No other player more complete than Federer

Is Federer the most complete player ever?

  • Yes

    Votes: 43 74.1%
  • No, Djokovic is

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • No, Nadal is

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • No, Sureshs is

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • No, Laver is

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • No, Sampras is

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • No, McEnroe is

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, Borg is

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • No, Stepanek is

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • Mury GOAT

    Votes: 3 5.2%

  • Total voters
    58

JackGates

Legend
Now with his neo-backhand there isn't even a debate.

Even before, it was tough to argue. You don't make 18 out of 19 consecutive GS finals unless you have the most complete game.

I doubt Fed in good form ever gets blown of the court by Murray or Wawrinka. They just exposed Nole's weaknesses. Nole also does poorly on faster courts like Cincy and Nole can have problems with big servers.

Sure, Nole doesn't have obvious weaknesses, but he also doesn't have obvious strengths either. That is also a weakness. Fed has goat slice, goat footwork, anticipation, almost goat serve for his height, his goat slice and goat forehand.

Why can't Djokovic win with less effort if he is more complete? Having those 50 second service games. Or hitting more winners?

There isn't a surface where Fed isn't good.

But, Djokovic is very complete, don't get me wrong, just not as Federer.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I can't rank them, so I'll just say that I think in the Open Era, Borg, Laver, and Federer are the most complete players. I would probably put Laver on top because he dominated on all surfaces... whereas Borg and Federer have had challenges on a particular surface against specialists (Borg on HC, Federer on clay). Whereas Laver seemed able to beat even his specialist rivals.
 

K-H

Hall of Fame
When I think of most complete. I think of a player who has no weaknesses that can be exploited. And one that can play every shot to a high enough standard. There was an argument between Djokovic and Federer before because Federers BH was a big weakness especially against Djokovic and Nadal and did get exploited. And even though Djokovic isn’t the best at net, it hasn’t held him back that much(apart from RG 2013 ofc). So there was an argument between them before.

But now it’s not debatable for me. Federer takes it hands down. Most complete and most versatile.
 

TheMaestro1990

Hall of Fame
When I think of most complete. I think of a player who has no weaknesses that can be exploited. And one that can play every shot to a high enough standard. There was an argument between Djokovic and Federer before because Federers BH was a big weakness especially against Djokovic and Nadal and did get exploited. And even though Djokovic isn’t the best at net, it hasn’t held him back that much(apart from RG 2013 ofc). So there was an argument between them before.

But now it’s not debatable for me. Federer takes it hands down. Most complete and most versatile.
I understand that Djokovic doesn't need to go to the net very often and that it hasn't held him back in that sense, but still, shouldn't we count that net game for him? The most complete player ought to be able to hit some great volleys and overheads.
 
I guess those would be Federer, Borg, and Laver.
For Borg, his simultaneous mastery of non-homogenised grass and clay speaks for itself, and he was great on carpet as well and even on HC, unlucky to miss his best chance at the USO in '78 due to injury, and lost the 1980 final primarily due to service choking.
Laver seemed to be revered and described in a way similar to Federer, as a genius who left everyone, including his opponents, awestruck when at his best. Great volley obviously, tricky lefty serve, praiseworthy forehand, solid backhand, good return + a strong sense of court as you can see from surviving videos - no apparent weaknesses either.
 

K-H

Hall of Fame
I understand that Djokovic doesn't need to go to the net very often and that it hasn't held him back in that sense, but still, shouldn't we count that net game for him? The most complete player ought to be able to hit some great volleys and overheads.
Yh fair enough. I don’t disagree. Djokovics net game should be included even though it may not hold him back. But even with that limitation Federer had a limitation in his BH as well. That’s why i said it was debatable in the past and I never said one was more complete than the other. A few Fed fans will definitely disagree with me but all neutrals will say you could peg back Federer on his BH and get him stuck in that corner. So they both had a weakness.

Now Fed doesn’t have that. He can hit through his BH much more. So that’s why now is comfortably say Federer.

If someone said Federer was more complete in the past as well, I wouldn’t disagree as there wasn’t much between them so I could agree either way.
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
I said it before, if the Earth scientist gathered around 1998 with one goal in mind .. to create the perfect player in terms of skill, charisma and overall appereance. Roger Federer would be a perfect match
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
I guess it depends on how one choses to define "complete".

1) Complete, as in having the ability to execute every shot in the book at a high level: Federer.

2) Complete, as in not having any weaknesses that can be attacked by the opponent: Still Djokovic to me.
 
D

Deleted member 743561

Guest
I guess it depends on how one choses to define "complete".

