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Social Sound Off: Tops in Class

Social Sound Off: Tops in Class
By Nicholas J. Walz
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Through years of monitoring our US Open social media accounts, a common refrain heard is that Roger Federer is not only one of the greatest players of all time – five US Opens won, 17 Grand Slams and counting – but also that fans believe that he’s one of the classiest competitors in the sport. And with good reason: Federer has won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, as voted by his fellow players on the ATP tour, a record nine times.

USOpen.org asks you, the fans, to sound off: Is the Swiss the most sportsmanlike US Open champion we’ve ever had? We’ll review your insights in the comments below and highlight some of the best answers tomorrow, when your feedback determines the victor.

Here are some other names to consider:

Stefan Edberg: Federer’s latest coach and longtime idol, the Swedish Hall of Famer, as noted, influenced the ATP to change the name of its sportsmanship award in his honor. In all, the 1991-92 US Open champion earned the distinction five times between 1988 and 1995.

Kim Clijsters: Clijsters was beloved by fans at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, who watched on as the 2005 women’s singles champion un-retired and added two more Open titles to her count in 2009 and 2010. An enduring image in Open lore is Clijsters chasing her daughter, Jada, with the trophy after her last two title wins.

Pete Sampras: The low-key demeanor of “Pistol Pete” was one of his trademarks, from his days as a teenage wunderkind in the late 80s to his very last match, when he won the 2002 US Open. Sampras was a straight shooter who let his play speak for itself.

Monica Seles: A champion in 1991 and 1992, Seles had her career derailed after being stabbed by a fan while in Germany in 1993. Fellow players mourned the potential loss of Seles, including rivals Steffi Graf and Mary Joe Fernandez, who remarked: “No matter how badly she would beat me in a match, she always had a kind word to say.” Seles would resume her career and reach two more Open finals in 1995 and 1996.

Sam Stosur: The 2011 women’s champion did not repeat in 2012, but she did take home the inaugural US Open Sportsmanship Award. Two years earlier, Stosur was also honored with the WTA’s Diamond ACES Award, recognizing the Aussie’s efforts in promoting tennis to fans, media and local communities.

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