Ricky Dimon

  • Nadal enters GOAT discussion by beating Federer

    2009-02-04 07:21:06
    Rafael Nadal didn't just win his first Australian Open on Sunday night. He didn't just win his sixth Grand Slam title. He didn't just defeat Roger Federer for the 13th time in 19 tries.

    No, with his 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 victory over Federer in Sunday's final, Rafael Nadal started to rewrite the tennis history books.

    History was, in fact, supposed to happen on Sunday night in Melbourne Park's Rod Laver Arena. But it was supposed to be Federer's moment; his moment to tie Pete Sampras for the all-time record of 14 Grand Slam titles. It was supposed to be Federer's moment to confirm-in number-what common sense already told us: that he is one of the-if not THE-greatest of all time (GOAT).

    After all, Federer had rolled through his quarterfinal and semifinal matches in convincing fashion, dominating both Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick in straight sets. Any concerns about his form, stemming from a five-set comeback win over Tomas Berdych in the fourth round , were quickly brushed aside, especially with Federer's 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 humiliation of Del Potro. Conversely, Nadal-who had stormed through his first four matches-struggled with Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals before all hell broke loose against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the semis. Nadal outlasted his on-fire opponent in five sets, but it took five hours and 14 minutes (the longest match in Australian Open history) to book his place in the final alongside Federer.

    In one match against Verdasco, Nadal had spent over an hour more on the court than Federer had spent in his matches against Del Potro and Roddick combined. And oh yeah, one more minor detail: Federer had two days in between his semifinal and the final, whereas Nadal had just one.

    Needless to say, Sunday was supposed to Federer's time. Sunday was supposed to be time for Sampras to slide over and make room for two.

    Instead, another man bullied his way into the GOAT discussion, and his name is Rafael Nadal.

    First thing's first: let's not get ahead of ourselves. Nadal "only" has six Grand Slams. He is NOT the GOAT. He is not even close to the GOAT. Yes, he is better than Federer (and everyone else) right now on every surface. He is NOT better than Federer in the eyes of history (only time will tell how that ends up). The point is simply that with his improbable victory on Sunday, Nadal put himself in shockingly good position to end up being the GOAT whenever he decides to hang up his "Vamos Rafa" shoes.

    Nadal is now the proud owner of six Grand Slam titles: four French Opens, one Wimbledon, and one Australian Open. Perhaps even more importantly, he has completed three of the four legs of the career Grand Slam. Only the U.S. Open still eludes him, but even in New York he has enjoyed one quarterfinal appearance and one semifinal appearance. At 22 years old and rapidly improving his hard-court game, Nadal has to like his chances of eventually winning at least one U.S. Open, and thus completing the prestigious career slam.

    How prestigious? Only five men have ever done it - Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, and Andre Agassi. Only Agassi completed the career Grand Slam by winning majors on three different surfaces. Nadal-since he has already accomplished the three-surface feat-would give Agassi company in that club if he does, in fact, win a U.S. Open.

    Similarly, only Agassi has won a career Golden Slam (the four slams plus an Olympic gold medal in singles). Nadal chalked up gold in Beijing last summer, so he is also just one U.S. Open title away from a career Golden Slam, as well.

    As if all of that isn't enough to convince someone of Nadal's potential GOAT status, there's plenty of room for some speculation. Yes, speculation is overrated, but since Nadal is just 22 and presumably has plenty of years left, speculation has to be done.

    He has won four French Opens and each one has been more convincing than the one before. What's to say Nadal's reign in Paris is going to end anytime soon? Federer has been digressing on the red clay of Roland Garros; nobody can dispute that after the three-set drubbing he received in the 2008 final. The rest of the clay-court competition looks less than formidable; former dominant clay-courters like Carlos Moya, Gustavo Kuerten, and Juan Carlos Ferrero are either retired or at least beginning to contemplate the "R" word. Heck, even someone with the clay-court game of Gaston Gaudio or Guillermo Coria would be giving Nadal more of a run for his money on the dirt than anyone really is right now.

