‘Nothing changes. Federer is the greatest’: Former French Open champion | Tennis News - Hindustan Times

'Nothing changes for me. Federer is the greatest': Former French Open champion makes sensational 'GOAT' remark

Jun 15, 2023 12:42 PM IST

The former French Open champion made a strong remark as he talked about the ‘GOAT’ debate in men's tennis.

The Great of All Time (GOAT) debate of tennis — deciding who amongst the three of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic is the ATP tour’s best — has been a narrative for over a decade now, with every tennis fan and spectator holding their own opinion and arguing for it. Djokovic, in winning the French Open on Sunday, became the record holder for most number of grand slams, eclipsing Nadal and reaching 23. He also holds the record for most weeks spent at number one in the rankings, most ATP Masters titles, and tied for World Tour Finals victories.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic during the Laver Cup 2022(Action Images via Reuters)
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic during the Laver Cup 2022(Action Images via Reuters)

The numbers all speak in favour of Djokovic, holding him clear of his great rivals. Even at 36-years-old, he looks to be among the fittest player on the tour, and still remains the man to beat for all the challengers. However, former world number four Adriano Panatta holds the opinion that all these numbers do not change the complexion of the debate.

Also read: Nick Kyrgios' audacious challenge to Novak Djokovic ahead of Wimbledon 2023: 'If it's not me...'

Speaking to Corriere della Serra, the Italian former Roland Garros winner claimed “For me, nothing changes – Roger Federer is the greatest. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics. And not even of statistics, which they like so much but leave the time they find.”

“Let me explain better – in the few years that he has played, Borg has concentrated more Grand Slam victories than Djokovic, Nadal and Federer combined,” continued Panatta. The Italian’s most memorable feat is to be the only player to have beaten Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros. The Swede racked up 11 grand slam titles in only 27 appearances across his short but memorable career, as well as 5 finals appearances. He boasted of a 49-2 record at the French Open, both coming to Panatta early in his career.

Borg’s accomplishments are all the more remarkable for showcasing his dominance over a small period of time, as well as the fact that he only once ever travelled to Australia for the Australian Open, as a 17-year-old. Many of his contemporaries consider him to be amongst the greatest male players of the 20th century, right up alongside Rod Laver.

“Let’s do this – they’re all great. There is no greatest,” concluded Panatta. “Each dominates the historical period of his. Comparisons don’t make too much sense, they’re just journalistic whims: rackets, courts, balls, the way of being on the court and playing tennis change. [Everything] changes.”

Djokovic will look to extend his dominance of this era with a sixth consecutive title at Wimbledon, overtaking Borg’s record of 5 which he sealed with the famous victory over John McEnroe in the 1980 final, which went to 8-6 in the fifth set.

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