Duncan Mackay

altWhether he is the greatest or not is no longer up for dispute and, despite his thrilling five-set loss to Argentinean hotshot Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final on Monday, Roger Federer remains peerless in the game of tennis. 

He has surpassed legends of the sport like Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras by stacking up majors – a record 15 in total - with the ease in which the rest of consume hot dinners. He has brought to the court so much finesse, grace and majesty that it is a surprise that he is not a Vincent Van Gogh painting bought to life.

Yet there is just one task Federer is yet to accomplish in the game; one itch that the Swiss must scratch in order to hang up his racquet having won every major individual title a man can win in tennis. He must win a singles Olympic gold medal.

He has - the more astute tennis fans among you will note - already won an Olympic gold but this was in the doubles rather than the singles and therefore cannot - for obvious reason - be classified as individual victory.

There is also an argument that Federer needs to win the Davis Cup to achieve the ultimate grand slam in the game but for me; that is not a necessity for the world number one. In the Davis Cup, great players – through no fault of their own - can be thoroughly let down by their teammates. Just look at the Great Britain team.

 Andy Murray usually destroys his opponent without breaking a sweat and then watches on as trusty - or not - Alex Bogdanovic manages to somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against an opponent usually ranked about 9,782nd in the world. 

No, the Davis Cup aside, Federer has just one more jewel to add to his crown which already sparkles brightly with his multiple triumphs at the four annual majors.

altTime though, is not on the great man's side and he missed a great opportunity in Beijing last year when he was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament by the American James Blake. 

Federer (pictured) is already 28-years-old and consequently rather old for a man in his profession. He will therefore be 31 by the time we reach 2012 and surely cannot hope to mount a realistic challenge at the Olympics in 2016 where he will be ancient at ripe old age of 35. 

Joking aside, it is clear that Federer has just one more realistic shot to win the only piece of precious metal that his detector is yet to locate. 

However, if there is one location on earth that Federer would want mount his assault for Olympic gold on, it would be the hallowed turf of Wimbledon. On grass, Federer is near indestructible and on route to taking six of the last seven Wimbledon titles, Federer has won an astonishing 47 of his last 48 matches at the All England Club. 

Federer therefore, is right to feel confident when his fortress Wimbledon hosts the tennis event at the London 2012 Olympics as his only loss in the last seven Wimbledon championships came at the hands of the muscleman from Majorca, Rafael Nadal. And it is Federer’s great Spanish rival who could in fact beat Federer to achieving the fifth Grand Slam

After all, Nadal has already claimed Olympic gold in Beijing to add to the major titles he has won in Australia, Wimbledon and France. The world number two therefore has only to win the US Open to achieve that fifth Grand Slam. But with the Spaniards “dodgy” knees and with his failure to have ever reached a final at Flushing Meadows, logic suggests it is Federer who has the best chance of getting the “full house” on grass in London in 2012.

The feat would make Federer only the man second after America's Andre Agassi to win all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal. Should Federer not manage to achieve his lofty goal, it would perhaps not haunt him in the way the way not winning the French Open would have done.

An athlete is lucky to have more than two shots at an Olympic medal in contrast to a tennis Grand Slam which is an annual rather than four-yearly event. Even so, a man with Federer’s sublime talent should not need more than two attempts to achieve success when he has a racquet gripped in his hand a best result of semi-final - at the Olympics at the Sydney 2000 Games - is a modest showing for the Swiss. 

An individual Olympic gold medal is after all, the greatest prize in sport and it is now Federer’s Holy Grail and the one object he will focus his full attention on. I mean, after being the world number one for a record period and having won three Australian Open, six Wimbledon, five US Opens and now a French Open title, what more can possibly motivate Federer in the next two years?

He has seen, done and achieved almost everything in the sport of tennis and when it is all over, Federer may not only be the greatest tennis player ever, he may be one of the greatest sportsman of all time. He has won every great accolade available to a man in his sport save but one. So for Federer, there is just a single golden goal left to achieve but it will doubtless take an Olympian effort for him to do so.

Tom Degun is a reporter and the Paralympics Correspondent for insidethegames