Roger Federer has now reached 11 consecutive grand slam semifinals and 7 finals. His record in finals is 10-1, better than any other “great” (I’m sure plenty of people have won each of the finals they played in though). This is the second time in two years that he’s won 3 slams in a row and he is the first man to win 3 slams 3 times each.
Some journalists have started to speak of him as the greatest ever rather than the greatest talent (though this is surely based on the expectation of future success). If he never wins another slam, that talk will surely fade away. Some commentators suggest that he will have to win the French open before he can count as one of (!?) the all time greats, though I take them to mean plausibly the greatest ever. I find this odd because Borg is considered by the many of the same people as the greatest ever despite never winning the US open (he was in the final 4 times).
When Federer wins his 11th slam I think there should be a debate about the criteria for tennising greatness. Laver fans will stress the two grand slams which they know are probably safe for a long time to come. Borg fans will emphasize the rivalry from other greats like Connors and McEnroe, his early retirement and dominance on grass as well as clay. There will be a few Sampras people who maintain that the all time slam total is the most important thing. Federer fans will probably emphasize how fast he won his slams.
I’ll blog about sporting greatness again soon.