    Novak Djokovic won a Masters Series title on the slow stuff last year, but that's because Nadal tumbled out of the tournament early due to foot blisters. Andy Murray is rising fast, but he has never won a Grand Slam title and he has certainly never done anything of note on clay.

    As a result, would it not be too surprising to see Nadal-barring serious injury-win, say, the next four French Opens? No, I don't think it would.

    That gives him 10 slams right there, without even taking the other three majors into consideration. Given his Wimbledon title on grass and Australian Open and Olympic titles on hard courts, one has to think Nadal will win at least a few of the upcoming Wimbledons, U.S.'s, and Australians. In my estimation, we're looking at no less than 12 or 13 slams…and that's playing it safe. Even if Nadal does stall at-say-13, he will finish behind Sampras and presumably Federer, assuming Federer wins at least one more slam. But when you take the Olympics and the career Grand Slam-IF Nadal wins the U.S.-into account, that more than makes up lacking one or two total slams.

    All of this is not to write off Federer. To do so would be stupid. After all, he's reached the final of the last four Grand Slams, won one of them, and lost in five sets in two of them.

    The point is simply that with Nadal winning this year's Australian Open, we have to considering the possibility of him going down in history as a better player than Federer, and everyone else.

    Now consider, briefly, the GOAT situation if Federer had won Sunday's final. He would have tied Pete Sampras at 14 and undoubtedly would have broken the record at some point in the near future. He would also be nine slams ahead of Nadal, who would still be two legs shy of the career Grand Slam. While a career slam for Nadal now-in my estimation-seems likely, I would rate his chances at less than 50-50 if he still had two to go.

    Yes it's just one tournament, and who knows what the future holds, but there's no question that Nadal began rewriting the GOAT chapter of tennis history books on Sunday night in Melbourne.

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Nicely written, but so hard to read for a federer fan like me...

Jyocka , 2/4/09 1:34 PM

Great article ! It will put the GOAT matter in a new perspective for some of the Nadal sceptics here.
And furthermore, let's consider the possibility of Nadal winning all four Grand Slams in a year (this could happen even this same year), and another Olympic gold medal (in London). This would place him in a very special possition indeed.
I do not believe myself that he is going to win next four RG, because he is surely focussed in winning more Wimbleys, and of course the US Open, but anyway he has, as you say, the clear chance of getting 12 or more Grand Slams.
Once said so, I do not think that the GOAT concept is right in itself. Each epoch has its own circumstance, and players like Perry, Laver, Agassi or Nadal cannot be measured or rated against each other.

firstwanderer , 2/4/09 2:18 PM

Great article. Finally someone is talking bout Nadal's achievements instead of keeping the spotlight on Fed's 13 Grand Slams and reaching Sampras' record of 14 titles. I really hope that Rafa stays healthy and injury free so that he can win more Grand Slams and show to the world that he is one of the greatest players we have ever seen. His dedication, positive mentality and humility is really an inspiration to everyone. Way to go Rafa! Keep up the wins!

nadal07 , 2/4/09 2:18 PM

Fine article with a balanced view. I really hope that Nadal remains relatively injury free over many years. If so, to speak of just the French Open, the tournament that many believe is the most demanding, it will take on any given year an exceptional player, of Borg's calliber, to defeat Nadal.

chlorostoma , 2/4/09 3:19 PM

Yes Nadal is gonna be one ot the GOAT and he is very poised to achieve the calendar Grand Slam. Unless Fed, Murray and Djoker do something about it. Fed really needs to go to the gym and buff up and work harder than usual. I don't think he pushes himself too much because his technique is so effortless. So now is the time Muhammad Ali needs to dig deep to beat Joe Frazier.

