Roger rules sports says Blake


Roger Federer is the best athlete in world sport ahead of such greats as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan according to top American James Blake.
Blake was well-placed to judge just having stepped off court on the end of a four sets 7-6, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 loss to the Swiss star in the quarter-finals of the US Open.
It was the first time he had managed to win a set against the World No.1 saying it at least proved that Federer was human after all,
“I heard something on ESPN about two weeks ago saying Tiger Woods is going to pass Michael Jordan as the best athlete of our time and I think that’s a joke,” he said.
“Not to take anything away from Tiger Woods because he’s unbelievable.
“But I’d make a case for Roger Federer being the best athlete of our time – not tennis player, athlete.”
Federer has been inundated at this year’s US Open with questions comparing him to Woods, who is also in the middle of another purple patch having won his last five PGA tournaments including the last two majors.
The two have never met, but have expressed mutual admiration and the desire to one day sit down and talk to each other.
“That James says something like this and puts me ahead of basically my own idol, that’s something very special,” he said.
“For me it’s impossible to say if it’s true or not, because it’s so hard to compare sports.”
Against the hugely popular Blake, Federer, not for the first time, found himself fighting the partisan New York crowd as well as his opponent.
Not that the world No.1 is disliked, but there is always a sense of David v Goliath when Federer plays and he has racked up an astonishing 27-match winning record against American opponents.
The last time he went down to an American was in losing to Andy Roddick in the semi-finals of the 2003 Montreal ATP tournament.
He also has a 18-1 winning record against Americans in Grand Slam events, his only loss being against Andre Agassi in the fourth round of the 2001 US Open.
He reversed that loss in four sets in last year’s final and the odds say he will once again take on Roddick in this year’s final on Sunday.
That would leave a Swiss mountain to climb for the back-to-form American who has a miserable 1-10 losing record against Federer including the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finals.
Federer though said he will still have to get past gritty Russian Nikolay Davydenko in Saturday’s semi-finals. Roddick goes up against another Russian, Mikhail Youzhny on the same day.
“We look like the big favourites, me and Andy,” Federer said.
“But we’ve seen what happens to favourites sometimes. So we’ve got to be very careful.”

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2006

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