Is Roger Federer the greatest player of all time?
It’s a timeless tennis debate and whether you think the Swiss, who is celebrating his 36th birthday on Tuesday, is or not – the numbers certainly stack up in Federer’s favour.
In 2017, the Fed Express has belied his years by winning two Grand Slam trophies – the Australian Open and Wimbledon – taking his major haul to a record 19.
That number puts him four ahead of rival Rafa Nadal (15) and seven in front of Novak Djokovic (12).
In the video below, six-time slam winner Boris Becker and former British no1 Tim Henman pay their tributes to a man they know well, while Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou also discusses the eight-time SW19 champion.
Federer is competing in the Rogers Cup in Montreal this week.
They say nice guys finish last but not in Marin Cilic’s book.
The 2014 US Open champion is one of just three men – alongside Juan Martin del Potro and Stan Wawrinka – who have managed to break through the ‘Big Four’s’ stranglehold on titles in the last 49 Grand Slam tournaments.
Cilic, who is looking to claim a second major trophy on Sunday when he faces Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, is often told he’s too nice for the cut-throat world of professional individual sport. The soft-spoken Croatian has been working with his coach Jonas Bjorkman on being more intimidating on the court during matches.
Does the 28-year-old find himself mean enough now to overcome Federer?
“I’m still a nice guy on the court, too, I believe. You should ask players around,” said Cilic with a smile.
“For me, obviously people are asking always, Do you need to be more arrogant? Do you need to be more angry on the court, to be more selfish or stuff like that, to be able to win more constantly?
“For me, I wouldn’t agree. There is not one formula for that. I feel obviously that emotions are very important on the court, especially in my own case where I am from a quiet nature. I try to, with Jonas, with my team, lift that up, lift that spirit up. I believe that’s helping me to play a little bit freer.”
Cilic is knocking on the door of history once again, as he attempts to become just the second Croatian player – man or woman – to win a Wimbledon singles trophy. He has shown incredible mental toughness during his matches en route to the final – something he says he is most proud of this fortnight – and will be looking to claim just a second career win over Federer in eight meetings against one another.
How much would this title mean to Cilic?
“It would mean absolutely a world to me. I feel that when I won the US Open in ’14, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one,” he explained.
“It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.”
Novak Djokovic admits a long break is on the cards after an elbow injury forced him to retire from his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych.
Djokovic's miserable 12 months hit a fresh low on Wednesday when a right elbow problem curtailed his bid to win Wimbledon for a fourth time.
The 30-year-old Serb was trailing 7-6 (2), 2-0 and felt he had no option but to call it quits as the pain, from an injury that has troubled him for more than a year, began to increase.
"There is a possibility that they will propose surgery, but I don't think that is good," Djokovic told Serbian media. "To go be cut in surgery or to poison myself with pills.... none of the solutions is good. A logical conclusion is that a kind of a rest and a longer break is a logical solution. Maybe a longer rest is necessary, not only because of the injury but for my mind as well.
"During my entire career I have followed a school schedule, I have never been reprimanded, maybe I will skip the next semester."