Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK – Naming the top player of all-time in a sport can prove difficult. Some baseball fans pick The Babe, others prefer the Say Hey Kid.
But right now in tennis, it’s hard to argue.
Roger Federer regained the world’s No. 1 ranking a week after winning his record-tying seventh Wimbledon and surpassed Pete Sampras for the record of most weeks spent ranked No. 1, with 287.
Federer had fallen to No. 3 in the world behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal before beating both No. 1 Djokovic and No. 4 Andy Murray to win Wimbledon, his first Major victory since the 2010 Australian Open and his 17th overall.
Hall-of-famer Andre Agassi spent 101 weeks at No. 1, constantly trying to improve, and struggling to keep his focus from the rearview mirror.
“When you are No. 2 or 3 you have a barometer,” Agassi said before he defeated John McEnroe in a World Team Tennis match between the Boston Lobsters and the New York Sportimes. “There is a tangible objective, and you know what you have to accomplish. But when you are No. 1, you just have to keep getting better with nobody setting that bar.”
McEnroe spent 170 weeks atop the ATP rankings, good for fifth all-time, but he does not consider himself near Federer.
“You had Tiger [Woods] for a while, and Roger and I can’t think of anybody else who has been that amazing,” McEnroe said.
Federer’s comeback is even more impressive considering he’s 30 and has twin daughters.
“If Roger wanted to play at 35 or 40 years old, ranked 100 in the world, the guy deserves it,” Agassi said. “If he wants to quit now he has earned that.
“I am out of the business of predicting what he is capable of. He does not surprise me anymore, but he continually impresses me.”
Pete Barrett is a sophomore at Gettysburg College, you can follow him on Twitter.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.