x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Federer still has a way to go to match Connors

Every time Roger Federer reaches a career milestone his right to call himself the greatest tennis player of all time is given further momentum.

Every time Roger Federer reaches a career milestone his right to call himself the greatest tennis player of all time is given further momentum.

Few would argue against the Swiss wearing his sport's "best ever" label, but Jimmy Connors must today be wondering why he rarely gets a mention in the Hall of Fame for sporting greats.

Federer's latest accolade comes in the wake of his drawing level with Pete Sampras in another significant hit parade. Fifteen months after passing Sampras's record of 14 grand slam titles with his Wimbledon triumph (he has since extended that haul to 16 by winning the Australian Open this year), Federer has now matched Sampras's haul of career titles.

Sunday's victory in the Stockholm Open meant that the two giants were locked together on a total of 64 titles enabling them to share fourth place. The three men ahead of them are John McEnroe, who has 77 ATP titles to his credit, Ivan Lendl, who has 94 tournament wins, and Connors.

Connors notched 109 Tour wins on all surfaces - eight of them in grand slams - during a career which spanned two decades.

The American left-hander, one of the pioneers in bringing the two-fisted backhand into the men's game, won his first title on home Floridian soil in 1972 and completed his collection in Israel 17 years later. Take a bow, Jimmy. You are likely to stay top of that list long after Federer calls time on his own brilliant career.

wjohnson@thenational.ae