I really hope someone could at least challenge Nadal on RG. I know Fed will not be able to challenge him on clay. Maybe Murray.

torres9 , 2/4/09 6:07 PM

Man i am lovin this the australian openn final did it.....The us open he lost to murray and fed. downs murray in straight sets, no big deal . 2 months later he defeats roger federer in a close encounter and the GOAT thing comes up...So when roger wins a slam comfortably its nothin.
u guys just need sm1 new...what a pity...

jibi , 2/4/09 8:47 PM

jibi - I actually thought the US Open was a big deal. Who didn't think it was a big deal?

Did you watch any of this Australian Open? It sounds like you didn't. There was a lot more to it than "Nadal defeating Federer in a close encounter."

RickyDimon , 2/4/09 9:21 PM

no matter how great a player is there will eventually be a legitimate challenger, nadal and federer are the perfect examples. believe or not, nadal is already being challenged. most people don't see it that way because he is such a fighter! there are players who fiercely compete against rafa, particularly, andy murray, simon, djokovic, tsonga,to name a few. it probably goes unnoticed because rafa has such a strong will to win. still, the fact remains, he is consistently challenged! it's obvious that his uncle toni taught him to fight, not fear! in my opinion, in terms of mental toughness, the only other athelete that exhibits that kind of mental superiority is tiger woods!

memi , 2/5/09 1:04 AM

Does anyone else think we may be watching the two greatest players of all time? I mean, the level of domination of the tour these guys have done since 2005 is insane.

JohnnyM , 2/5/09 2:55 AM

With due respect Ricky u hav written that fed is 1 of the best player of all times ...i hav as a matter of fact read this a no. of times but never heard who the greatest is ...
The reason being people dont lik being told who the greatest is so they tend to make there own choices. as u r sayin nadal is on the way of becomin the GOAt and u r judgin him by the fact that he defeated the great roger federer and accordin to u roger is not the best so how could nadal b the greatest ....
I would really lik 2 know who holds the title 4 the GOAT at present ...and whom nadal will surpass when bcms 1..for sure its not roger, not according to u...

jibi , 2/5/09 7:10 AM

Ricky, thanks for the great article. Let me mention one more factor you didn't bring up: Nadal
pushed his way to the top against Roger Federer, undisputably ONE of the GOAT. But who
did Federer have to beat for his slams? Philippousis, Safin, Gonzo, Bagdatis, Roddick, Hewitt,
Nole, and up-and coming Rafa and an old Agassi. All great players, but all were either far
from GOAT material or either before or after their prime.
Who did Rafa beat for his GS? Mariano Puerta, but had to beat Federer in semis to get to
that final, and then, Federer, Federer, Federer, Federer and Federer.
Talk about an uphill battle for Grand Slams. Look at all the ohter multiple-slam winners
and you will find they all had some relativity easy rivals. That fact, IMO, puts Rafa
already in close company with te Greatests Players Ever.

grafight , 2/5/09 7:32 AM

I think if Nadal didn't win this AUSOpen2009, he is already on eof the GOAT. He won French and Wimbledon last year.The fact that Nadal always meet Federer shows how consistent Fed is. He always put himself in the position to win although he lost. Sampras only had Agassi as his main rival and he also won against people who are not GOAT material like Chang, Jim Courier, Cedric Pioline, Carlos Moya, Todd Martin either.

torres9 , 2/5/09 7:42 AM

Federer has also won against plenty of players who aren't GOAT material.

If Nadal and lost the AO, he would be nowhere near being in the GOAT discussion, in my opinion. He would get there eventually, but not yet. He would be trailing Federer 14-5 in Grand Slams. MOST importantly, he would have 0 hard-court slams.

