Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Don't Give Me This Roger Federer Stuff

Friday, September 02, 2005

Don't Give Me This Roger Federer Stuff

I can't believe I am hearing it. "Is Roger Federer the greatest ever?" This guy still has some work to do to overcome my record on the tennis court.

I played competitive tennis for 11 years, from junior tennis to high school through college. I then taught tennis for several years, and finally just got burned out. Completely. For over 6 years, since I graduated from Belmont in 1998, I have cared less about the sport. I haven't played, watched or even kept up with the players. But, some of that is starting to change. I am getting the itch to get back in shape and compete at a level that will make it fun again. Plus, I have been enjoying watching the US Open this year, which is refreshing for me. I love the sport and am glad to find myself getting interested again.

Back to my original problem. Federer is a great player who has great potential to be an all time great. But we are getting all too quick to announce people as "the greatest" in sports these days. Not just tennis, but all sports. The list is so ridiculously long of people who are in front of Federer that the topic should not even come up. Yet.

Having said that, I want to draw attention to two players.

1. Ivan Lendl. I remain perplexed as to how this guy never gets mentioned in tennis dialogue. EVER! Unless it is in a negative light. Not only does this guy blow past Sampras as number of career titles, but he is 2nd only to Jimmy Connors with 94 career titles. He was won 8 Grand Slam events and was #1 in the world for 157 straight weeks. That means he was #1 from 1985-1988. Again, only Jimmy Connors beats that record. The only reason he gets so much flack is because he never won Wimbledon, which is a problem, but not to the extent of what he has suffered. Plus, he just wasn't a memorable player in terms of style. But who cares? The guy was unbeatable for like 4 straight years. He is in the top 4 or 5 of all time.

2. Jimmy Connors. Since Sampras and Agassi came along (really Sampras), we have forgotten how many records Connors holds. I know Bjorg won 5 straight Wimbledon titles. I know some still hold Laver as The Greatest ever. But Connors' name always comes up when looking at records. He holds the record for the longest consecutive weeks at #1. He holds the record for the number of singles titles at 109. He was a finalist 54 times. He owns 8 grand slam victories, including 5 US Open victories. He is the #1 all time wins leader in both the US Open and Wimbledon gram slam events. Just incredible. Although Sampras may truly be the greatest ever with 14 grand slam titles, Connors gets shrugged off way too easily these days. The guy still rocks.

By the way, for you rookies out there, the picture above is Ivan Lendl, not Federer.


Anonymous rexwilder said...

Not to mention, Conners has played probably 5 or 6 of the top ten points of all time (almost all at the US Open).

September 02, 2005 2:02 PM  

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