot harder to maintain, but will also show an extremely deep strong field. (not necessarily a lot of variety, but that’s the fault of different balls, racquets and courts, don’t blame the players)
My proof: The birth-year of 1996 Top 10:
1971 (sampras), 1972, 1974, 1971, 1967, 1967, 1971, 1970, 1974, 1971 (=three guys younger than sampras)
The birth-year of 2006 Top 10 so far :
1981 (federer), 1986, 1979, 1982, 1981, 1979, 1982, 1982, 1985, 1984 (=three guys OLDER than federer)

Conclusion: The threat for Sampras by “young guns” during the years 1996-2001 was considerably lower than the threat federer will face for the years to come. His quest for long ride as a number 1 will be so very hard! Go Roger!

critic Says:

For the variety discussion: why don’t we have a look at 1997:
Sampras, Rafter, Chang, Bjorkman, Kafelnikov, Rusedski, Moya, Bruguera, Muster, Rios.
I’m not sure about variety here, i just spot sooo many claycourters. I really wonder what happened. I see 6 French Open Titles split between these guys.
Big names, big variety? You tell me.
At least, lets say that Sampras didn’t really see much of their firepower since he hardly ever met them on clay. He went out too early.

Alok Says:

I don’t think we need any more statistics. fed is CERTAINLY better than sampras. to me, pete’s pathetic performance on clay is enough. You can’t be the “greatest tennis player” and be so bad on one surface.

had Pete played during the 1980′s, he would have won 2 wimbledons, 1 US open, and 1 Australian – 4 instead of 14 slams. that’s what he was worth anyway.

Above all, he was never too sporting. Even now, he gives backhanded compliments to Fed. He doesn’t even have the balls to give a clear decent compliment.

TejuZ Says:

In the list of top 10 that you posted for ’96
(Sampras, Chang, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic, Muster, Becker, Krajicek, Agassi, Enqvist and Ferreira.) except for Chang, Agassi and Becker(almost retiring age) no one else had won a grand-slam then and they were still to prove their worth. Krajicek, Muster, Ivanesevic and Chang were one-slam wonders(on grass n clay). Most of Current Top-10 players (Ljubicic, Devydenko, Blake, Nalbandian, Ancic)look like potential grand-slam winners(thats only if Federer allows them)

Also plz check the difference in the ATP points between the Number 1 and rest of ‘em(3 years running). Fed has already broken the year-end points record with still 4 more tourney’s to go. This isnt normal, even if you argue that the field is too depleted. Thats exceptional effort for anybody in any era.

I agree with Critic that Federer never had to face lots of young guns during his prime.. and when he did face them in Safin, Hewitt, Fed etc he lost most of ‘em. I get the feeling that he retired early cuz he knew he would have trouble against these players. I really admire Agassi in respect.

TejuZ Says:

sorry.. in the last post, last line i meant ‘Sampras never had to face lots of young guns during his prime’ ..

ro'ee Says:

For Fed to win the cup he’d have to pull a doubles plus two singles all the way through the tournament. Pete could get away with only playing singles.

LW Says:

Pete’s weaknesses on clay:
- weak and inconsistent backhand
- questionable fitness
- impatience
- serve and groundies were less powerful on clay
- approach shots sat up
- lack of confidence
- did not slide well

nick Says:

Saying that Fed is only as good as Sampras is an insult for Fed. Its also stupid, because anyone who had eyes and any understanding of the game can see how much more complete a player Fed is. Henman just said that after losing to Fed at the Japan Open. Agassi has said several times that Fed is much tougher to beat than Pete. Agassi is probably the best guy to judge the two (sampras and fed), since he has played both more than 10 times each, and beaten and lost to both several times, at his and their peaks.

So all you sampras nuts, shut up, since you cannot be a better judge of this debate than Agassi. He says Fed is better than Sampras, and that seals it. Stats support it. So shut up. Just because Sampras is american you nuts are siding with him. If Sampras had been French, you would have torn him apart by now.

Tejuz Says:

And even when Fed loses, its never in Straight sets (except for the Murray loss).
He has lost in 9 matches since Olymics 2004 out of which he had match points in 3 of them.
vs Safin (AUOpen 2005)
vs Gasquet (Monte Carlo Masters 2005)
vs Nadal(Rome 2006)

and 2 points from winning against Nalnbandian in Masters Cup 2005 finals.

To defeat Federer.. he needs to have an off-day and you have to be at you absolute best for the whole duration of the match.

Just proves that hez a totally different level.. even to Sampras.

Polaris Says:

It suddenly occurred to me that in my prior post, I forgot to mention that Federer has far superior hair. Sampras’ scalp was much like his clay game, there were major holes in it.

(Just kidding.)

