A Dissent On Federer

A reader writes:

Federer is a great player. But to put him up against the greatest of all time, or even our lifetimes (yours being somewhat longer than mine) means we have to put him above Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, Borg, Becker, McEnroe, Connors and Laver.  Why does this not sit well with me?  All of those men had real rivalries with other players.  As Borg brought the game to new heights, McEnroe came along to challenge him.  Agassi did the same for Sampras.  With no one to challenge Federer it's irrelevant whether he's just better than the field or he's pushed the game too far too fast. In either case, with no one to challenge him, it's less meaningful when he wins every tournament. We don't even start on the abundance of hard court tournaments which have made his somewhat-less-impressive work on clay so much less of a liability.

The ones we should all be excited about are Gonzalez (whose played definitively better tennis than Federer before their Final match-up) and that scrawny, odd, brilliant young Scot, Andy Murray.

I'm all for scrawny, brilliant Scots. And I may be suffering from a syndrome known to straight guys as Kournikova-blinders. But Federer is mesmerizing.