OPINION: Is Roger Federer the greatest sport has ever seen?

Federer has been in vintage form since his return from injury.
Federer has been in vintage form since his return from injury. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: So Roger Federer's Australian Open triumph cements him as the best player to have ever wielded a racket, but does it also make him the biggest sporting superstar on the planet?

He is unquestionably the game's GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). How can you argue with 20 Grand Slams and still going at 36 years of age?

Federer is all lass. His dealings with the public, the media and fellow players are remarkable.

As a family man, he is wholesome, without being boring and, tactically, he is surely the smartest player ever to play the game.

He knows conditions, surfaces, the details of opposing players and their weaknesses better than the rest. From the free-flowing backhand to the slice, there's not a shot in the game missing from his repertoire.

And then there's Federer the "brand". 

At press conferences, he switches from English to German to French (and sometimes Italian) with all the effortlessness of one of his backhands down the line.  Apparently, during the Open in Melbourne, he was seen dining and wandering around Southbank, just like all the other "normal" folk do.

As a Nike player, his endorsement deal must be astronomical - adding significantly to the more than $US115 million ($NZ156m) he has banked in career earnings.

So is he the biggest name there is? If not, who are the other contenders?

The list is subjective, of course, but here are a few options, made up of athletes who are still competing or have only recently retired.

1. Tiger Woods - huge name, but tainted with scandal and injury, though the man can still pull a crowd.

2. LeBron James - best basketballer on the planet and a massive global superstar. He seems light years ahead of any other current player - Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant or James Harden - but is he still second to Michael Jordan?

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - another megastar, an icon of football, fashion etc

4. Lionel Messi - multi Ballon d'Or winner, but has lost some of his lustre in recent times

5. Serena Williams - with 23 Grand Slams, she surely has to be in the frame

6. Conor McGregor - biggest thing ever to emerge from UFC, but still a bit of a numpty in some people's eyes

7. Tom Brady - the pin-up boy of the NFL, with an amazing CV

8. Usain Bolt - would have been a must, but as he's retired...

9. Floyd Mayweather - undefeated in 50 fights and a walking ATM machine, as his  "Money" nickname would suggest

10. Maria Sharapova - love her or loathe her

How would you rank them?

David Di Somma is a Newshub sports reporter