RickyDimon , 2/5/09 2:24 PM

STILL i didnt get my answer who is the GOAT at present...Is it the legendry Rod laver or borg, or the great Pete sampras ..if we dont have an answer to this question as yet then there is no point in discussin whether roger could be the GOAT or Nadal is destined to b the GOAT....I need an answer....

jibi , 2/5/09 5:35 PM

jibi, the GOAT question will always be a matter of opinion. Who do we consider better? The one with the best technique, or the one who won the most trophies? And among the trophy winners, what counts most, number or variety? Do we consider heroic comebacks, the quality of the rivals, the lenght of a career? Do we deal in "what ifs" such as "what if Borg hadn't retired"?
So all this GOAT talk is mostly an exercise in conversation and/or debate. Pick your GOAT and defend his/her case. Right now, my 2 top candidates would be Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Even if Roger is 1 GS short of Pete, he has many other accomplishments over him, including several RG finals, lost to the greatest clay court player of ALL TIME.

grafight , 2/5/09 6:08 PM

+1 to everything grafight said above

RickyDimon , 2/5/09 6:27 PM

What is the best movie of all time? The best piece of music? The best city, anyone?

Have a look at the article "Tennis: The Hall of GOATs Debate" on the bleacher report website, for a pretty comprehensive list of other things you would need to consider if you believe it is possible to choose the one and only GOAT.

Also, dwarfing somewhat the accomplishments of some of the male goats, sorry I mean greats, are such luminaries as Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Margaret Court.

chlorostoma , 2/5/09 8:16 PM

Well that's a completely different discussion. There was zero parity in the women's game until about three or four years ago.

RickyDimon , 2/5/09 10:06 PM

Weeks at no.1, slams, circumstances, playing field strength and record against chief rivals; in no particular order. I'd say Sampras, but I'd also say I'd consider it to be Federer if he starts winning the big ones against Nadal and breaks the slam record.

Funniest thing is, we might see Rafa Nadal as the GOAT if he continues like this. Or it could be someone else. Nadal will eventually get there if he stays healthy and keeps his rivals at bay. You can bet he will work his heart out to achieve this. If Roger Federer does not win Wimbledon this year, I find it hard to think he will win a slam with Rafa around.

This does not mean he can be doubted. He has won 13 slams, and I remember how a lot of Sampras fans had lost faith in him until he came back to win a 14th. Federer has all the ability to do it, all he needs is to toughen up mentally and work on areas of his game. These areas would seem insignificant given he has such amazing talent off the ground, but nevertheless, they will make him a better player.

samprallica , 2/5/09 11:16 PM

Women Tennis is weird, how the hell did Steffi Graf won 22? Federer and Pete is nowhere near that and also Nadal. Maybe because women are not mentally strong. I dunno.

I think Fed should change to a 2-handed backhand. Seriously, a one-handed backhand does not do well against a shoulder high top spin from Nadal. It's not hard to see that Nadal's strategy is to exploit this. I will definitely say that Fed is the most talented player of all time if he is able to change to a 2-handed backhand at 27 years old.

Seriously, who can tell me what Fed can do to improve?

torres9 , 2/6/09 2:49 AM

Roger federer to improve..I think we r talkin about crazy things here but ...
First of all he needs to take lessons for volleying from pete sampras ,fed has a good volley but nadal being such a great athelete it has to b perfect to get a winner...
as Torres pointed out the single handed backhand is an issue but u cant ask him 2 change it 2 a double handed is insane, now that adds to the class of the man..He faces problems playing high backhands with the tremendous top spin nadal imparts he has to manage it sm how ....The third thing is closing out the set ,he always faces problems closing the last game, may b his emotions take over ... Owing to the backhand the french title will elude federer as long as nadal is around..but who knows may be he would... He is no normal guy..

