Australian doubles great Todd Woodbridge has given his take on the ‘GOAT’ race in men’s tennis. The legend said that the fact that Roger Federer doesn’t have a winning record against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic sets him back in the race for the greatest.
Though Federer, with 20 Major titles, is currently tied with Nadal for the most number of Grand Slam trophies, he trails both his prime adversaries in head-to-head battles.
Federer is comfortably behind the Spaniard with a win/loss record of 16-24. His head-to-head record against the Serb is marginally better at 23-27.
Woodbridge said that while some of Federer’s feats in men’s tennis are truly unmatched and may stand the test of time, his track record against the other two in the ‘Big Three’ – combined moniker for Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic – makes it difficult for him to put the Swiss ahead in the ‘GOAT’ race.
However, Woodbridge, speaking to Wide World of Sports, gave Federer the label of the “greatest all-court player”.
“He’s (Federer) the greatest all-court player. (But) I find it hard to suggest (that) he’s the greatest (of all time) when he doesn’t have a winning record over Rafa and Novak,” Woodbridge said. He said Nadal spoiled Federer’s Grand Slam record by winning as many French Open titles as he has.
Woodbridge added that the race for the greatest would have turned out better for the Swiss if he could have taken at least three Roland-Garros titles off the Spaniard. Nadal has 13 French Open titles to his credit, with the latest landing in his kitty this year. He said:
“But his (Federer’s) game style, the way he’s carried himself – Rafa spoiled it by dominating the French Open with 13 Grand Slam titles. If Roger could have won three of them and Rafa just 10 – well then yes, he would’ve been (the greatest of all time),” the 22-time Major winner said.
At 39, Federer, by his own admission, isn’t likely to carry on for too long.
And with Nadal and Djokovic still having some tennis years ahead of them, provided they stay fit and motivated, they are likely to race for most Major titles once Federer goes.
At an award show in Switzerland, Federer effectively ruled himself out of the Australian Open next year, saying he was unsure how long his frail knees could hold.