“Deserves to Be Up There With Guys Like Michael Jordan”: NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky Once Considered Tennis GOAT Among the Top-Four Athletes of All Time

Published 11/20/2022, 1:29 PM EST

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People unanimously regarded Wayne Gretzky as the greatest ice hockey player in history. Not just fans, but even the NHL agreed with the statement. Notably, Gretzky broke nearly every record and set new ones. Besides 40 regular season records, “The Great One” has 15 play-offs and 6 All-star. Gretzky also holds the record for most goals and assists.

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After a legendary career, Wayne also worked as a coach from 2005 to 2009. However, Wayne doesn’t just love ice hockey but is also a die-hard tennis fan. In an old interview, Gretzky revealed the tennis player he considers among the top athletes in the world.

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Wayne Gretzky heaped praise on the Swiss legend Roger Federer

In 2017, Wayne Gretzky appeared for an interview on SPORTSNET. The NHL legend joined Caroline Cameron, Robert Bettauer, and Sharon Fichman for the conversation. During the interview, when Bettauer asked Wayne if he considered Roger Federer the greatest tennis player. The NHL legend answered he had no doubts about the Swiss legend.

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Wayne said Federer isn’t just the best tennis pro but among the top athletes. “He deserves to be up there with guys like Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Pele. He’s a special man.” Gretzky told the interviewer. The NHL top scorer said Roger Federer had everything required to excel at his sport. However, Gretzky didn’t just praise Federer’s ability with a tennis racket.

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“The Great One” also praised Federer’s charisma, style, and passion for the sport. However, Gretzky praised the legendary tennis player further. “He’s a little bit like how Gordie Howe was. He’s just a special man,” said Wayne. The NHL legend compared Federer with the man who inspired him, the Canadian hockey legend Gordie Howe.

Many ice hockey fans consider Gordie Howe among the greatest players ever. Howe earned the nickname “Mr. Hockey” and the records he set stood until Wayne broke them.

There is always someone better

While Wayne complimented Roger, he also said someone could come along who would achieve even more remarkable feats than Federer. “Let me tell you the great thing about sports. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, somebody else comes along,” said Wayne. The ice hockey legend said Federer was also an example of what he had said.

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Many tennis fans thought they would never see athletes like John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg. However, Federer might be “As good as all of those guys combined”, said Gretzky.

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Watch this story – Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, and Roger Federer Put On Heals in an Amusing Commercial in 2009

Do you agree with Wayne Gretzky’s opinion? Write your thoughts in the comment section. 

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. He has experience working as a freelance MMA writer for Sportskeeda.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Kumar

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