With a record 18 Grand Slam singles titles and having spent a total of 302 weeks at world number one throughout his career, there is little doubt that Roger Federer is the greatest player to ever grace a tennis court.
Now, aged 35, his recent resurgence has further strengthened his grip on that mantle.
In returning from injury to break the period of domination exercised by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, he has reignited tennis for the neutral, in a show of longevity that has shocked the tennis world.
Six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker, working in his capacity as an ambassador for Party Poker, spoke to Omnisport on the scale of Federer’s achievements.
“If you would have asked him would he be winning the Australian Open, Miami, and Indian Wells Masters, he probably would have laughed, but Roger Federer is the all-time greatest,” said the German former world number one.
Crucially, however, Becker’s highly qualified praise does not stop there.
He believes that in light of recent events, it is no longer acceptable to frame the Swiss’ achievements within the tennis world alone.
“We shouldn’t be surprised by anything Roger does. At 35 years of age, he is one of the greatest sportsmen of all-time in the league of [Muhammad] Ali, [Michael] Jordan and Pele.”
Indeed, these three household names share many traits with Federer, among which was their durability and burning desire to be successful.
Perhaps most significantly, however, each of these athletes were great champions on and off the field of play, conducting themselves with the utmost dignity.
Federer fits firmly into this category, with his glorious one-handed backhand carrying as much class as his post-match interviews, win or lose.
While the 35-year-old has opted to take a break from the ATP Tour in the build-up to the French Open, he remains one of the favourites for success should he take his place in the draw in May.
When asked for his Roland Garros prediction, Mr. Becker said: “You should not overlook Novak Djokovic, he’s the defending champion and you should never overlook the defending champion.
“But Rafael Nadal has had a wonderful season. Finals in Melbourne and Miami and clay is his favourite surface and he’s a nine-time French Open winner so [his chances are] pretty good.”
Do you think Roger Federer can be placed in the same bracket as Muhammad Ali, Pele and Michael Jordan? Have your say in the comments section!