When Roger Federer beat Robin Soderling in straight sets in last weekend’s French Open final, he may have cemented his place as professional tennis’ GOAT.
A much-preferred title to the awkward, horned animal is the “Greatest Of All Time.”
Sunday was Federer’s first championship on the famous red clay of Roland Garros. It completed his career Grand Slam (wins in the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open) and tied Pete Sampras’s record of 14 career major titles. That means a championship at Wimbledon would give Rog the most major titles of any professional player in history. And the Swiss star is only 27 years old.
But does this French Open victory deserve an asterisk the size of an Andy Roddick serve?
Federer won this year’s French Open without facing off against the King of Clay, Spain’s Rafael Nadal. “Rafa” was the tournament’s four-time defending champion, and he won three of those titles by defeating Federer in the finals. But this year he fell to Soderling in the fourth round, his first ever in the French Open. Nadal on clay is like the Cavs at home this past season: unbeatable. Almost.
Rafa, though, has been suffering from tendinitis in both knees for several months. It remains unclear whether or not he’ll be able to play in Wimbledon, which starts on June 22.
If his knees keep hurting, then tennis fans will miss out on the most anticipated rematch of the year. In last year’s Wimbledon final, Federer and Nadal battled for almost five hours before Rafa prevailed, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. It has been called the greatest tennis match of all time.
If Nadal can’t play, then we can expect Federer to cruise through the competition at Wimbledon. He had won five straight titles there before Nadal pulled the upset a year ago.
I’m trying to figure out how to send healing vibes to Nadal’s knees, because I really want to see that rematch. If he doesn’t get well in time, I might add a mental asterisk to Federer’s Wimbledon title, too.
I can’t argue that Rog is the G.O.A.T. for now. But for the record, a lot of the goats I’ve seen look like they have swollen knees.