Rafael Nadal beat his rival Roger Federer for a 22nd time with a 75, 63 victory over the Swiss in the semifinals today at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
In addition to the Miami Masters, the tournament is one of the few that Nadal has never won. But with Nadal closing in on Federer’s Slam mark and with Olympics and Davis Cup already won, the debate continues over who’s the best. It’s a conversation Nadal wants to avoid.
“I believe is 100% fair that people say that because he is today,” Nadal said of people saying Federer is the GOAT.
“Always say the same: is not fair to analyze the history of any player only for the Grand Slams. Everyone who is around this world knows that the tennis is not only the Grand Slams. There is a lot of things outside the Grand Slams. Roger have an unbelievable records outside of Grand Slams. For sure, in Grand Slams, he the player who win more.
“But I never saw play Rod Laver, but I know his history. He was away of playing the Grand Slams for a few years because he became professional. He was able to win all four before and all four after. So today the question is not about me or Roger, will be more about Rod Laver or Roger. But I never had the chance to see Rod Laver play.
“Hopefully when I finish my career, we’ll see where I am in the history of tennis.”
About the match, Nadal said Federer played aggressively, but the key was at 5-5 when Nadal broke Roger again.
“I think Roger played really aggressive, that’s my feeling,” Nadal said. “The beginning, his serve worked very well. My feeling is in the first set, he played very well. He was closer than me to have the break. So in my opinion until 4‑all, he was playing better than me, in my opinion.
“The key of the match was probably the 5‑all after he had the break back in the first set when I was serving for the set. Had the break another time. Put 6‑5 in my favor. That was very important.”
Nadal now has his sights set of the final tomorrow against either Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka.
“Is true that this tournament is special and I never had the chance to win here,” he said. “So will be great if any year I have the chance to finish the year with a victory. But I know remain a lot of work, probably the most difficult one. And that’s fine, no? I think if I don’t play my best tomorrow, I don’t gonna have chances. I need to play more aggressive.”
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