Roger Federer: On the Verge of Becoming the Greatest?

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer IJune 5, 2009

PARIS - JUNE 05:  Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a backhand during the Men's Singles Semi Final match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina on day thirteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 5, 2009 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Every now and again, a truly exceptional athlete emerges to take their chosen sport by storm.

Every generation has good players, but only rarely do you see a players good enough to be considered among the very best of the best.

Tennis, it seems, has had more than its fair share of these legends.

Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, and Pete Sampras can all lay a serious claim to be the greatest of all time.

Each have their own impressive careers, with many high points that set them apart from almost everyone else in the game's history.

Borg won five consecutive Wimbledon titles and six French Open titles, including four consecutively.

Laver has won all four Grand Slams not once, but twice, while Sampras won 14 career Grand Slams, more than any other player.

One man that must be added to the above list, however, is Roger Federer.

For years, his dominance of the sport was compared with that of Tiger Woods in Golf and Michael Schumacher in Formula One.

Earlier today, Federer battled his way into his fourth consecutive French Open final. For the previous three years, the only thing stopping Federer completing all four Grand Slams was his kryptonite: Rafael Nadal.

Nadal looked unstoppable on clay from the moment he turned professional, and it came as a huge surprise when he was dumped out of the French Open this year.

It was a pleasant surprise of Federer, however.

With Nadal out of the way, Federer progressed to the final, where he will face Nadal's conqueror, Robin Soderling.

His record can already match up against Sampras, Laver, and Borg, but a win in the final at Roland Garros may just tip the title of "Greatest of All Time" into his favour.

He would equal Sampras' 14 Grand Slam titles, after being stuck on 13 for what feels like an eternity, and also achieve something Sampras never could—a win at Roland Garros.

He would've then won all four Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, completing the feat Laver has also achieved. He has already matched Borg's five consecutive Wimbledon titles.

In addition to this, he was the World No. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks, and has been named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the last four years.

The unofficial crown of the "Greatest of All Time" has stayed off Federer's head longer than anticipated due to the arrival of Rafael Nadal, but the King could be crowned sooner rather than later.

Tennis is lucky to have two genuine greats at the moment in Nadal and Federer. Andy Murray: The Weight of Britain on his Shoulders">Andy Murray has shown potential, but has a long way to go to reach that level.

The rivalry between those two greats has brought out the best in them, much like the rivalry between Borg and McEnroe brought out the best in those two, and the one between Agassi and Sampras did the same.

If Roger Federer wins the French Open, will he be the greatest of all time? Many will say he already is but, for me, a win at Roland Garros would seal the deal.

King Federer, your throne awaits.


Quiz Question No. 7 Answer:



Quote No. 7:

"And Federer becomes only the third player to achieve this impossible feat." - Radio 5 Live