Roger Federer is among the sport’s greats such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady.
That was the message of 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who paid tribute to Federer after declaring that his Laver Cup appearance in September would be his last match in professional sport.
The 41-year-old won 20 Grand Slam titles during a legendary 24-year career, only Novak Djokovic (21) and Rafael Nadal (22) can boast more major titles in men’s tennis.
Federer has also won more men’s singles major draw matches in the Grand Slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369), leaving behind an impressive legacy as he prepares to step off the court.
Bartoli went through retirement herself, after calling her career down after a failed comeback from injury in 2018, and asked by Stats Perform if Federer was the goat – the greatest ever – Bartoli said, “Yes, he’s a lot out there. – absolutely.
“Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, they are people who transcend their sports – they are icons.
“You go into the streets, Roger Federer says. I’m in Dubai now [and if] You say “Roger Federer” everyone will know who he is. And the same for LeBron and Michael Jordan.
“When you transcend your sport and become an icon and everyone knows who you are, that’s when you know you were one of the greatest players ever in every sport.
Same for Serena [Williams]You can put Novak and Rafa there, too. But so much fame, so much inspiration [the next] generation.”
Having spent 237 consecutive weeks at number one, Federer holds the record for the longest running streak in men’s singles history after a four-and-a-half year stint at the top.
Federer was also present in the top ten men’s singles rankings for 750 weeks, a figure unparalleled for a male player since the rankings were first published in 1973.
Regardless of Federer trailing Djokovic and Nadal in the Grand Slam, Bartoli believes the Swiss is still the best of the trio due to his elegant style of play.
“It depends a lot on your own taste in a way. If you like beautiful, elegant and smooth tennis, you should choose Roger Federer,” she added.
“Obviously now with Novak having 21 trophies and Rafa having 22 major trophies, if we only talk about numbers, you will have two players at the helm.
“But I think it’s largely a discussion because it depends on the style of play you like, however, I absolutely love to see Novak play and win.
“I absolutely loved seeing Rafa win again at Roland Garros this year, and I think it was one of the most amazing sporting achievements you could have seen.
“But in terms of the style of the game, the way he revolutionized tennis, I think Roger was the first. And then they pushed each other to new heights and I think that’s really special.”
While many youngsters are looking to emulate Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, Bartoli highlighted the importance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as well.
“You can see how much influence the player has [has] When you see a new generation trying to imitate your style. I think Pete Sampras had that influence as well as Andre Agassi on Gil Roger, Rafael and Novak.”
“Roger had that influence on the new generation with Carlos Alcaraz. That’s why I say he was really the first to take the game to another level because he brought that dimension from his forehand when he was really able to play the ball wherever he wanted.
“I always remember that sentence from Andre Agassi, when he started playing against Roger saying, ‘Well, I’ve never felt against anyone that I have to play in a 20-centimeter square because that’s the only safe place I can play, and it’s deep in the back’ Roger If I play anywhere, he will take the game from me. [Federer] was the first to [do that] Then it is clear that Rafa and Novak have arrived and sought to change that and push each other to new heights.
“When you have the climax of the 2008 Wimbledon final and all those matches in between, it was far from epic for me.”
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