Jose Brito Says:

Michael Chang (another American) just stuck his head up his ass again. He said ” Fed is up there with the greatest” – what a redundant comment. its like saying – federer can play tennis. Then he said “things would have been different for him if he had played in Pete’s era (sic)”. Well, why doesn’t he say that things would have been different for Pete if he had Federer around?? Just because Sampras is American? Then he says – there are no true serve and volleyers around. Does he know why? Doesn’t he know that racquet technology along with fitter players, coupled with the slower and bouncier grass at wimbledon, has made serve and volley impossible to play? I don’t care if mcenroe or becker were around – serve and volleyers just can’t survive with today’s technology. If pete had been playing today, he would have won 4 slam titles, not 14. The baseliners are just too strong!

Why do americans and american players continue to say – oh, there is less competition today. what a bunch of sore losers, with their panties all tied up in a bunch.

It is impossible for competition today to be any less than 10 years ago. If at all, there is more competition today. Tennis is actively played in over 100 countries, there are more people playing today then 10 years ago. Players are fitter, there is more access to coaching through academies, there’s more money in the sport so more people are making it a career, world population is higher, so more people to select from – then how the heck can anyone say that competition is lower?

A phenomenal guy called Fed showed up, wiped everyone off the face of the court – that’s why nobody else is winning that much. Unless tennis as a sport was in decline (quite the contrary), Fed faces MORE competition today than Pete faced 10 years ago.


Swiss-American Angel Says:

The problem is thus: By the numbers record, the geatest two players who ever lived are Rod Laver and Pete Sampras. BOTH OF THEM have proclaimed that Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time. End of discussion.

nick Says:

Tiger Woods said this yesterday on Jay Leno – “winning 6 tour titles in a row in 2006 was tougher than it was in 1999-00, since the competition has gotten tougher – due to technology, players are driving longer. they are fitter and training harder”.

Same thing has happened in tennis. The Sampras of 1999 would not win today. Competition is tougher for Fed than it was for Sampras. THat is natural, its bound to happen. So stop saying the opposite, as its stupid.

TejuZ Says:

Does this mean that Federer will never be called the greatest even if he dominates the same way for next 7 years just because he didnt face serve and volley players like Becker, Edberg etc .. ha ha .. arent we playing down his achievments here.

Shouldnt we say Sampras was lucky he wasnt playing in 80′s when the competition was really stiff between first Connors, Borg, Mc’Enroe, and later on Lendl, Wilander, Becker, Edberg splitting titles between them.

I can see Federer beating them all with his game, but Sampras would have had a tougher time out there.

Federer can play on any surface .. that makes him the greatest. He never looks out of sorts.

» More on Federer v. Sampras Says:

[...] It’s a slow day at the office, so I’ve been cruising around the message boards, and reading the comments, and naturally the big debates rages on with Federer vs. Sampras in the greatest of all-time match-up, or the GOAT as they say. I stated my case for a few weeks back, and if you haven’t read it I basically said that Roger still has some work to do. But he’ll get there and become the GOAT. [...]

Victor Says:

As of now, Sampras is better than Fed. That’ll change. Real soon. But it’s funny that people on these forums think they can argue for Sampras, in the end, being the greatest, seeing as they’re arguing against:

John McEnroe

Those arguing in Sampras’ case must have a lot of credentials we don’t know about.

Loz Mallozzi Says:

I think the debate is a very tough one to say for definite. People are saying that there is more competition these days and technology has improved etc. But the point is that Sampras had to beat everybody that was put in front of him, same with federer. Both have the same technology as their opponents.

It is unfair to challenge their greatness over these particular issues. If Sampras had to play nowadays then he would have better access to improved technology and no doubt would be fitter and stronger in order to evolve with the times and Federer would have learnt to play with less efficient technology.

I disagree with the fact that in 1996 Sampras had more competition from different styles of play as well as proven hall of famers and grand slam winners. For a start Federer is so good that he hasn’t allowed anybody except Safin and Nadal to win a slam in 2 years. If Federer was injured then maybe you would see the emergence of Roddick, Hewitt, Bagdhatis, Blake and Nalbandian in the grand slams. The fact is that Federer loses so little that its impossible to look at his opponents and argue that they are great players.

My argument would be that if Federer played in Sampras’s time then Becker, Chang, Muster, Ivanisevic would have won a lot less and possibly not considered greats. I think Federer is so complete technically along with a mental steel that would dominate at any era.

Also if you were to look at the top players of today you would note that you have top hard court players such as Blake and Hewitt, Big servers such as Ljubicic and Roddick and grass court specialists such as Henman and Ancic. May I also note that Nadal has recently broken Vilas’s clay court winning streak and could be argued that Federer has to face the greatest clay court player of all time.

Again, they both deserve respect for their domination of tennis along with Borg, Lendl, Laver etc. But the difference is not within statistics (If Federer died tommorrow would he not be considered for GOAT just because he didn’t live long enough)but the difference is in the way they they play technically, the way they can perform on each surface and to what level they dominate their opponents throughout matches and across the year.

To this I think Federer is not only the greatest player in tennis, but also the greatest in sport and the scary thing is that he is only 25 years old and will continue to get better. He is not far off the perfect tennis player as it is, his only real weakness it seems is that he is human!

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