Records are made only to be broken. Roger Federer broke Pete Sampras‘ record of 14 grand slam wins at the age of 27 by defeating Andy Roddick in an epic final at Wimbledon on July 5th 2009. He had to play 77 games and hit 50 aces against an equally tenacious Andy Roddick. The last set alone had 30 games and lasted 95 minutes. Federer was broken twice by Andy, and Andy was broken only once in the final set and that was enough for Roger to emerge as the champion. Final score:
Andy Vs Roger
7-5, 6-7,6-7,6-3,14-16
To Andy’s credit, he was playing superlative tennis – probably the best he has ever played. What kept him away from winning was not bad play but some ungodly superlative play from Roger: In the second set tie-breaker, Andy had 4 set points on 6-2 and Roger dug himself out of it to win the set. Before Andy could realize that the set was slipping out his hands, Roger had equalized the scores to one set all. Roger made it look so very simple, to the ones watching, it looked like it was second nature to him. It was at such critical points in the match that Roger summoned the Tennis-Gods in his arms and the racket and his feet – oh those feet – watch his feet and only his feet for a few games and one knows why that man has 15 slams on his mantelpiece.
The match was being watched by such legends as Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and the second most grand slam winner – Pete Sampras (Yes, Pete is now “second” – bitter-sweet). Tennis-pundits, sports analysts and the Internet will be once again buzz with that ever-annoying question: “Is Roger the best tennis player to have lived on the planet?” If greatness was to be measured by numbers and numbers alone then the answer is simple – yes, he is:
– has won 15 grand slams
– has been ranked number 1 for 237 consecutive weeks
– has won all the four major slams
– has reached semi-finals or better in the last 21 slams
– has been physically fit to have not missed out on the major events on the tour (this is no mean feat given the current high-power, high-energy requirements in tennis. Exhibit A: Rafa Nadal who had to sit out due to an injury)

So the numbers are very well stacked in his favor. However, every era is different and thus every era has its own “great” players. If Sampras and Becker were contemporaries to Federer, where would they rank? That’s a question that tennis fans can never answer with complete confidence, and hence no single player will be the “greatest ever”. But for now, Roger you are alone at the top: How’s the view?