Pop quiz time.
Who is the best athlete of the 21st century?
We're 12 years into the new century now, so there's a good sample size. There's been a lot of great athletes, but who's the best?
Go ahead, make your own list. I'll give you a minute.
OK, now how many names did it take you to get to Roger Federer? I'm willing to bet Federer wasn't the first name that came to mind, but he probably should've been.
With all factors considered, Federer belongs on the top of any list of this century's best athletes. Above LeBron, above Kobe, above Tom Brady, above everybody.
Quite frankly, because he has dominated tennis in a way that no one else has dominated their own sport. The problem is, no one really notices. This stems from the fact that his sport ranks pretty low when it comes to popularity in the United States, and the fact Federer in European. He doesn't get the media love from ESPN and other media outlets that LeBron, or Tiger Woods or even Jeremy Lin gets.
But if you look at what Federer has accomplished, no one can match him.
For tennis, Wimbledon is the equivalent to the Super Bowl, the Masters, the Daytona 500. You get the picture. Sunday, Federer won it for the seventh time, tying him for the most ever. His 17 Grand Slam titles are the most in history, three clear of the next closest player Pete Sampras.
He also is tied for the most Australian Open wins (four) and U.S. Open wins (five) in history. His 75 career tour titles rank fourth in tennis' open era - dating back to 1968.
Federer is head and shoulders above anyone in his era, and perhaps the best ever. Currently, you'd have to say he's on the backside of his prime, his best years behind him and yet he's back as the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
No one can match the dominance Federer has enjoyed during his run.
Federer is one of those transcendent athletes that you don't even have to like his sport to want to watch him. I'm not what one would consider a tennis fan, but I still remember being captivated watching the series of Wimbledon finals Federer had with Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick.
The only athlete I could even entertain being in the discussion with Federer is Woods, due to many of the same factors. However, I give Federer the edge when it comes to best overall athlete due primarily to the greater amount of athleticism tennis takes over golf.
Trust me, and I'm much more of a golf fan than a tennis fan, but you have to admit, you don't see many John Dalys on the tennis court.
Now, I can hear a lot of people saying that Federer could never do the things LeBron does on a basketball court, or hit a baseball like Albert Pujols. But put a racket in LeBron's hand and watch him chase down 120 mph serves. How successful do you think he'd be?
Tennis is hard. Any athlete can't just step on a tennis court and expect to be successful. It takes a special player to succeed in tennis due to the combination of athleticism and technique that the sport requires.
Back in high school me and a friend were bored one spring so we decided to go out for the tennis team despite never playing before. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Playing tennis turned out to be much harder than either of us anticipated.
Although I did think I set a record for most balls hit over the fence.
I give Federer all the credit in the world for being able to do the things he does and doing them better than anyone ever.
I'm not denying that there are a bunch of other great athletes. But when you take all things into consideration, no one can match the level of greatness that Roger Federer has reached.