jibi , 2/6/09 6:59 AM

No doubt Rafa is "good", VERY "good"... Federer aside! The guy just "CRIED" when he lost his last game for God sake! I don't think we should take those tears in vain. What I mean is I don't think someone who he willing to cry for something, especially someonte like the likes of Roger Federer who "CLAIMS" to love this game probably more than anything else in his life is going to let go of his "love" that easily. It makes more sense that Federer is going to do "whatever" is necessary to come back! Watch for it! Let's face it, we all know he "can do it". It would make no sense if he didn't. Except for on clay, I've never gotten the impression that Rafa has blown the Fed off court. Rafa won, but it could have easily gone the other way! Most likely Federer will get a coach to help him achieve this "whatever". I don't believe he will go at it alone much longer, now that he has lost 5 GS to RAFA! It makes perfect sense to me that Federer "will" make changes. Otherwise it would be like giving up on what he (Federer) loves the most. If he plans to retire that would be different, but he is only 27 "AND" last I read he is still saying he will be with us for quite some time yet. I mean I love how Rafa is showing MENTAL duffness, and 100% every play, but Federer is Federer, and he "will" not give up, and he will find a way. It my opinion it is more logical to think he will make the changes to win, than to think otherwise...

sky , 2/6/09 1:24 PM

p.s.= people can change at 27, it is not unheard of LOL I know that Federer has displayed a huge ego, but I think he is up to the task, it is a "great" opportunity for him to grow up a little which will be necessary (in my opinion) to achieve this goal. More than anything the growing up will allow him to develop more mental tuffness against Nadal (an obvious necessity)

sky , 2/6/09 1:52 PM

Federer needs to get better on his volleys for sure. Too often he misses floaters - he does hit some insane half volleys, but great shots don't make up for missing the basic ones. And the return of serve against Nadal. Its alright to block against the others, but against Nadal he should look for a way of preventing Nadal to come up with the first punch. Granted Nadal is a guy who will stay in the point, but the more you take away the first offensive from him, the better chance you have of winning the point. He needs to step in more.

Well, as for closing out games, that probably calls for a routine or mental pattern that would help him. Notice how Rafa's routines help him keep his mind from anything negative. While playing, you're focused on the point, but Rafa is focusing on his routine in between points. It prevents unnecessary thinking.

samprallica , 2/6/09 2:06 PM

Let's see if Rafa can show dominance for FIVE STRAIGHT YEARS! Will his body hold up, esp. his knees? Only time will tell.

P.S. No need for Roger to get a two-handed backhand...come on!

Rafterfan , 2/6/09 3:21 PM

Very good point Rafterfan. The way Rafa plays it will be "highly" unlikely that he will be able to maintain/sustain that level of stamina from his knees... More than likely Federer will answer by way of achieving the necessary transition.

sky , 2/6/09 4:00 PM

Rafterfan and sky, i don't rafa is the one worrying about how long he will dominate, you guys are. it's not about how long, it's about maximizing his potential and if in doing so he dominates for a long period of time, that's good! if not, so be it! he's not competing with federer to see who can last the longest! ask yourselves, whether federer has had the same level of challenges doing his dominance that nadal has right now and will have in the future. so, it's silly to compare rafa's longevity at the top with federer's! until nadal came along, federer did not face any real level of competition consistently and you know it. for the most part, players did not believe that they could beat roger. face it, it's a different story now! that's not to say that federer won't tie sampras record or go beyond, but it is to say that it will be more difficult to achieve.

memi , 2/6/09 6:28 PM

It all started way back then when federer won Oz Open, WImby and Us Open in 2002 I think. After that year, everyone is scared except Nadal. That is why Fed got the invincibility aura. Now Nadal has won 3 out of the last 4 slams. But I sense that people are not getting scared of him as they are scared of Federer back then. I think players were scared when they played Sampras at his prime too. It is a result of winning a lot. Now Nadal has won a lot. He has the momentum and the extra edge of psychological advantage.

