Saturday, January 28, 2017

Is 'GOAT', the real Title on offer between Federer and Nadal?

Any reference to Roger Federer is often accompanied by the acronym 'GOAT'

With most tennis fans and pundits in agreeance that the Swiss maestro is the 'greatest of all time'

Federer's win/loss of 1080/245 with 88 titles including an outrageous 17 Grand Slam victories across all surfaces gives due credence. If he wins Grand Slam 18 as a 35 year old at the Australian Open on Sunday it will be a true exclamation mark for the claim. The ability to adapt to the changing face of the game and still be a threat after nearly 2 decades in the games is nearly as impressive as his bulging trophy cabinet.

 His career started with him scything through opponents with his sublime skills leaving victims almost begrudgingly appreciative for being dissected by such style. I often reminisce on his first Grand Slam victory over Mark Phillipoussis at Wimbledon in 2003 with his ridiculous 9 unforced errors compared to 50 winners over the 3 set demolition.

A 21 year old in his first Grand slam final, no nerves, only a showcase of tennis perfection pointing to his budding immortality.

15 further Slams followed up until the Australian Open of 2010 with tennis from the dream factory.

Others have dominated in the past, never with similar charismatic legacy.

A valid sporting analogy would be Muhammad Ali.

Sticking with the boxing theme, enter 'Joe Frazier' in the form of a similar relentless and bludgeoning adversary in Rafael Nadal.

With the Spaniard usurping Federer's dominance in the game enjoying 23 victories in 34 clashes including a 9/3 record at Grand Slams.

The record all the more impressive with him lording it over Federer 6/2 in the finals of Slams.

If Nadal once more prevails tomorrow night in the Australian Open final it dictates Nadal is given the same respect when the greatest ever is debated.

His record against Federer already justifies this by the fact he dominates the one most see as the best the game has seen.

A victory would also start to level out a statistical comparison with it being Nadal's 15th Slam compared to Federer's 17.

Most will try to diminish Nadal's achievements pointing to his dominance at the French where he has 9 titles. Countering this is a victory in this Slam will see him alongside the Aussie duo of Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as the only other in the history of the game that has completed 2 titles at all of the 4 slams. If he achieves this it will be more impressive considering the differing surfaces of Slams in this era as opposed to most outside the French being played on grass in the past. A testimony to his ability as an all court player of no compare despite being often remarked as the lord of clay.

His career record of 808/175 with 69 titles is also comparable to Federer's with him 30, 5 year the Swiss genius's junior.

Injury allowing, it could easily see Nadal win many more titles with 20 Slams not out of the realm of possibility- particularly at the French Open where at his best he is nigh on invincible.

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