Federer quietly dominating the world of tennis
By ANDREW KRUMME
February 06, 2006
All the hype right now is surrounding the Super Bowl, college basketball and the outstanding play of the NBAs Kobe Bryant, but one story has gone unnoticed: the epic saga of Roger
You might ask, Why are you writing about tennis? Well, I have a unique background in and appreciation for the sport. I played the game religiously for six years, spending
countless weekends at tennis clubs around the Ohio Valley, practicing at least three hours a day. Lets just say I did not make it in tennis, despite the pressure from my moms
side of the family, which sent seven of 12 kids to college on full-ride tennis scholarships.
Outside of boxing, I dont think there is any tougher sport in the world to compete in, much less dominate, than tennis. Tennis players top the list when it comes to people who are
overall athletes. They have the perfect combination of strength, speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, stamina and intelligence. And while nobody will ever give Federer the credit
he deserves as one of the greatest athletes on the planet, he is well on his way to becoming the greatest tennis player ever to walk the earth.
The 24-year-old Switzerland native captured his seventh Grand Slam title just over two weeks ago in the Australian Open. Number seven for Federer puts him half way to the all-time
Grand Slam record held by my childhood idol, Pete Sampras. Beginning with Federers first Grand Slam win at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, he has won seven of the last 11 slams,
rivaling Tiger Woods run of seven of 11 majors within a three-year span on the PGA Tour.
Federer will go for his eighth in May as he looks for his first French Open title, and if successful, he will hold all four major titles at the same time. That accomplishment would
put him in a league of his own as the first mens player ever to hold all four. Quite possibly the only feat to top this in all of tennis was Steffi Grafs Golden Grand Slam in
1988 when she won all four majors while also taking home the Gold Medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Federer looks like a great tennis player on paper, but you have to see him on the court to truly realize why he may go down as the all-time greatest. He is a jack of all trades. He
owns one of the most dangerous serves on the tour, has blistering ground strokes from both sides, moves like the wind and can beat people in any number of ways.
His poise is what carries him. While many of the past greats on the mens tour dominated as Federer has, none were ever so composed in doing so. McEnroe and Connors were always
known for their tempers. Sampras was easily flustered. What made Sampras great was his ability to get through those moments and still pull out a win, la his five-set epic win in
the 1996 U.S. Open Quarterfinal against Alex Corretja, where Sampras puked in the middle of the fifth set tiebreak. Andre Agassi had spurts of greatness but would disappear for
years at a time. Federer is downright as close as you can get to being a robot when he is on the court, and if all his parts stay together, there is no limit to what he can do.