9 February 2010
John McEnroe has always stopped short of proclaiming Roger Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all time, but no longer. “Roger is just the greatest player of all time,” he said today. “He is the most beautiful player I’ve ever seen and I don’t ever get tired of watching him. Rod Laver is my idol, Pete Sampras is the greatest grass court player ever, but Roger is just the greatest player of all. I think we can all appreciate how incredible he is even more lately, because he’s shown a bit more emotion on court and he’s become a father so he seems a bit more human, more relatable. That makes what he’s doing seem even more amazing.”
McEnroe was speaking ahead of his appearance at next month’s BNP Paribas Zurich Open in Federer’s native Switzerland. The event runs from 9-13 March, and there’s more about it, and more from McEnroe, at ATP Champions Tour website. McEnroe adds that, of all Federer’s astonishing records and achievements in the sport, his run of reaching 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals since Wimbledon 2003 is the most remarkable of all.
“It’s difficult to pick out one of his achievements as the best because they’re all so incredible,” said McEnroe. “But I would probably say the 23 semis or better in a row is the best record of them all. There’s probably not another player in the top 20 who’s even played 23 straight majors (Grand Slam tournaments) in a row. Then throw in the fact that he got to 18 out of 19 finals and that he’s averaging two Grand Slam titles a year, it’s just phenomenally consistent. It’s amazing.”
In other, ahem, stunning tennis news today, Ana Ivanovic may be struggling for results on the court, but she is still attracting plenty of attention. The 22-year-old Serb, who won the 2008 French Open, features in the Sports Illustrated 2010 Swimsuit issue. She says: “It was a very rewarding experience: fun and challenging at the same time. Obviously a publication like this is run by people who are leaders in their fields and I found it very interesting and enjoyable to work with them.”