A fan's perspective: Why is Roger Federer the G.O.A.T?
In a conversation on the day of the Australian Open final, I asked my grandfather about who he thinks was the greatest player to have stepped on the court. "Rod Laver," he said as he sipped his evening tea. With a puzzling look on my face, I asked, "Why?" With a delighting smile, he ended my curiosity through a lucid explanation, "11 grand slams, wonderful technique and temperament as never witnessed before".
My father was listening to the conversation from a distance. "Boris Becker," he said. "The youngest player to win the Wimbledon at the age of 17. 1985 belonged to the man," he added with a glance at the television.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts," the famous quote promptly filled my mind with an eagerness to watch the greatest of all time.
Roger Federer was in readiness to battle Marin Cilic in what was expected to be an intense encounter. My heart pounded as the defending champion stepped on the court. This was the first time where the 'mighty Federer looked assailable in a Grand Slam final'. After a hard-fought battle, Cilic's resistance ended in a disappointing fashion.
The elation on my face spoke for itself. "Roger Federer, 20 grand slams, longest to hold the number one spot for 302 weeks, 237 consecutive weeks as the world number one, four grand slams on four different surfaces, Olympic gold medalist, fastest to win 9,10,11,12,13,14 and 15 grand slams," I exclaimed with exuberance.
In the presentation ceremony, an unrecognized man walks to the stage as the presenter introduces Rod Laver. “He’s stood the test of time — that’s probably the one thing that puts you in that category of the best ever. That’s one of the things that he has done. He loves the game, and everything he does around his life is somewhere related to all the great". Laver's statements ended our generation debate of the G.O.A.T.
Even at the age of 36, the Swiss Maestro can serve with perfection, play long rallies without being tired, produce masterful shots and eminently entertain the fans with his sheer brilliance on and off the court. A few months from now the legend will call it a day and the admiration will turn into exaltation for a remarkable career that brought together generations.
"I can't stay No. 1 for fifty years, you know. We'll see what happens": Roger Federer.