I can only imagine what it would feel like to be the best player in the world in any sport at any given point in time. I can only dream. But for an athlete like Roger Federer to dominate Men’s tennis the way he did is absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, an athlete of his caliber who has accomplished so much will eventually face the harsh fact that he can’t always be the best and dominate the sport of tennis forever.
Federer, a professional Swiss tennis player, has dominated Men’s tennis for years and has forged his own legacy. Many thought that he would be the next Pete Sampras, one of the best tennis players to ever play the game, but perhaps he may be even better. He currently holds 67 career singles titles and the record for most career Grand Slam titles with 16 (he beat Pete Sampras’s 64 career singles titles and 14 career Grand Slam titles). In his prime, Federer held a streak as Men’s Singles World No. 1 for an incredible 285 weeks. Although this is one week shy of tying Pete Sampras’s record of 286 weeks, Federer’s dominance in all aspects of the game, no matter what type of tennis court he played on, is unparalleled.
But how can a champion like Federer deal with losing to players like Novak Djokovic (currently ATP-ranked World No. 1) that he has constantly dominated in his prime? Although Federer is currently ATP ranked No. 3, he is getting older and weaker, and is on the downturn of his career while he competes against players that are younger, stronger, and in their prime performance stage.
I’m sure Federer, as well as any other athlete, would want to be known as the best player in the world as long as possible, but at some point he will have to realize that a new generation of professional athletes will take his place just like he took the place of others. Federer isn’t performing or dominating the way he did in his prime and his body isn’t doing him any favors. The physical nature and extensive athletics involved in tennis take a big toll on his body and along with his age, prevent him from defending his titles.
It must be psychologically and mentally painful for Federer to swallow his pride and accept the fact that he will eventually have to retire from the sport. This brings me to ask this question:
If you dominated for years as the best player in the world in any sport that you fancy, how would you deal with leaving the sport? Would you leave on top as the champion, or drag your career on, suffering from dealing with the pain of losing?
Written by Brandon Lim
Edited by Sarah Gross
Image Source: independent.co.uk