It will take a huge effort by the new generation to stop Nadal. Who can challenge him in Roland Garros this year? Seriously, who? I'm not gonna be a stupid man saying Fed will. Who? I think nobody.

torres9 , 2/6/09 6:35 PM

The year was 2004. At RG, I don't think anyone in history challenges Nadal. Anywhere else, it takes a determined soul with the right arsenal.

samprallica , 2/6/09 8:04 PM

WOW! great comments everyone!
About the women, Serena Jameka (no, it was her own idea) Williams is my favorite for the GOAT title. She has 20 GS between singles, doubles and mixed, plus 2 Gold in the Olympics in doubles. All of that against the strongest competition in history, and her career isn't over yet. Another reason why I like her is that habitual Idiot Pat Cash dissed her when she said in '07 that she would be back to #1.
I don't think we can really compare the men and women unless they'd play each other in the circuit regularly.
Back to Nadal: I disagree with all who say his career will be cut short because his game is too physical and takes too much out of him. He can handle it, and yes he takes a beating because he, by virtue of winning, plays more matches. It's normal to be tired by the end of the season, and it's normal to have joint concerns. That could happen to any player. Rafa HAS to play at full steam every match, because that's who he is. That won't change, but I think if anyone can sustain that level of play and that intensity, it's Rafa.

grafight , 2/6/09 8:06 PM

Serena said her most significant win(jokingly) was a win in a practice match with Andy Roddick which she won-6-2. I don't know. Half of me think she should be playing in men's singles. Her biceps is almost as big as Nadal's. But Justine owned her. I think Justine has the best one-handed backhand in tennis.

torres9 , 2/6/09 8:55 PM

Personally I'm not concerned with how long Rafa will or will not last. I don't particularly care for his style of playing, although I admire his tenacity, and mental prowess. No doubt no-one will challenge him in France, well maybe Verdasco?! LOL My prime concern is with the Fed. There is no doubt in my mind that Roger will win more GS, to equal and pass Sampras (given time), but wouldn't be something if it was done soon (this year for instance while Rafa is still HOT?!). "THAT" I'm excited about! Doing while Rafa is still HOT! "THAT" would be "FUN" tennis indeed! LOL

sky , 2/6/09 9:40 PM

Hi Ricky who decides the GOAT , the ATP? the players association ? or is it something fans just decide for themselves , when it is impossible to pit players from different era or even their circumstances , how is it even possible to decide this. There can never be a GOAT. There can only be a 'Greatest of His Time'. I dont see the point of this lengthy blog. Maybe you could enlighten me by telling who the current GOAT is?

nirv01 , 2/6/09 10:01 PM

Sky, it ain't gonna happen at RG. And between Rafa and Andy and others, I don't think Roger will get both Wimby and the UO. But he will get his 14 and 15 in time. And, above all, if he rises to his new challenges we'll be treated to exciting tennis.

chlorostoma , 2/6/09 10:03 PM

if she was talking about pansy federer at rg he'll never get it. federer will never win that title if he has to get through a healthy nadal on clay. in a best of five on the dirt in paris, federer won't win it or even get close.

trixxyfest , 2/7/09 1:50 AM

Great read...thanks.

We are finally start to witness that talent that Nadal brings to the game. He's compiled a huge lead (13-6) against Federer. And while Fed fans quickly pointed out that most of those wins were on clay, most too were also a "kid" Nadal of 18, 19 and 20.

What's scary is he's still getting better. At a more development 22, he's now formidable on any surface. And given his performance in 2008's French Open, he's even more of terror on clay.

You are correct in noting that Rafa's too young at 22 to be considered the GOAT. But he has accomplished significantly more in a number of key stats than Federer did at the same age.

We need to see Rafa stay relatively injury free -- one ingredient of Roger's success -- for him to enter the GOAT debate.

Some commentators have noted if Roger can tie or surpass Pistol Pete's record of 14 Grand Slam titles he'll be the newly crowned GOAT.

But who says Sampras was the best?