1) Complete, as in having the ability to execute every shot in the book at a high level: Federer.

2) Complete, as in not having any weaknesses that can be attacked by the opponent: Still Djokovic to me.
Old adage applies here: “The best defense is a good offense.”

When the inverse MO is engaged, we see the effect on the tour.
 
N

nikdom

Guest
There are a few good players in every Tennis generation.

There are exceptionally good players, who come around once in a few of generations.

Then there is the Maestro - a once-in-a-lifetime athlete, tennis player, humanitarian, and ambassador for the sport.

Pete Sampras thinks we get a player like that once every 50 years. Just watch this video by the way and see how much love and respect they share:

 
There are a few good players in every Tennis generation.

There are exceptionally good players, who come around once in a few of generations.

Then there is the Maestro - a once-in-a-lifetime athlete, tennis player, humanitarian, and ambassador for the sport.

Pete Sampras thinks we get a player like that once every 50 years. Just watch this video by the way and see how much love and respect they share:
Federer = Laver confirmed
 

Incognito

Legend
Federer is the most complete player without a doubt. He was the most complete player since he first became number 1, and still is. Why is Djoko even in this conversation? I don’t remember seeing him play serve and volley to win a match ever.

Also, Federer owning Nadal these days has a lot to do with Nadal’s wheels falling off and can’t defend as well as before. You could see this happening 10 years ago.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I guess that we have to define complete. By complete, I think of a player that was arguably a top 30 guy in history in nearly every category at some point during his career, which includes net play, serve and volley,serving, return of serve, forehand, backhand, endurance, court position, etc.

For today's player, I'd easily take Federer. The big reason here is that Federer has beaten an all-time great like Sampras using a completely different racket while playing a different of game on a different surface. For example, Federer serve and volleyed about 80% of his serves against Sampras, yet still beat that legend. And he beat him on the super-fast old grass while using an antique 85 inch racquet, same as Sampras' at that time. Federer later morphed into a great base line player too. After that, he started going to the net more, which really messed with guys like Murray and Wawrinka in the mid 2010's, despite being an old man. Fed's return of serve on those fast surfaces was amazing also.

I never did get to see guys like Laver play. But I would assume that we was very complete. I only saw Borg for a bit when I was too young to understand the nuances of the game. But he had to be quite complete. I'd put Lendl in there too, although he was more of a base line player. However, he started coming to the net more at Wimby and actually made it to the finals two years in a row at that event.
 
Last edited:

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Nadal and some others hit spectacular shots, but Federer hits shots that are artfully unique in their execution.

That's why any match with him in it is better than any other big player match-up.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
Absolutely.

Djokovic isn’t good enough on fast surfaces to be proclaimed most complete. Fed owns him there (see Shanghai matches, Cincinnati, Canada, USO when it was still quite fast)
 

JackGates

Legend
Can someone tell me if Federer has beaten Sampras on fast or slow grass?

People say that the grass was changed in 2001, but it was after the tournament.

I always assumed they played on slow grass, so which is correct?

Also how did they slow down hard courts like Miami, Indian Wells and Us open?

I don't seem to know when this homogenization started and on what courts.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
The slow grass began with the 2002 tournament ostensibly to make the court last longer, but also due to big server domination.

You slow down hard courts by adding more sand to the mix, I think, so they do that in order to downplay the almighty serve as well.

Each tournament makes its own decisions, but there do seem to be patterns.
 

TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
I guess it depends on how one choses to define "complete".

1) Complete, as in having the ability to execute every shot in the book at a high level: Federer.

2) Complete, as in not having any weaknesses that can be attacked by the opponent: Still Djokovic to me.
What about playing in serve/volley era like in the 90s and 80s? I think Federer can handle much better than Nole who has weaknesses at the net and overhead shot.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
Yh fair enough. I don’t disagree. Djokovics net game should be included even though it may not hold him back. But even with that limitation Federer had a limitation in his BH as well. That’s why i said it was debatable in the past and I never said one was more complete than the other. A few Fed fans will definitely disagree with me but all neutrals will say you could peg back Federer on his BH and get him stuck in that corner. So they both had a weakness.

Now Fed doesn’t have that. He can hit through his BH much more. So that’s why now is comfortably say Federer.

If someone said Federer was more complete in the past as well, I wouldn’t disagree as there wasn’t much between them so I could agree either way.
I’d say Djokovic’s FH can be counted as a weakness if Fed’s BH can. He could never deal with Fed’s FH pre 2013 apart from the slowest of slow HCs. If they were the same age it’d be curtains.
 

eliars

Hall of Fame
Most complete in terms of skill/tools? Yeah.

