Federer: Top four the best ever? That’s a difficult call


Originally published on: 28/08/12 00:00

As he prepared for the year’s final Grand Slam event at the US Open, the world No 1 suggested that there have been times in the past when competition at the top has been just as tough as it is today.

While Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated in recent years, the 31-year-old Swiss points to other eras where he believes the quality of the leading men has been just as high.

“You look back maybe 15 years, then you have Sampras, Edberg, Becker and Agassi, I don't know who else,” Federer said.  “Those guys weren't good or what?  Do you know what I mean?  You look further back, 20 years, and you have the Connors and the Lendls.  Those weren't good either?  I mean, I don't know.  So for me I think that's respectful.

“It's just different times. [Players today are] definitely more athletic, there's no doubt about that.  But then again we don't play doubles.  We don't play mixed.  Maybe we play less matches today because it's more taxing, but we do play less best_ѥof_ѥfive set tennis than they used to play.

“You can't compare really, but we have somewhat of a golden era right now.  I feel that truly.  It's nice to see Andy making his move at the Olympics, nice to see Novak having an absolutely ridiculous year last year, and then Rafa and myself still being around. It's definitely good times.  Past that you still have great champions as well.  It's very interesting at the top right now, and the depth I think has never been greater than right now.  There's no doubt about that. But the best ever?  The four of us?  That's a really difficult call.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.