Federer has regained his spot at the top of the world rankings and now has the all-time record for most weeks at the top. No one knows how many more weeks he will spend there before finally passing on the reins for good. Those reins may go to Nadal, Djokovic or even Andy Murray, who made an impressive showing recently at the Olympics.
However, some of the records Roger is leaving behind will never be broken by any of his successors. Five such records in particular are unlike anything else accomplished in the sport of tennis.
It is a testament to Federer's consistency and longevity that his all-time record of 17 Grand Slam wins is fifth on this list. His Grand Slam wins record is often viewed as the most important to the game and the one that sets him apart as the greatest of all time.
While this is true, it is not his most dominant record. Pete Sampras got 14 Slams in his career and Rafael Nadal has 11. Novak Djokovic might get into double digits as well. He has five so far at the age of 25.
Roger's 58 percent Grand Slam-winning percentage across all surfaces from 2004 through 2009 allowed him to acquire this stockpile of trophies. We will most likely never see another player who can dominate all three major surfaces for such a sustained period.
As former world No. 1 Jimmy Connors pointed out:
In an era of specialists, you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist... or you're Roger Federer.
Roger Federer's record of 33 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals is going to be broken. By him. Soon, at the 2012 US Open. This record may easily stretch into the upper-30s, possibly to 40 before Federer retires.
However, no one else is ever going to sniff this record.
The odds of another player winning the 132 consecutive early-round matches required to tie this record are incredibly slim.
The most amazing aspect of Federer's game is that—unlike every other great champion in tennis history —he never gets upset. He comes out and plays fantastic tennis every day for years on end.
Until we have robots playing tennis, we will not see consistency like that again.
Even more impressive than Federer's Grand Slam wins count is the fact that he has reached the finals 24 times (17-7). Ivan Lendl has come the closest to this mark with 19. Nadal has a chance to catch up to Lendl; he already has 16.
However, no player has ever sustained dominance for as long as Roger. Given the variety of surfaces that tennis professionals must play on in the modern era, a player must remain dominant over one or two surfaces for a decade to rack up 24 finals appearances.
Federer still has time to improve on this number, but even if he doesn't, this record will never be surpassed.
Roger's record for longest winning streak on a surface is unbreakable because it's measured in years rather than months. For a five-year stretch from 2003-2008, he didn't lose a single match on the surface he dominated the most. Over that span, he lost a total of only 16 sets and won all 65 matches.
When Roger does lose, he loses with style. The match that finally ended the streak was the longest Grand Slam final in history—the epic five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon finals.
Federer went his entire prime without playing a poor match on his best surface.
This record will keep all future streaks in perspective, when future greats put together hot stretches that last for a few months.
Even given Federer's unprecedented dominance of tennis, it is amazing that he pulled off 23 consecutive semifinals in Grand Slam tournaments. For a six-year stretch between the 2004 and 2010 French Opens, he didn't miss a single one. To do so, he had to win 115 consecutive matches in the earlier rounds.
This is not only the greatest record in tennis history, but one of the greatest in sports history.
For comparison, the longest such stretch by tennis great Pete Sampras was three semifinals. The longest by Rafael Nadal was five. For most top players, reaching two in a row is a great accomplishment. Andy Roddick—the best American player of the last decade—has only managed two in a row on one occasion. This was in 2003 when he achieved the world No. 1 rank.
We will see dominant tennis again in the future, but the record will never be broken. Just like in basketball, the No. 23 has special meaning in the tennis world.