Although the Swiss Master would probably be the first to admit that the decorated star’s days were already behind him when Pete Sampras was beaten by him in 2001, effectively seeing-off that era in that manner probably made for just the confidence-boost Roger Federer needed to officially ignite his career. It was only a matter of time before he would go on to win his first Grand Slam, going on to be the first man to notch-up 20 major titles, following that 2003 triumph. But why is Roger Federer the greatest of all time?
The short version of the answer is simply that the Swiss Master is holds the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles, but if it was left to that, the true tennis and sports fan would be as disappointed as they likely were when injured Rafael Nadal pulled out of yet another epic showdown lined up with Federer, earlier this year in the BNP Paribas Open. Few would argue with the claim that Roger Federer has come to embody the sport of tennis, in a way that has earned him mention among the best athletes of the 21st century, but what makes Roger Federer the greatest of all time comes down to five facts.
1. Why is Roger Federer the greatest of all time?
The answer is in the question. The mere existence of this question is precisely what makes the Swiss Master the greatest of all time, because it’s a matter of asking “Why?” as opposed to asking if he is the greatest of all time.
2. Lucrative sponsorship deals on his own terms
Looking beyond the green grass of the Wimbledon courts and other playing surfaces on which he made his name, one would have thought that Roger Federer would follow the footsteps of the likes of basketball great, Michael Jordan, as far as the trajectory of his relationship with his Nike sponsorship deal goes. We might have seen a sporting-great legacy line of Nike sports gear featuring the RF logo and perhaps spinning-off to stand on its own, in the same way that Michael Jordan has his Jordan brand, but Roger Federer dropped Nike and partnered up with a Japanese clothing company, Uniqlo in mega endorsement deal.
There are many suggested reasons as to why Roger Federer left Nike, but going on what he can be quoted as saying in response to one of many versions of this question, money definitely had a lot to do with it. “We know I’m at the back end of my career, not at the beginning,” the ace said at the Park Hyatt conference held to address the development, and as fans of the game and fans of the decorated star, we’ve learned to read between the lines in any exchange between the Master and the press.
To sign a lucrative 10-year contract to the tune of $300 million, at the ripe old age of 36 years, certainly makes for a smart retirement-deal type move, especially given the consideration of the reports that Nike had been afforded the opportunity to match the contract, but chose to decline. Being able to land a lucrative deal with a comparatively up-and-coming sponsor, while wearing the shoes of the previous sponsor, definitely makes for switching between lucrative sponsorship deals on his own terms.
Money wasn’t the sole motivation though, because with Uniqlo, Federer gets to be part of the design process of the apparel production.
For those who don’t know by now, GOAT simply stands for Greatest of All Time, but why is Roger Federer called Goat?
With Roger Federer, it’s not just about him as an individual tennis star, but about the entire game of tennis. Tennis is better because of Roger Federer and in addition to leading the pack as far as Grand Slams go (20), his 20th came at the age of 36 years in 2018 (Aussie Open). This was quite some time after he’d already previously been written-off as a spent force on more than one occasion, like when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2016 semi-final of the Australian Open.
In 2010 he was already being touted as the GOAT, back when he was on 15 Grand Slam titles!
4. Big buddies with a fellow great? – Are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal friends?
In his own words, Roger Federer has confirmed that they’re “good friends off the court,” citing their enjoyment of each other’s company as something which is common knowledge among all fans of the game and of the duo in their individual capacities.
5. Money matters – what is Roger Federer’s net worth?
Roger Federer’s net worth would have naturally been much higher were it not for his efforts in giving back to the sport that made him who he is and to the community at large, with 28.8 million having been invested by the Roger Federer Foundation in educational programs (Africa and Switzerland). His prize money tally comes up to $124,293,122 to date, with his endorsement earnings contributing to make his current net worth of $450 million.