Can the mighty Federer be stopped?

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The masterful Swiss that is Roger Federer is winning just about everything in sight right now. Can he be stopped?

If you're talking about ending a year at No. 1 for the first time in his career, then I would have to say the "Fed" cannot be stopped. Obviously I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that he'll lose another match before 2004 concludes. But he's not going to lose many.

The world No. 1 star is a scalding 51-4 this year, including an ATP-leading seven titles on several surfaces. Throw in a perfect 4-0 singles record in Davis Cup play this season and I think you get the picture.


Roger Federer
Roger Federer currently holds the Wimbledon, Australian Open and Masters Cup titles and has won three of the last five Grand Slam events.

The unstoppable Swiss currently holds the Wimbledon, Australian Open and Masters Cup titles and has won three of the last five Grand Slam events, dating back to his first of back-to-back Wimbledon crowns last year. He's also nailed down Tennis Masters shields in Indian Wells and Hamburg this season, and the Hamburg title came in impressive fashion when he halted Guillermo Coria's long clay-court winning streak at 31 in a marquee final.

Federer is a flawless 9-0 in his last nine finals, with his last loss coming against Czech Jiri Novak in last year's Gstaad title match (in a week that he should've taken off after prevailing at Wimby). The Swiss hero returned to Gstaad last week to capture his first title on native soil by besting young Russian Igor Andreev in a clay-court final just one week after running the table yet again on the rye grass at the All England Club. Federer became only the third player to claim Wimbledon and Gstaad titles in the same year, joining all-time greats Rod Laver (1962) and John Newcombe (1971).

The 22-year-old racquet man is currently riding a 17-match winning streak and has piled up a staggering 14 titles since the beginning of the 2003 campaign. He's also won his last 24 matches on grass, including 14 straight at Wimbledon.

Federer is also running away with the ATP Champions Race, as he leads the French Open runner-up Coria by a whopping 267 points (746-479), while slugging American Andy Roddick, Federer's final victim at Wimbledon two weeks ago, is currently third, 292 points off the Swiss' frantic pace.

The Fed's prize money is fast approaching $4 million for the year ($3,335,222) and his career on-court earnings are already over the $11 million mark ($11,073,230), to go along with 18 singles titles.

Federer is a sizzling 16-1 in Grand Slam action this season (and 26-2 in his last five Slams), with his lone '04 major loss coming at the hands of former world No. 1 and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros. The super Swiss, however, hasn't lost a match anywhere since getting stunned by "Guga" in Paris in late May, going 17-0, with a pair of grass-court titles in Halle and Wimbledon and the clay-court victory in Gstaad.

Federer could be tested by Roddick and perhaps even Coria this summer, but let's not forget that the Swiss is a laughable 6-1 lifetime against Roddick and 1-0 all-time versus Coria, making him a combined 7-1 against the world's current No. 2 and No. 3 players.

I'm not gonna to sit here and anoint Federer the best-ever (just yet), but I will say that he is the most-talented performer I've ever seen. He possesses every shot and can thrive on any surface. His combination of power (that monster forehand), flare and artistry are unmatched.

He will finish the year No. 1 for the first time in his career, and don't be surprised when it's all said and done that the Fed challenges Pete Sampras' mark of 14 Grand Slam titles. Obviously, the Fed will need to stay healthy to make a run at Pete, something Sampras was able to do during his legendary career.

By the way, Sampras was Federer's favorite player while growing up in Basel.

Federer's next Grand Slam test will come at the U.S. Open, which will get underway late next month, immediately following the Swiss' Olympic stay (and potential gold medal run) in Athens.

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Scott Riley
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