5 Reasons Why Roger Federer Is The Best Tennis Player Of All Time

In sport there is always speculation about those individuals who have stood out even amongst the very best in their field. The competitive nature of sport leads to broken records, titles, rankings and generally sorting out the very “best” from the merely “one of the best”. Across all sports there are those legends whose achievements have left audiences awe bound and opponents broken, they break all the records and kindle the question, are they really the best ever?

In tennis there have been many greats, each achieving amazing feats and standing out as significantly better than the rest. Most tennis fans would agree that a list comprising these greats would include Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi, Laver and several other heroes of the game. There is one man however, still playing today, who has raised the question more than ever. This man of course is the Swiss maestro Roger Federer. So, is Roger Federer really the best player of all time?

Here we comprise a list of 5 reasons that suggest he is indeed the best of all time, considering achievement as well as personal qualities as a tennis professional.

5. Grand Slam Success

Arguably, the measure of any tennis player is their success in the major tournaments on the tennis circuit, the Grand Slams. Time and time again the reputation of a player transcends exponentially when they finally win a Grand Slam title. Often those without a slam at the top of the rankings are criticised for failing to produce their form when it matters most.

For Roger Federer this was never a problem, first winning a Grand Slam back in 2003 on his beloved centre court at Wimbledon. Since then he has gone on to break numerous records in the Grand Slams, winning an astonishing 17 titles overall. Grand Slam statistics alone argue his case as the greatest ever, not only has he won the most but also has reached the most finals, 24 (at least 5 times at each slam). In his prime Federer dominated at Wimbledon, the US open and to a slightly lesser extent the Australian open, finally achieving the career slam in 2009 when he won the French open.

His Grand Slam success is clearly unrivalled; in one stretch Roger only failed to reach the final once in 19 consecutive slams.  For me and many commentators and past players this is enough to prove that Federer is the best ever, but stats alone do not make a great tennis player. Read on to find out why Federer is the best for other reasons…

4. All Round Game

Roger Federer has been described as the most watchable tennis player. This view is well deserved, and it culminates from a combination of factors about his game that few if not no other player has displayed.

Firstly, he is technically flawless. Though at 32 his execution is slipping, in his years as World No.1 the perfection of his hitting was outstanding, conjuring fluid strokes with incredible plus 160 kph speed. There has never been a forehand quite like Federer’s inside out ripping baseline strike, and the one-handed backhand he uses was unusually varied and accurate.

Unlike other players, many of whom also have impressive baseline hitting, Federer is a fantastic full court player, utilising every inch of the court to dictate the game and play genius cat and mouse with his helpless opponent. This full court play displays the volleying ability of Roger, who angles and controls his net play to devastating effect. He also uses the serve and volley, scarce in the modern game. This is allowed by the Federer serve which is not only fast but very uniquely pin-point accurate.

To round up his almost perfect game, is the most standout visual aspect of the maestro’s masterpiece; his grace on court. Like no other, his movement is effortless, making transitions between offence and defence with ease. He reaches the ball as successfully, but far less taxingly than other great ‘chasers’ such as David Ferrer, resulting in the most ‘easy-on-the-eye’ style in tennis.

3. Mental Toughness

All great sports people must be mentally tough, as was forecast so clearly in last year’s London Olympics. It isn’t just about having the right attitude and confidence, but also about managing your thoughts effectively.

In his youth Roger was loud and emotional on court, a completely different image to the elegant and collected player of the last decade. He learned to control the frustration, upset and anger, channelling the emotion into determination and a steely confidence. This ability to focus and remain calm is unparalleled, few have Roger’s knack of saving championship point as if it’s the first point in a friendly knock about.

More recently the pure confidence has slipped, his expression less fixed his resolve less certain. But none can deny that for the most part Federer has been mentally stronger than any of his opponents, and easily matching the raw determination of players such as Lendl for example. Roger Federer has graced the tennis court with a deadly calm, intimidating players with nothing more than a slight nod as he once again out manoeuvres.

2. Genius

To be the best you cannot only possess the best execution or physical prowess, but also the best game plan. The domination of Roger Federer over the last decade can be summed up by watching just one rally; with apparent ease he dictates the play, making his opponent chase the ball with no option but to relentlessly defend the onslaught.  This is born out of a foresight into how a game will be played. Like chess Roger reads the moves perfectly, countering with a winner.

Roger speaks 7 languages; similarly his tennis contains huge variety. The ability to envision and then execute the right shot in each circumstance is something all players have, but Federer’s decision making is a step up. In his dominant reign 2003 -2007 the shot choices were impeccable, consistently the perfect shot to triumph point by point. Though his standard of play will decline from now on, his intelligence can never be questioned.

1. Consistency and Longetivity

The final reason why Roger Federer is possibly the best tennis player of all time is also perhaps the most important. Many incredible players have come and gone, outstanding sportsmen who have won the top titles. Roger though is unique, his time right at the top of men’s tennis has spanned for over a decade, still challenging for slam titles at 32. The longevity of his career is testament to his style of play and determination, rarely becoming injured and never taking significant time off. The long lasting nature of his influence in tennis has created a true legend who has been the face of the sport for years.

Consistency is also needed though, and it is even more impressive to consider just how long Roger has been producing world class tennis. With a total of 302 weeks at number 1, 237 of which were consecutive from 2004 to 2008, Roger Federer has been the best for the longest time ever. In the context of the modern day nature of competitive sport this is a huge achievement.

Although Roger Federer may now be losing his brilliance, his time at the top will forever be remembered by tennis fans as an era of quality and dominance like never before. With the best record of achievement and arguably the best overall game, Federer can strongly be considered as the best tennis player of all time.

Date: 9th August 2013, Source: WhatCulture


  1. The stats speak,numero uno Roger.