He also has the most complete resume, apart from perhaps Laver (deflation taken into consideration) even though he only holds one French Open.

Can definitely see other players in the future surpassing Fed as the more complete player, ie. one who will have several majors across all surfaces, like a Lin Dan type of tennis player.
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
What about playing in serve/volley era like in the 90s and 80s? I think Federer can handle much better than Nole who has weaknesses at the net and overhead shot.
Sure. But I don't see how it would be relevant for Djokovic to work towards being great at dealing with such playing styles when he's literally gone through his entire career without playing one. Using that against him would be unfair. But once again it's a matter of definitions, I guess.

1) Completeness relative to the era he plays in(Djokovic).
2) Completeness relative to the history of the sport as a whole(Federer).

I basically see Djokovic as the most complete baseliner and Federer as the most complete all-court player, if that makes any sense.
 
Last edited:

JackGates

Legend
Most complete in terms of skill/tools? Yeah.

He also has the most complete resume, apart from perhaps Laver (deflation taken into consideration) even though he only holds one French Open.

Can definitely see other players in the future surpassing Fed as the more complete player, ie. one who will have several majors across all surfaces, like a Lin Dan type of tennis player.
Yeah, probably tennis will evolve. Maybe 30 years from now everybody will be all courters with complete games.
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
Can someone tell me if Federer has beaten Sampras on fast or slow grass?

People say that the grass was changed in 2001, but it was after the tournament.

I always assumed they played on slow grass, so which is correct?

Also how did they slow down hard courts like Miami, Indian Wells and Us open?

I don't seem to know when this homogenization started and on what courts.
Your fellow Rafian (jk) wants to say it was fast grass. I remember well because I'm class '01. Did you see the final? Maybe you aren't old enough not sure. If not, you missed a good one.
 

JackGates

Legend
Your fellow Rafian (jk) wants to say it was fast grass. I remember well because I'm class '01. Did you see the final? Maybe you aren't old enough not sure. If not, you missed a good one.
That makes Federer even greater than I thought. I guess years ago I was mislead by a few people on some forum. I was sure it was slow grass. Guess they were Fed haters.

I'm 37, didn't see it live though only highlights. Yeah, that legendary final. I don't know why the highlights were in Croatian language. I do understand Croatian, and that commentator is legendary. Because he was rooting for Goran his countryman. That commentator was a huge fan.
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
That makes Federer even greater than I thought. I guess years ago I was mislead by a few people on some forum. I was sure it was slow grass. Guess they were Fed haters.

I'm 37, didn't see it live though only highlights. Yeah, that legendary final. I don't know why the highlights were in Croatian language. I do understand Croatian, and that commentator is legendary. Because he was rooting for Goran his countryman. That commentator was a huge fan.
I was rooting for Rafter then. Rooted for him hard too. Remember wanting him to close it out but Goran wasn't having it of course with that devils deal serve he had. Goran pissed me off all morning with aces and ugly backhands. I hated him until that 5th set. He won me over in the decider. I started cheering for him to my own surprise. Monday morning crowd unlike a usual Sunday crowd. They were loud and it was rocking for a Wimbledon final. I was hoping for just one more deuce or match point. It ended the way it should. A deserved win. A real tennis fan knows what im saying. I never root against Roger, but that doesn't mean I never appreciated his foe when they were victorious. As long it was hard fought and good tennis, I can live with it.
 

JackGates

Legend
I was rooting for Rafter then. Rooted for him hard too. Remember wanting him to close it out but Goran wasn't having it of course with that devils deal serve he had. Goran pissed me off all morning with aces and ugly backhands. I hated him until that 5th set. He won me over in the decider. I started cheering for him to my own surprise. Monday morning crowd unlike a usual Sunday crowd. They were loud and it was rocking for a Wimbledon final. I was hoping for just one more deuce or match point. It ended the way it should. A deserved win. A real tennis fan knows what im saying. I never root against Roger, but that doesn't mean I never appreciated his foe when they were victorious. As long it was hard fought and good tennis, I can live with it.
Cool. Funny how quickly Goran won you over. Maybe you should start rooting against Federer. You don't want to root too much, it jinxes him, that's why true Federer fans cheer for Nadal..
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
"When a champion has two things they can count on out there as best in the world, they're a dominant champion. I think Roger has closer to 5."

-Andre Agassi
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
I still consider Sampras to be the most complete player I've seen considering everything (serve, baseline game and netplay), though for me there's a clear difference between complete and all-surface player which many people seem to group together. Agassi was one of the best all-surface players I've seen for example but I wouldn't define his game as complete by any stretch.
 
Top