Roger Federer says Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player of all-time

  • Roger Federer said he thinks Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player of all time.
  • Federer said that Williams' single and doubles accomplishments are unparalleled in the game.
  • Williams said the same could be said for Federer.


Serena Williams is preparing to play in the French Open, her first major since having her first child.

To Roger Federer, Williams' legacy is already cemented, even if she doesn't add to her decorated career.

Federer told The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay that, to him, Williams is the greatest tennis player of all-time — man or woman.

Federer and Williams are the same age and have both enjoyed nearly unparalleled success, two of the best athletes in any sport, still dominating at ages few expected. Federer compared their dissimilar rises to stardom while calling Williams the greatest of all-time.

"It's been fascinating to watch," Federer told Gay. "She had a totally different upbringing — I came up through Switzerland with the federation, she did it with her dad and her sister. It's an amazing story unto itself — and then she became one of the greatest, if not the greatest tennis player of all time."

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Serena Williams in 2018
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Serena Williams in 2018
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 19: Serena Williams is seen at the 2018 Miami Open Hard Rock Stadium Ground Breaking Ceremony at Hard Rock Stadium on March 19, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12: Venus Williams and Serena Williams pose for a photo before their match against each other during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 10: Serena Williams ( USA ) hits a backhand the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on March 10, 2018, at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens in Indian Wells, CA. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 08: Serena Williams leaves the court after defeating Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 8, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Serena Williams of the United States in action during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Venus Williams of the United States and her sister Serena Williams of the United States during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her match against Shuai Zhang of China during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: The United States Women's Olympic hockey team poses with their gold medals and tennis champions Serena Williams anf Venus Williams during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Serena Williams of Team USA reacts after a shot to Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands during a doubles match in the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 11, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 10: Serena Williams of Team USA, bottom left, along with her husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Alexis Olympia, center, watch the action during the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 10, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States in action during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States is seen after her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30: Serena Williams of United States smiles during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
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Gay wrote that he asked Federer if he meant the greatest player ever or simply the greatest female ever, and Federer reaffirmed his stance. From Gay:

"I have to ask: Did Federer, considered by some to be the tennis GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), just suggest Serena was the GOAT? Did he mean GOAT on the women's side — or overall?  

"'Overall,' Federer clarifies. He ticks off the staggering stats of players like Williams and Steffi Graf, which eclipse those of anyone in men’s tennis, especially when one factors in all of Serena’s doubles titles."

Gay asked Williams for her response, and she said they could both be considered the GOAT.

"I think we can say that about both of us, respectively," she said. "He's done amazing things in his career — I have the utmost respect for him. He's a wonderful athlete, a great guy. "

Federer won't be playing in the French Open this year, but with his career still in full swing and Williams returning to the court, it's possible that both players add to their legacies in the coming months and possibly years.

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