LONDON - Roger Federer is being hailed as possibly the greatest athlete in sports history after his spectacular return to the summit of tennis with a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown.
Federer's spellbinding 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 triumph over home hope Andy Murray not only ended all arguments over his status as tennis' undisputed king, but also sparked fresh debate about his place in the pantheon of sport's all-time greats.
Competing in the fierce era of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and with his younger rivals at the peak of their powers, Federer's unmatched 17th career major and return to the No.1 ranking one month shy of his 31st birthday is the strawberries and cream to ice an unparalleled career.
Murray declared the Swiss maestro deserved to now rank alongside the Peles and Muhammad Alis as "one of the greatest athletes of all time".
"He's up there. Rafa as well, for me, is up there in that conversation," the vanquished Scot told AAP after having his - and Britain's - hopes shattered with a vintage showing from the grasscourt colossus.
"Both of them have been unbelievable athletes. They've been great for the sport - and he's still playing amazing tennis.
"A lot of people have been asking me 'has he started slipping? Is he not playing as well?'
"If you look at the matches he lost the last couple years, very, very close matches, matches he definitely could have won."