Roger Federer is the James Bond of tennis, says Henri Leconte
- Roger Federer is tennis' equivalent of the fictional movie spy James Bond, according to Henri Leconte.
- Federer was lauded by the 1988 Roland Garros finalist for his ability to conjure 'extraordinary' achievements.
1988 Roland Garros finalist Henri Leconte told L'Equipe that 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is the 'James Bond' of tennis.
Leconte likened Federer's borderline superhuman abilities to those of the world-famous spy, saying that the Swiss could pull off feats that nobody expected him to. The Frenchman in particular highlighted Roger Federer's Australian Open in 2017, where he returned from a six-month layoff to beat Rafael Nadal in a five-set final.
"For Roger, this was James Bond like," Leconte said. "I call him James Bond because he is capable of doing something extraordinary. We didn't expect him to win the Australian Open at his age at all. I want him to make history again and to win another Grand Slam. "
RG 2009 took Roger Federer's career to another level: Leconte
According to Leconte, one of the most key moments in Roger Federer's career was his Roland Garros triumph in 2009. The claycourt Major was the only Slam missing in Federer's trophy cabinet at that time, and many had believed he would never be able to tick that box given Nadal's stranglehold over the tournament.
But Federer did manage to grab the trophy, helped in some part by Nadal's early loss to Robin Soderling. Winning Roland Garros was an extraordinary achievement that took Federer to another dimension, Leconte claimed. The win helped the Swiss genius pull clear of other greats like Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe who never managed to win Roland Garros.
"The fact that he won Roland Garros made him an exceptional player because it was the only (Major) tournament he lacked. For him it was very important. Players like McEnroe or Connors never won Roland-Garros. It took him to another dimension," Leconte said.
Federer. Roger Federer. The man needs no introduction
Roger Federer is one of the most decorated players in the history of tennis, and is also stylish enough to rival the suave persona of Ian Fleming's character. The Swiss' tally of 20 Grand Slam and six season-ending ATP Finals are the most by any player in the history of the Open Era, and last year he was also voted by GQ as the 'most stylish man of the decade'.
During a 22-year professional career, Federer has been the epitome of sustained excellence and longevity. The 38-year-old Federer became the first player in the sport's history to win tour-level matches in four different decades with his first-round win over Steve Johnson in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Following his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Dubai final in 2019, Roger Federer became the only active player and the second overall to rack up 100 singles titles.
A few months later, on his favourite surface - grass - Federer beat David Goffin in Halle to become the first player to win 10 titles on the surface. The Swiss, however, narrowly failed to become the oldest player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title when he failed to convert multiple championship points on serve in an epic 2019 Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
Far from being disheartened at his incredible near miss at his favorite stop on tour, the 38-year-old Federer became the first player to win 10 titles at a hardcourt tournament when he lifted the title in Basel. In the process, the Swiss emulated Rafael Nadal as the only players to win 10 or more titles at multiple tournaments.
Roger Federer now stands just six titles shy of Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 109 titles. The Swiss legend would look to become the first player in history to win an ATP title in 19 different seasons when the ATP Tour resumes after the ongoing COVID-19-enforced suspension.