Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is Roger Federer The Most Dominant Athelete You've Ever Seen?

It's almost 2:00am and I'm watching the world's number 1 tennis player Roger Federer surgically dissect Andy Roddick. Roddick is allegedly at the top of his game since Jimmy Connors started coaching him, but I can hardly tell.

It's not even close. It's 6-4, 6-0 and Federer is already up a game and a break in the 3rd set. That's 11 straight games. He isn't playing Roddick, he's dismissing him effortlessly.

There have been a few dominant athletes I've seen through the years that have really left an imprint on me. I remember staying up late on the East Coast watching Joe Montana on Monday Night Football. I remember watching Jordan rewrite physics time and time again. But to me, Federer's achievements are--somehow--even more amazing.

Federer's achievement is singular because tennis is obviously not a team sport. Statistically his game is off the charts. He can turn defense into offense with ease. He has not only mastered almost every part of the game as traditionally imagined, but also found a way to create a new tennis vocabulary. He isn't just dominating the game, he is altering the trajectory of the game itself.

I'm in awe.


A.H. Rajani said...

Federer's response after the game: "This was definitely one of my best matches I ever played."

"I had one of these days when everything just worked, I was unbeatable. It's just unreal. I was playing out of my mind. I am shocked myself."

Bill Business said...

Federer's dominance of tennis appears to be unparalled. The only person you can really compare to him is Tiger Woods since they both play in individual sports and dominate. Any time either plays, you expect them to win, and not just that, you expect them to destroy the competition.

Of course the major difference is that Federer is playing against 1 player a time, whereas Tiger is playing a field and the golf course (though you could say Federer plays the court, especially clay). I'd be hard pressed to take Tiger over Federer though, only because outside the French, I've never seen him lose. Then again, Tiger has won everything, and when he wins, the field wilts below him. Either way, it's a great time to be a fan of tennis and golf to witness history.

Mad.J.D. said...

Alas, Federer's problem--and the reason he will probably not go down in history as the greatest ever--is his lack of competition. It's crucial, especially for an individual athlete, to have a rival pushing them to the limit. E.g., Muhammad Ali is not MUHAMMAD ALI without Joe Frazier. Cf. Lennox Lewis, who basically defeated all comers without breaking a sweat, is nobody's idea of one of the greatest heavyweights because of the stiffs he was fighting. You could say the same thing about Tiger, but he is at least occasionally challenged by top-notch athletes. It makes a huge difference in an athlete's legacy. Who is on Federer's resume? The chief competition of his generation is Andy Roddick? That's just sad! It's too bad he doesn't have a Borg-McEnroe situation to really cement his legacy.

I'm not saying Federer isn't the best, just that he can't be the GREATEST with the state of tennis being what it is. That said, sure, maybe he is the most dominant. But it means little considering who he is dominating.

Louise107 said...

To mad.j.d.: The fact that Federer is unrivaled all the more makes him the greatest. Really, when you're breaking records and beating the best players in the world so that the only person who can actually beat you is yourself, you are no doubt the greatest.

Chris said...

I don't think Federer's dominance diminishes his athletic achievement, but it clearly does hurt his stature as a sports legend. Say what you want, Federer is no Ali.

That said, it seems to me that Muhammad Ali is MUHAMMAD ALI for reasons only loosely connected to his boxing skills. Ali needed somebody like Frazier, but any stooge would have done. As I understand it, Ali invented the viciousness to that rivalry.

Federer will never be FEDERER because of his demeanor, the irrelevance of his sport, and the fact that he's not American. That he has no competition, of course, also hurts his legendary status.

But, clearly, as a competitor, Federer is largely unparalleled. Willie was right: I've come to expect destruction.

Anonymous said...

FEDERER looks like a young Quentin TARANTINO