Federer has had a tough year in 2011 and must be tiring of the questions about him turning 30, the grand slam drought and the inevitability of retirement.
Fortunately, regardless of what he does from now on he can rest comfortably in the warm glow of the greatest collection of trophies ever amassed by a man.
More importantly, he has the adoration of fans and players everywhere who appreciate the many indelible memories he's helped create.
Records have been broken and set along the way, too. Many, many records, and each more jaw-dropping than the next. As Federer continues his latest quest at the US Open, let's take a look at a power ranking of his greatest records.
When Pete Sampras broke Roy Emerson's record in 2000 at Wimbledon and then added the surprise sentimental victory at the US Open in 2002, you had to imagine that he felt pretty secure in his record. Maybe it wasn't untouchable, but it should stand for a while, right?
Federer began to chase Sampras' record less than a year later, with his maiden slam victory at Wimbledon in 2003. Six years later, he finally broke Sampras' record at Wimbledon in 2009. He added the Australian Open the following year, but is still searching for ways to add to his total.
Rafa is still pacing ahead of Roger on this mark.
Federer won his 10th when he was about 25 years and six months old. Nadal just won his tenth this year, when he had just turned 25.
Assuming Nadal's pattern of clay and grass dominance continues, relative to his lesser achievement on hard courts, he would need about four seasons to get to 17 total. He might just do it, but it will be tough with Djokovic, Murray and others standing in the way.
Plus, Roger Federer still has a couple seasons in him and might just make his number even harder to reach.
You could cite several Federer records related to Grand Slam finals.
He won the first seven in which he played, spread across 13 tournaments. He has participated in an astonishing 23 total, topping Lendl's record of 19.
Starting at Wimbledon 2005, he reached ten straight finals through the 2007 US Open, and 18 of 19 until the 2010 Australian Open 2010. That's right: Roger had a streak of ten, and a streak of eight. The next best? Lendl again, with four.
All of these are numbers that could stand forever, but the greatest might be that he has reached five or more finals at every Grand Slam at a time when they are played on hard courts, grass and clay. It's a testament to Federer's all court game and astonishing consistency.
Nadal won five of the first seven finals in which he played, and needed 19 slam appearances to nab those seven trophies. He reached three consecutive finals last year and has been in five of the last six. He would need to appear in 13 more consecutive finals to match Federer's numbers.
Nadal would also need to reach the finals in three more Wimbledons, four more US Opens and four more Australian Opens to achieve the all-court mastery of Federer.
This is already a record among all tennis players, and it is only growing.
As long as Federer stays within the top eight seeds in the grand slams, which could happen for another three seasons if not more, then he is almost a lock for the quarterfinals. It's hard to topple any of the top seeds before the quarterfinals, and with Federer it seems doubly difficult.
Has he had tricky early round matches? Of course.
In some he has come dangerously close to bowing out in week one. But it doesn't happen, and Federer finds a way to elevate his play enough to get through to the quarterfinals or better.
Others have been consistent, but no one comes close. On the men's side, Lendl is second best with 14. Some of the woman greats have streaks, but they include absences from some of the grand slams.
The number 29 is not simply consecutive quarterfinals played by Federer, either. These are every quarterfinal in every grand slam played, stretching all the way back to Wimbledon 2004. Amidst the always-changing game of tennis, Federer has been the constant for seven years.
Since the 2009 US Open, Nadal has played in eight consecutive quarterfinals. As with Federer, it is possible that he could string together another five years or more of quarterfinals. It's possible, but consider the remarkable streak of excellent fitness and lack of injury that he would have to enjoy.
The same could be said of Djokovic, who has nine consecutive quarterfinals and is a year younger than Nadal.
No. 1 rankings are funny things sometimes, especially as we watch women reach the top without a grand slam title. It has happened among the men at times, too. Still, we use it as an important measure of who is the best, and by that measure Roger Federer had the greatest unbroken streak of brilliance in tennis history:
237 weeks at no. 1.
More than four and a half years as king of the mountain.
Federer might have missed out on the consecutive year end no. 1 mark, and Sampras also clipped him on the total weeks at no. 1 by a single week: 286 to 285.
Attaining so many weeks consecutively, however, means that a player was not just great but consistently great. Any lows were offset by steadiness and, more often than not, by highs. The rankings system requires a player to defend points, meaning that Federer was always highly susceptible to losing his top spot.
A couple bad weeks at the wrong time of year, and he would have slipped.
It didn't happen.
The high water mark on the women's side is held by Steffi Graf, who had 186 consecutive weeks at no. 1. It's a difference of nearly a full year. Second place on the men's side is held by Jimmy Connors, with 160 weeks.
Rafa was no. 1 for a total of 102 weeks, losing the top spot this summer to Novak Djokovic. Nadal's longest streak was only 56 weeks.
If he were to catch the top four men in terms of total weeks, he would need to regain no. 1 and then hold it for more than three and a half years.
In the Open Era, we've become accustomed to streaks on the lawns of Wimbledon and the terre battue of Roland Garros, but hard courts are another story.
There is no strategy that marries naturally to a hard court. It's the great equalizer in tennis. If you want to watch a tussle between a serve-volleyer and a baseliner, you choose a hard court as your battleground.
You have to be great at everything and have impeccable fitness and movement to hope for hard court dominance. Federer had it all in spades. He won 41 straight matches at the US Open and five consecutive titles.
Chris Evert won four in a row on the women's side. On the men's side, some have equaled Federer's total but could never manage more than three in a row.
There were other great hard court players in Federer's time, too. Roddick, Hewitt and Safin had all been champions in New York. Nalbandian and Davydenko were strong on hard courts, and Nadal and Djokovic had made breakthroughs on the surface early in their careers.
Federer kept them all at bay for five years. It's hard to imagine anyone equaling that achievement, much less breaking it.
It's unfair to compare the two men on a surface that was Nadal's weakest, at least by Nadal's lofty standards. So consider that the King of Clay won only four consecutive Roland Garros titles. Federer not only managed five US Open titles in a row, but had five Wimbledons in a row too.
Most of Federer's records are the best among men, but are trumped by the records of women like Navratilova, Evert and Graf. Wherever you stand on arguments about comparison across gender, it still robs a few of Federer's records of a little of their luster.
But his semifinals record? As with the last three records on our list, this too is a record that stands alone amongst all tennis players.
From Wimbledon 2004 through Australia 2010, Federer was always there on the final weekend. Always. It's hard to imagine a semifinal being taken for granted, but Federer made us think of it as almost ordinary.
The comparables? Navratilova had 19. Graf had 15.
The next best on the men's side? A mere 10, held by Lendl.
So why does it grab the number one spot? Because it's the record most likely to stand the test of time.
Think about how consistently healthy, injury free, and simply great you have to be to attain such a streak. Think about the number 23, and that it equates to nearly six years of dominance.
Think about all the amazing players who are simply not close to touching Federer, and imagine the type of player who would have to come along to stand a chance of nabbing this record.
Nadal had five semifinals in a row, from 2008 Australia through 2009 Australia. He currently has a run of just two semifinals.
To top Federer, he would need to reach the semifinals or better in the next 22 grand slams. In other words, every grand slam until he's nearly 31. Possible? Of course. Everything is, in theory.
But it's as close to impossible as you'll get.