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Federer and Williams sisters reign supreme

Roger Federer captured his 15th career Grand Slam by beating Andy Roddick in a five-set classic for the Wimbledon title on Sunday. Federer had shared the Slam record with Pete Sampras, who was in attendance. Now that Federer is on top, the question is whether he's the greatest player ever. I'm not so sure. He has the most Slams, but Rod Laver would have more than 11 had he not be barred from competing for five years after turning pro in 1963 (pros weren't allowed until 1968). Laver also is the only player to win all for major tournaments in a calendar year twice (1962 and 1969).

It's probably not fair to compare players of different eras, so let's just say that Federer is the greatest of this era.

The same can be said about Venus and Serena Williams. They have 18 Grand Slams singles titles between them (11 by Serena), including eight at Wimbledon. Serena has emerged as the better of the two players. She has beaten her big sister six times in eight Grand Slam finals and owns an 11-10 record overall in the sibling rivalry.

But if Serena is the best player in the world, Venus is a close second. The world rankings say Dinara Safina is No. 1, but after she got blitzed by Venus in the Wimbledon semifinals the WTA needs to rethink its rating system.

What is so impressive about Venus and Serena is their staying power. They burst on the scene in the late 1990s and have been dominating the tour since. They are still on top of their game and the end appears nowhere in sight. They have interests outside the sport, so they don't need to keep playing. But women's tennis needs them. The sport should be thankful they have stuck around so long.

---Allen Wilson


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.