I argue a number of factors should go into the GOAT debate. You can read that here:

thaidiamond , 2/21/09 10:22 AM

I cannot understand this: if Federer cannot beat Nadal to win Roland Garros, just like Nadal beat him in Wimbledon and AO, how can Federer be in the debate for GOAT?

regguid , 2/21/09 1:47 PM

Because Sampras could not win Roland Garros his whole career. Even if other players such as Agassi won a career grand slam, they have never displayed dominace like what Fed did. Nadal can be the best if he wins 16 Slams for sure.

torres9 , 2/21/09 2:30 PM

I see you also feel it worth mentioning that Fed had an extra day to rest before the AO finals. It seems some deny-ers feel I am the only one who notices it. Some tennis fans are just so observant. Nevermind that Verdasco mentioned and others have mentioned that AO is the only slam to have the SF on differents days which is unfair for the one with less time to rest.

I guess Fed's accusation of Nadal being one-dimentional has nicely come back to bite him in the arse!

homos , 2/21/09 4:56 PM

Homos - both of these points were discussed at length before and during the final match: Federer having an extra days rest (hence a big reason why he was favorite) and day differential with SF's. I believe I heard Martina on the TC made a strong statement that the SF thing was very unfair and needed to be changed. Also, the extra day off thing was yet another reason fans were shocked when Fed ran out of gas in the 5th.

tenisbebe , 2/21/09 6:02 PM

RAFA showed to everyone that there's no EXCUSE if you really want to win.
Any "normal" player would have easily wilted in front of the great FED, but Rafa is Rafa... nothing's impossible.

agf25agf , 2/21/09 8:01 PM

Fed's comments always benefit other players because it is honest and true. At that point where Rafa was young he was really one-dimensional. Of course now he isn't. Maybe Rafa felt the need to prove Fed is wrong. So it is constructive critism. Murray also benefited from Fed's assessment that he plays too passive (Murray's mom admitted to this). So it's not all bad when Fed assess other players because he is the best.

torres9 , 2/22/09 11:07 AM

torres9 to add to your wondeRFul post-Murray's mom also added that Roger is the guy Andy respects the most on tour and that Roger's assessment was a wake-up call for him, as upto that point he was a little subborn.

janhavi , 2/22/09 11:47 AM

sure, as long as roger remembers that before he improved to win the majors, he wasn't the best. But did the greats of that time accuse him of being one-dimentional? This is a guy who never seems to forget where he started. Even after he became no. 2, it was "I am a GS champion or no. 1 but not no. 2". He should assess himself because he is not the best.

remi , 2/22/09 11:51 AM

ummm....actually he received plenty of flak from other greats before he won his first major and even after that for a while....and although Roger called Nadal's game one-dimensional he also stated that his game was effective,just not very layered thats all.Now as to the sentence you pointed out.You make a good point.Only he said he felt 'awkward' to be introduced as no 2 .He also stated countless times that Rafa was the deserving no 1 this year.He also said in his pre-tournament interview in Toronto( just after Wimby) that in an ideal setting-Rafa should've been the no 1. .And he does assess himself from what I've read and seen in his interviews.He just dosent have a highly reputed coach(Severin Luthi travels with him though) and finding a coach isnt all that easy.This is in no way a slight against your opinion.Its merely my observation .

janhavi , 2/22/09 12:06 PM

No not taking it as a slight and appreciate your observation which is very valid. What I do remember is that many greats - and I'm sure fans - seemed to feel frustrated when Fed was 'supposed' to do well when he was exected but couldn't seem to get past round 3 of the slams before he found his footing. What flak did he get and from who? an you remember? I'm curious since that's not what I've read. Would be interested to know more.

remi , 2/22/09 12:19 PM

A lot from the likes of John Mcenroe& Jim Courier( who now adores and if I remember correctly even Darren Cahill...He received a lot of criticism not for his game but for the emotional aspect and also for his inability to make use of the variety he had in his game( somewhat like Murray,till last year..if you remember the kind of criticism Murray got before the USO).I remember John Mcenroe saying he was an underachiever upto the point of winning Wimbledon.A lot was written about how he could not focus when it came to the important points.People thought he was talented but criticised him for his horrible temper.Fed himself says he was very bad when it came to controlling his emotions.

