As Usain Bolt bowed out of athletics with the rarest of defeats earlier this summer, a fellow all-time sporting icon was preparing for another crusade towards a Grand Slam title.
Fresh from a heroic, perfect Wimbledon victory a month or so ago, Roger Federer is eyeing glory at the US Open.
Greatness is an overused word in sport, but Federer and Bolt are two names synonymous with sporting greatness, and two men who have transcended their respective fields.
A Real Master Of The Trade
Federer’s longevity at the top of the sport has been remarkable, but it took a great leap beyond that when he dominated the fortnight of tennis obsession in west London.
He had held his own in Grand Slams in recent years but has shown incredible strength and mental ability to continue competing at the top of his sport at 35 years old - especially when you consider his previous sucess.
One thing has been a constant since Federer broke onto the Slam-winning scene at Wimbledon in 2003. When he’s at his best, he is better than anyone else – aside from the irrepressible Rafael Nadal on clay, of course.
His winning percentage in Grand Slam events sits at a heady 86% and the Swiss superstar has not lost a single Slam encounter this season, having opted to sit out of the French Open to keep himself fighting fit for Wimbledon.
Such has been the throwback in Men’s tennis this calendar year, Federer is the favourite for US Open success and his long-time rival Nadal is second in the odds. The Wimbledon and Australian Open champion is at 6/4 to make it three out of four in 2017.
Federer Is Rolling Back The Years
It is not just the victories that have cemented Federer as the favourite in New York, though. The nature of his grass court dominance was stunning. Without dropping a set, Federer capitalised on the failings of his foes and played with the control, athleticism and grace of his prime. His prime was the greatest a tennis court has ever seen.
This was not just a Wimbledon swansong, either. Federer swept through everyone at Halle a couple of weeks before and has picked up where he left off in the Rogers Cup.
All of this brings us back to the word ‘great’. Federer is more than an athlete, he plays the game with elegance, and is more genius than machine. He does, however, collect trophies with a mechanical reliability.
That combination has made Federer one of the best sportspeople of all-time.
His place far ahead of Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Andy Murray in the US Open odds is not just on reputation alone, it is a nod to the majesty of Federer and his incredible longevity.
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