Roger Federer is the greatest of all time and the tennis equivalent of NBA legend Michael Jordan, according to Frances Tiafoe.
Federer retired in September this year after one of the most successful careers in tennis history, having won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2003.
Playing in one of the most competitive eras in men’s tennis alongside Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles before retiring at the age of 41.
Tiafoe, ranked 19th in the world, is a huge NBA fan and found a basketball parallel for Federer in the form of Jordan, who won six NBA championships in the 1990s as well as five MVP awards.
When asked which NBA player he would compare Federer to, Tiafoe told The Old man and the Three Podcast: “I would say MJ.
“You think about MJ and you think that bro was crazy and you think about Federer…everything they’ve done, you’re just in awe every time you watch them.”
Asked if the comparison with Jordan meant that he considered Federer the greatest tennis player of all time, Tiafoe replied: “Oh absolutely. Even if Rafa [Nadal] has more Grand Slam tournaments.”
Federer once held the record for most Grand Slams among male players but has now been surpassed by Djokovic and Nadal, the latter leading with 22 titles.
Tiafoe defeated Nadal in the fourth round of the US Open this year and compared the Spaniard’s mentality to that of Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I would give Giannis, just because of the way he approaches the game and the effort he brings every night,” Tiafoe added.
“Just because Giannis comes to kill you every night. He’s going to kill you and Rafa has that attitude too.
“A super nice guy, but as soon as we go out you can just feel that aura and it’s the same with Giannis.”
Nadal’s pursuit of Djokovic at the top of the Grand Slam rankings has been hampered in 2022 by his vaccination status, which prevented him from playing at the Australian Open or the US Open, the former of which was won by Majorcan.
Djokovic, however, picked up a seventh Wimbledon crown and will be able to resume the hunt for Nadal at the upcoming Australian Open in January after being granted a visa.
Tiafoe compared the 35-year-old to Denver Nuggets star and fellow Serbian Nikola Jokic, who is the reigning NBA MVP after winning the prestigious award two consecutive seasons.
“You look at him [Jokic] play and you like how, but you’re also in awe of how big he is,” Tiafoe added. “Like this guy can’t do on a basketball court?
” This guy [is] a monster. It doesn’t look your most traditional way or what you want it to look like or anything.
“Same with Novak. Not like the greatest game ever, but these guys just do it.”