Is Federer Now the Greatest Player Ever?

With 14 Slams, Swiss tennis star enters the pantheon
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2009 6:03 AM CDT
Is Federer Now the Greatest Player Ever?
Roger Federer kisses his trophy after defeating Robin Soderling in their men's singles final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday June 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Roger Federer has tied Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slams after his decisive victory yesterday at the French Open—a title that Sampras himself never won. And as soon as the Swiss player lifted the cup on the red clay of Roland Garros, the arguments began: Is Federer now officially the greatest tennis player of all time? As Donald Robson writes for USA Today, the question's difficult to answer.

In the modern era only Andre Agassi has won all four tournaments, and Federer needed "an astonishingly short" 7 years to win 14 Grand Slam trophies. But earlier greats like Rod Laver have a claim to the title, and Sampras himself held the No. 1 spot for six years straight despite competition arguably tougher than Federer has faced. Best ever or not, "This much is certain: there can no longer be any shortlists of greats without Federer's name attached." (Read more Roger Federer stories.)

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