There is no equipment, instrument or tool to measure greatness. Greatness is achieved through longevity, temperament, skill and standing firm during the thick and thins. Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the two modern greats, who have enjoyed their remarkable success & domination on the tennis courts.
Imagine a situation. Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, a decider set. Both the players are going for a kill and suddenly you feel like peeing. If you are a real sports enthusiast, you would hold the pressure and wait for the match to finish. The contest is once in a lifetime moment, no one wants to take the eye off the screen. Fans wish they could enter the TV screen and hug their favorite players.
Let’s not use our logical brain comparing both the greats. Enjoy the feat that we lived in the era of Federer’s, Nadal’s and Djokovic’s. The point of discussion could be the number of grand slam won by these greats, all time ranking points and rivalries.
This is a point of debate for almost a decade, who is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) and will Rafael Nadal surpass Roger Federer tally of single grand slams. The cat and mouse race still continues after a decade, Roger Federer holds the world record of 20 grand slams and Nadal is just 3 short to the magical figure. He had 17 single grand slams in the pocket.
Is Age Just a Number?
Roger Federer had celebrated his 37th birthday last week, if he wins another grand slam, it will be just another record for him. He will become the oldest singles grand slam winner of all time overtaking Ken Rosewall landmark, who won the Australian open in 1972. At the time, he was 37 years and 63 days old.
The Swiss legend looks hungry like a wolf, ready to hunt at least 5 more grand slams in his illustrious career. There is no stopping him, fans won’t surprise if he wins the grand slam at 40. The man is flying in the stratosphere of greatness and invincibility. Age is just a number for him, until any major injury or loss in form halts his journey.
On the other hand, Rafael Nadal is only 31 years of age, 6 years younger to Federer. The Spaniard has all the time in the world to challenge Federer invincibility and claimed the title of GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Although, Novak Djokovic is also in the race and is two years younger to Rafael Nadal, but the Serb too far with only 12 grand slams in his kitty.
So, marking a hypothetical line between the imagination and truth, let’s consider some scenarios to make you understand the current rankings of these players, their dominance on different courts and finally, who will emerge as victorious in the tug of war.
Roger Federer winning streak will halt due to poor form and injuries and most probably will sign off on a high. Roger Federer is no more a grass court tornado and has enjoyed mediocre success on clay courts, whereas Nadal is in fourth gear and will dominate the clay court for atleast 3-4 years.
Media slammed Rafael Nadal, the injury prone towel baby, but the fact is except 2009, 2015 & 2016 Nadal has made to every French Open finals and won. Blue court, green court or clay court, there is no stopping Rafa. The Spaniard bullet train has no brakes.
Where Roger Federer looks like an old Lion, not ready to lose its throne, Rafa is the only contender to challenge the quest. May the best man win? The final tally should be Roger Federer- 22 grand slams, Rafael Nadal- 23-25 grand slams.
Using all the permutations and combinations, there is a scenario, where actually finishes as victorious, having an upper hand over all the contemporaries. Suddenly, a new star emerges eclipsing the old stalwarts. You never know the new star dethrone the current champions and re-write the history books.
This will halt the winning chariot of legends like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic from winning the grand slams. Unfortunately, there is no player in the circuit matching the skill and temperament of these players. So, this is just a rare hypothetical scenario.
Only some career-threatening injury can stop Rafa from overtaking Federer. Nadal is not mild, he is a naked wire generating 1100 volts current every second. He has a physically demanding playing style, completely ruthless in nature. Somewhere down the line, his playing style has lead to serious injuries stopping him to record his attendance on tennis court.
Injuries often play a major role in his slump form and downfall. He lacks consistency and must take a leaf out of Federer’s fitness regime book.
Somehow, Roger Federer finds his Midas touch and turns everything into gold. He finishes the year 2019 with a golden slam completely demolishing the opponents and even at least 2 grand slams every year until he retires.
The other part is that Nadal and Djokovic shouldn’t win any grand slam between these periods, may be Stanilas Wawrinka takes over the control. Chances are less, but still a possibility. You never know with these legends, when people write them off, they rise from the ashes like a phoenix. It has happened with Tiger Woods, Sachin Tendulkar, Pele and Michael Jordan in the past. Expect the unexpected with the legends.
There could be a tie situation. Both Rafa and Federer share the record for most number of singles grand slam titles won. Roger Federer might raise the bar and ends up with 28 grand slams. Nadal is 6 years younger and if he wins atleast 2 grand slams per year, the final tally will be around 28.
It could a tie, safeguarding the honor and integrity of both the legends in the eyes of their fans. Both the players are beyond the statistics, they are the institution of wisdom and persistence.