Who has taken more from the other, Roger or Rafa?
Ask the hipothetical question: How would Roger's career be at this point if Rafa didn't exist in the tennis world? He'd probably have between 4 and 6 GS more (has lost 5 GS finals to Nadal & one RG semi) plus potentially two CYGS in 2006 and 2007 (lost in both years the RG final to Nadal but won all the other GS). On top of that, he'd probably have 3 or 4 more MS (has lost 1 MS final in Rome and 3 in Monaco, both MS he's never won) plus maybe one ATP 500 (Dubai 2006 final, lost in 3 sets).
Another thing to be considered is that he would have probably ended 2008 as number 1 in the world so right now he'd arguably have 6 consecutive years as year-end number 1 and this year would be looking for another more to break Sampras' record.
Now let's do the same for Rafa. How well would he have fared without Roger on his way? He'd probably have 2 more Wimby titles plus 2 or 3 more MS (lost Miami 2005, Hamburg 2007 and Madrid 2009, all finals) and maybe 1 or 2 TMC (lost in semis in 2006 and 2007). To top all this, he would have arguably ended 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 ranked as the number 1 player in the world making a total of 5 straight years as year-end number 1 and this year he'd be looking to tie Sampras' record.
That said, this is purely hipothetical of course. It can always be argued that the fierce rivalry between this 2 has made both of them better competitors and players and that maybe neither Fed or Rafa would have been as good or ambitious in their careers had they not had to push themselves so much to beat the other. I think there might be some truth in this, especially for Rafa given that I've always thought (and this is just my opinion of course) that having a player so good ahead of him has made him push himself more and more to be better.
In any case, it's still kind of frightening to consider how much Fed has taken away from Rafa and viceversa. It's really quite impressive.
Imagine Fed with 6 consecutive years as number 1, between 20 and 22 GS, about 20 MS and one or two CYGS. That's what you would be tempted to call the undisputed GOAT, no?
Last edited by abraxas21; 03-11-2010 at 08:48 PM.