janhavi , 2/22/09 12:36 PM

For example when he beat Sampras, Sampras said Fed is 'the best wind player' which means that if there's no wind then he should have won. 'One-dimensional' is just a statement. Nadal was one-dimensional. Now he have variation. But to say Nadal is GOAT is premature. For example, now Murray is getting the measure of Nadal. So after some time, Murray's gonna be beating Nadal as frequently as Nadal is beating Fed and then, we'll have this talk again. Sampras did have a good record against his rivals but then as he got older, Hewitt and Safin were winning against him too. So, just a matter of time before Nadal gets knocked off the No.1, most likely by Murray.

torres9 , 2/22/09 12:41 PM never have a sure shot at whose going to be knocked out by whom....
In all honesty I do not always like what Federer says.I've said this before-I sometimes feel he shouldn't be so open in his interviews.But when I really think about it..thats the reason I like him.I personally do not like political correctness.Like the President of the All Englad Club once said-Roger is very natural and very pleasant.And its the 'natural' factor I like about him.Oh yeah..and Darren Cahill once said to Peter Carter(Fed's mentor who died in an accident) that Federer shanked a lot of balls, his backhand was poor..and all that.

Now over to Nadal ..geez..I'm going off-topic.Sorry.I do believe Nadal was highly underrated upto this point and did not receive due recognition even after winning Wimbledon.Like CM said-there can always be two superheroes.I dont know if Nadal will be the GOAT..Actually I feel GOAT talk is nonsense since every all-time great has set ridiculous records.One reason why I usually refrain from joining GOAT related topics.

janhavi , 2/22/09 1:01 PM

thanks guys appreciate the comments. janhavi, i did come across those comments from some. sorry I thought you were referring to comething completely different. yeah some people said he was underachieving. I felt it was more their frustration because there was no doubt Fed had the ability, he just needed the time. I felt frustrated because I was a fan too. torres I don't disagree but many people prematurely talk about a lot of things, espeically when there's little else to talk about. Entering the GOAT discussion as articled here is not abnormal but of course nadal is not the GOAT - only entering the discussion. Also, and I agree with janhavi here, it's very hard and rather subjective to compare. You say a list of things, than someone else come by and talk about the competition of rivals and how Fed/Sampras' wasn't like Lendl's, etc, etc and the discussion never ends. But good, reasonable discussions, if can be maintained, can be very intereting when fans put forward their opinions.
Bottom line: who on earth can remain top forever? There's always gonna be a challenge for the spot. That's why I've been able to be a fan for years. Soon as one favourite or top player leaves the top spot the next interesting potential comes around for us to talk about. I love this sport.

remi , 2/22/09 1:52 PM

^^Hear hear! These are the discussions I love and we finally seem to be getting there.I agree with everything of what you said!

janhavi , 2/22/09 3:37 PM

I agree with you both. I guess good things come and go. One day Fed is gonna watch from his stands like Borg did watching maybe Grigor Dimitrov trying to equal his 5 in a row in Wimby and US Open. ^^

torres9 , 2/22/09 3:55 PM

the title of this article "Nadal enters GOAT discussion by beating Federer"........ultimately proves Fed being GREATEST OF ALL TIME .

tomnjerry2 , 2/23/09 5:15 AM

If an article comes out later on titled "Fed confirmed as GOAT by beating Nadal in French Open", would it mean that ultimately proves Rafa being GOAT?

remi , 2/23/09 6:12 AM

yeah dude !!!!!! coz 1 becomes GOAT only beating another GOAT, none else !!!!!!! its just a simple logic !!!!!!!!!!!!!

tomnjerry2 , 2/23/09 6:52 AM


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