Roger Federer last evening clinched a birth in the Australian Open semifinals. He did not play his best tennis, but woke up when he needed to and took care of the very talented Nikolay Davydenko. Federer was the only player ranked in the top 4 to take care of business and stay alive. Djokovic and Nadal both were unsuccessful in their quests to make it to the semis of the first Grand Slam of the year.
But isn’t consistency Roger’s middle name? The man has made 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals! Now take that in for a minute. That means that Federer has not been knocked out of a Grand Slam tourney before the semifinals for 6 years. No wonder he holds the all time record with 15 Grand Slam titles.
So is the number 23 synonymous with greatness. Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan sported the number 23. Arguably, the best basketball player on the planet now sports the number 23, Lebron James.
I would go as far to say though that Federer’s accomplishment of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals is a greater feat than Jordan’s 6 NBA titles or unfathomable 7 consecutive scoring titles. Now many would be confused and not understand how I would come to this sentiment. The semifinals is not a title people would say. Jordan played a team sport and Federer plays an individual sports. Look at men’s tennis over the years. How many guys can you think of that made 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals?
In the NBA, guys like Bill Russell won 11 titles, John Havlicek won 8, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar among others won 6. Even Robert Horry, the consummate clutch role player won 6. In addition, Jordan’s remarkable feat of 7 straight scoring titles was also accomplished by Wilt Chamberlein. Nobody has ever gone to 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals. Nobody has even come close to 23. Rod Laver advanced to 12 straight at a time which was the previous record. And since this is not a team sport, Federer earned it all 100 percent by himself.
So I have multiple questions for you today. Is the number 23 synonymous with greatness and is Federer’s feat more remarkable than Jordan’s 6 NBA team titles or 7 consecutive scoring titles? Lastly, is Federer’s feat of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals perhaps the greatest accomplishment in professional sports?
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.