Tiafoe: 'Greatest of all time' Federer is the Michael Jordan of tennis

By Sports Desk December 19, 2022

Roger Federer is the greatest of all time and tennis' equivalent of NBA legend Michael Jordan, according to Frances Tiafoe.

Federer retired in September of this year after one of the most successful careers in tennis history, having won his first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2003.

Playing in one of male tennis' most competitive eras ever alongside Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Federer went on to win 20 grand slam titles before calling it quits at the age of 41.

Tiafoe, ranked 19th in the world, is a big NBA fan and found a basketball parallel for Federer in the form of Jordan, who won six NBA championships in the 1990s as well as five MVP awards.

Asked which NBA player he would compare Federer with, Tiafoe told The Old man and the Three Podcast: "I would say MJ.

"You think of MJ and you think that brother was crazy and you think of Federer...everything they did, you're just in awe every time you watched them."

Questioned on whether the Jordan comparison meant he viewed Federer as the greatest tennis player ever, Tiafoe replied: "Oh absolutely. Even though Rafa [Nadal] has more grand slams."

Federer once held the record for most grand slams among male players, but he has now been surpassed by both Djokovic and Nadal, the latter of whom leads the way with 22 titles.

Tiafoe overcame Nadal in the fourth round of the US Open this year and compared the Spaniard's mentality to that of the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"I would give Giannis, just from how he approaches the game and the effort he brings every night," added Tiafoe.

"Just because Giannis is coming to kill you every night. He's going to kill you and Rafa has that attitude too.

"Super nice guy, but as soon we get out there you can just feel that aura and it's the same with Giannis."

Djokovic's chase of Nadal at the top of the grand slam leaderboard was hindered in 2022 by his vaccination status, which prevented him playing at the Australian Open or the US Open, the former of which was won by the Mallorcan.

Djokovic did however collect a seventh Wimbledon crown, and will be able to resume hunting down Nadal at the upcoming Australian Open in January having been granted a visa.

Tiafoe compared the 35-year-old to Denver Nuggets star and fellow Serbian Nikola Jokic, who is the reigning NBA MVP having won the prestigious award two seasons running.

"You're watching him [Jokic] play and you just like how but also you're just in awe of his greatness," Tiafoe added. "Like what can't this guy do on a basketball court?

"This guy [is] a freak. It doesn't look your most traditional way or how you want it to look or whatever.

"Same with Novak. It's not like the prettiest game ever but these guys just get it done."

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