Sunday, 19 September 2021 07:20 GMT

Is Federer the Greatest of All Time?

(MENAFN - Swissinfo) Federer and Djokovic playing doubles together in the Laver Cup in 2018. Are they the two greatest male tennis players ever – and if so, who's the best? Or does someone else deserve the GOAT vote? Keystone / Jim Young

As Swiss tennis star Roger Federer turns 40 on Sunday, talk of his retirement, legacy and place among the tennis gods is increasing. Is he the GOAT, the Greatest of All Time? We want you to decide in a poll – after considering the cases of the five main (male) contenders.

This content was published on August 5, 2021 - 09:00 August 5, 2021 - 09:00

Born in London, Thomas was a journalist at The Independent before moving to Bern in 2005. He speaks three official Swiss languages and enjoys travelling the country and practising them, above all in pubs, restaurants and gelaterias.

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  • 中文 (zh) 费德勒算不算史上最伟大网球选手?

Few things whip fans into a frenzy as much as debating who's the best of the best in a particular sport. Marciano or Ali? Comăneci or Biles? Pelé or Maradona – or Messi or Ronaldo? Someone else?

In many respects it's a daft exercise: advances in nutrition and technology – and general levels of professionalism – make it impossible and meaningless to compare sprinter Jesse Owens (1913-1980) with Usain Bolt (b.1986), or Swiss skiing legend Vreni Schneider (b.1964) with Lindsey Vonn (b.1984).

When it comes to tennis, inter-era comparisons are especially tough. Until 1968 and the start of the so-called Open Era, professionals were banned from competing in the four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open). There was also the move away from wooden rackets in the early 1980s (Yannick Noah was the last male player to win a grand slam title with a wooden racket, in 1983).

But it's fun! So here we go. For my money, the five players in the running for the GOAT vote are – in alphabetical order – Björn Borg, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rod Laver and Rafael Nadal. Yes, this list is obviously subjective – if you disagree, let me know below! And yes, how do you define“greatest”? The criterion that gets the most attention is the number of grand slam titles. I've also considered – to varying degrees – weeks spent at No.1 in the world rankings, other records, beauty of their game/watchability, natural talent and versatility.

Björn Borg


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