Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sports Illustrated Figures Out That It Was Premature to Crown Federer

On June 9, 2008, I wrote a post titled Fantastic Four: Nadal Matches Borg's French Open Streak that contained this declaration (emphasis added): "For quite some time, people have been trying to anoint Federer as the greatest tennis player of all-time but despite his impressive accomplishments it makes no sense to confer that title on him when it is not even certain that he will be considered the best player of the current era: his main rival Nadal owns an 11-6 head to head record against him and has come much closer to beating him on the grass at Wimbledon than Federer has come to defeating him on the clay at the French Open. Considering that Nadal is almost five years younger than Federer it is entirely possible that he will eclipse what Federer has done; after all, five years ago Federer had just won his first Grand Slam, while Nadal already owns four Grand Slam titles, beating Federer along the way each time."

For years, SI has blithely declared that Federer is the greatest tennis player of all-time, ignoring the mounting evidence to the contrary that I cited in the above post (and in several other posts at this site, dating all the way back to a July 1, 2007 post that asserted that Bjorn Borg should still be considered to be a greater all-around player than Federer).

Now, though, SI has apparently seen the light; in an article titled The Takedown that appears in the May 18, 2009 issue of SI, S.L. Price asks rhetorically, "How can Federer be deemed the best ever when he might not be the best of his own era?"

That is an excellent question and apparently my writing would be more popular in the "mainstream" if I only had the decency to wait to make such rhetorical queries until the rest of the world can figure out that they are valid. Alas, there is little reward for foresight, as Cassandra ruefully discovered many centuries ago.