HE may be the current King of New York, but Rafael Nadal will never be the greatest tennis player of all time. The reason? As long as Roger Federer graces this earth that title is already taken.
Nadal will more than likely surpass the Swiss Master's grand slam record after closing the gap to three thanks to his recent US Open triumph. At 31 - five-years younger than Federer - Nadal is a lock for at least two more French Open crowns and you can throw in a few of the "other" slams for good measure with a reasonable level of confidence.
And sure, Rafa is well ahead of his great rival when it comes to Masters titles, owning a record 30 to Federer's 26. Oh, and The King of Clay owns a shining gold Olympic singles medal, something missing from the Swiss's bulging trophy cabinet.
So it seems - by the numbers - that there is no question if he already isn't then it's just a matter of time until Nadal takes the GOAT mantle from the men's grand slam record holder.
But here's why it's not so cut and dry.
Sure, all sport is judged by numbers, but individual sports less so. Is there any disputing Muhammad Ali (five losses) and Sugar Ray Robinson (19 losses) are better than Floyd Mayweather who has never lost? No, there is no argument.
Ali transcended boxing and sport in general with his lightning wit, incredibly polarising opinions, and unmatched beauty in the ring. Federer, though very different, has also transcended his sport by becoming the most universally loved sportsperson on the planet. Part of that love comes from is his exquisite style - how tennis was meant to be played. A ballet dancer with a racket. His single-handed backhand a thing of beauty compared to Rafa's truncated double-handed jab. Gliding across the court, not scurrying. There's a reason the great "Rocket" Rod Laver's favourite ever player is Federer - he's just so good to watch.
Off the court Rafael Nadal is squeaky clean. But his lack of emotion and troubling obsessive compulsive ways make him much harder to love.
Federer is a marketer's dream; good looks, family man, stylish. And he has never put a foot out of place to hurt that image. And as the years wear on, Federer's class has become more and more pronounced - when both winning and losing.
These elements must be taken into consideration when entering the greatest of all time debate.
That's why when Federer's grand slam record is broken - by Nadal or anyone else - he will always be the GOAT.
Definition of tennis: Roger Federer
GOAT debate: Why Roger Federer will never be surpassed by Rafael Nadal as greatest of all time | Daily Telegraph
I thought I'd share this article to show what I meant in a previous comment regarding the level of hatred or dismissal of Rafa by English speaking Western media and pundits. This is just one example, and these type of articles are very common in the English speaking Western media. You can tell what this writer is implying but he doesn't want to come out and say it. Shows absolutely zero respect for Rafa's achievements. This article is what I meant when I said this:
Originally Posted by careergrandslam
One of the reasons Nadal will never get the recognition he deserves from the English speaking Western media and English speaking Western pundits is that he is not an English speaking Westerner. English speaking Western media and pundits will always support their own people over Spanish speaking people.
It's the same in music, sports, politics, etc.
This topic is not discussed because it's controversial but it's one of the reasons Rafa will never get the recognition he deserves.
They dismiss Spanish speaking players as 'clay court specialists' that have no right to win outside of clay. That's why they hate it when Nadal or another Spanish speaking player from Spain or South America does well in AO, Wim, USO.
Djokovic also faces discrimination because he is Eastern European.