Email
Print
Email
Print

Rafael Nadal: Roger Federer or Rod Laver is greatest of all time right now

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

With Sunday’s win, Rafael Nadal (left) improved to 22-10 against Roger Federer. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

LONDON — Rafael Nadal says the debate about the greatest player of all time should center on Roger Federer and Rod Laver.

Nadal addressed the topic after defeating Federer 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday. The 27-year-old Spaniard improved to 22-10 against Federer, who has a record 17 Grand Slam titles to Nadal’s 13. Nadal — who has collected a record 26 Masters 1000 titles and won Davis Cup and a gold medal in Olympic singles — believes a player’s success outside of the majors should be given weight in the debate.

“I believe it is 100 percent fair that people say [Federer is the best] because he is today, and it will be very difficult for any player to improve his numbers,” said Nadal, who will face Novak Djokovic in the final of the World Tour Finals on Monday.

“It is not fair to analyze the history of any player only for the Grand Slams. Everyone knows that tennis is not only the Grand Slams. There are a lot of things outside the Grand Slams. Roger has an unbelievable record outside of Grand Slams. For sure, in Grand Slams, he the player who wins more.”

Nadal also mentioned Laver, who won the calendar-year Grand Slam as an amateur in 1962 and a professional in 1969.

“So today the question is not about me or Roger, it will be more about Rod Laver or Roger,” Nadal said. “But I never had the chance to see Rod Laver play. And talking about my career, I am 27. I did more than I ever dreamed. I hope to keep having chances to keep winning. I’m going to work for that. And hopefully when I finish my career, we’ll see where I am in the history of tennis.”

  • Published On Nov 11, 2013
  • 6 comments
    RichardCarter
    RichardCarter

    What a classy young man is Nadal!  No doubt he was raised with humility and integrity.

    CMassrey
    CMassrey

    There will never be one definitive GOAT.  No one player is going to hold all the stats and you can't compare eras.  There are so many guys at or near the club including Fed, Laver, Borg, Sampras, Rosewall, Nadal... a bunch.  I mean how do we know how many majors Laver, Gonzales, Rosewall , etc would have won had they been allowed to play before the Open Era?  The TMS tournaments didn't even exist back then.  And tennis wasn't an Olympic sport back then.  Times are different, equipment is different.  Today the courts are very slow.  Back in the day, the courts were faster and serve/volley prevailed.  You can't even compare how the game is played today to then.  I honestly wish people would get over the whole GOAT debate as it will never be decided.

    cdns211
    cdns211

    Rafa is being too modest.

    He will win at least a couple of more slams, and the chance of him winning 17 is more than fair.

    Even if he finishes on 15 or 16, given his head to head v Roger, his incredible record v top 30, he will feature in any argument on goat.

    Borg and Sampras are also in the mix.

    CMassrey
    CMassrey

    @cdns211, there are too many categories.  All players will have PROs and CONs.   Will Fed's H2H with Nadal be considered a CON?  Sure.  But CONs for Nadal would be zero YECs compared to Fed's 6.  Nadal also can't compare to Fed's consistency records at majors or Fed's (and Sampras's) #1 records.  All players have CONs.  But I don't believe any CON discounts a player.  Sampras is still in the GOAT club despite never winning the FO (not even making the final) but he has 6 consecutive YE #1s that neither Fed nor Nadal will ever have.

    Who has the right to say one CON is worse than another CON?

    Sean40
    Sean40

    @CMassrey @cdns211 are you crazy, YEc mean nothing, try gold singles and Davis cup where feder has lost loads of times