Fedal Wars: Federer Admits Nadal Could Catch His Grand Slam Total “Quickly”
by Sean Randall | March 10th, 2015, 4:27 pm

Thankfully for many of you, it’s been a while since we’ve had a “Fedal Wars” thread. But this recent quote from Roger Federer opened the door. Sorry guys!

Federer, who was in New York for tonight’s exo match against Grigor Dimitrov, admitted yesterday that with a few more French Open titles Rafael Nadal could very well catch his Grand Slam haul of 17.

“If he wins the French Open a few more times and I don’t win any more, then clearly he can catch me very quickly,” Federer said.

And Roger’s right.

At 33, Federer maybe has 1-2 more Slams left in him, most likely at Wimbledon.

If Nadal can stay healthy – a big if! – and motivated, he could easily win 2-3 more French Opens and who knows what else, provided he gets through Novak Djokovic. Rafa will be 29 in a few months so the clock (and his body) is ticking. But he only needs three to catch Roger.

So could he do it? On paper he sure could. But this year I think he’ll have to get two more Slams to have a chance. I just don’t think Rafa can win multiple Majors in his 30s. Not with the issues he’s had with his body.

Luckily for Rafa, I don’t see any of the young guys making a strong push on the clay, so it looks like it will stay Djokovic and Rafa for the next few years. But Djokovic is getting close.

And Roger is still playing good tennis. The guy is still ranked No. 2!

“That’s not why I’m still on tour, just to remind you guys,” Federer quipped of the thought.

“I hope to make it more difficult for them,” he said of Nadal and Djokovic. “But at the end of the day, records are there to be broken.”

Warning: If you don’t want to talk “Fedal”, go somewhere else. In keeping with the spirit of this debate, this is an almost-anything goes thread.

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90 Comments for Fedal Wars: Federer Admits Nadal Could Catch His Grand Slam Total “Quickly”

Brando Says:


I read this earlier today. Thought about posting but then thought:

Nah some fed fans might throw a hissy fit over it!


Fed’s right. Nothing radical said here but ultimately it tells me:

IF Rafa were to ever surpass Fed then RF will be cool about it and take it like a pro. ”records are there to be broken”.

That’s telling about Fed’s mindset.

I think Fed’s fan are most obsessed about this than Fed and for sure IF Rafa passes Fed his fans not fed will throw a b—-fit over it!

Markus Says:

Fed fans should take note. Roger is OK with it if it happens and it can happen. Roger is old. There isn’t anybody in the horizon to block it except for Djokovic.

Brando Says:


‘Fed fans should take note. Roger is OK with it if it happens and it can happen. ‘:

Spot on Markus!

They need to lay off being a sour, petty and b—-y towards Rafa about it since if the man who’s record it is can be all cool about it, not have a problem then:

why are they being a b—h towards Rafa about it?

Makes no sense or reason to do so if the man in question is all cool about it.

Probably because Fed has a pair and can enjoy life and the Rafa haters do not have that capacity!

Tennis lover Says:

It’s possible unfortunately for Rafa it won’t happen ever I can bet on my life Rafa ain’t gonna win French open this year. Nadal will be regarded as top 5 greatest of all time.

brando Says:

“I can bet on my life Rafa ain’t gonna win French open this year. “: LOL, same old same old from the haters!

sienna Says:

This way he puts pressure on Nadal.
Good thinking on Feds part.

About time Nadal will feel burden of slamleader.
He had a good thing going in the limelight, but press will pick up and pressure along.

brando Says:

Lol: Fed doesn’t have the brightest light bulbs as his fans does he? So much genius already on display from them.

calmdownplease Says:

zzzzzzzzz to inifinity!
(And beyond).
THIS is one tennis discussion I will NOT miss reading or hearing about ever again.
Makes either one of their (not too distant in the future I hope) retirements a blessing really…

Tennis lover Says:

Brando, Nadal’s atrocious hold on French crown will come to an end this year when many predicted Rafa fall in 2014 I backed him to thump Djokovic. But, this is 2015 and Rafa won’t even reach final this time. Btw, I’m not Rafa hater. I used those phrase to underscore the inevitability of my assumption.

SG1 Says:

Brando…agreed. I don’t think that Nadal gives two damns what Federer thinks and any pressure Nadal feels is from within, not the rest of us or the press.

Brando Says:


Sorry TL but anyone who speaks definitively about the future, bets their life on it is just a plain idiot in my books.

I don’t care for whether you are a hater or not. You could be a fan: like I care.

But that definitive statement is one of a chumps in my book.

Brando Says:


Spot on. Nadal only cares for the internal ambition: he could not give a rat’s you know what as to what the press think.

Nor for Fed’s opinion. Not that he disrespects him but as Rafa once said: he’s about his own thing. He does not care others do or think since that’s them and their life.

He minds his own life and hustle. Period.

The ONLY shown in this is that Fed is cool about whatever happens and he’s a chill guy. He knows records are meant to broken and IF Rafa breaks fair play.

No drama from him nor Rafa.

Markus Says:

“…No drama from him nor Rafa?.” …Brando

I couldn’t agree more. The drama only comes from their followers. It makes for fun reading, though. So, come on guys. Do your spins.

chris ford1 Says:

IF not for Djokovic, a Rafa uninjured by their Madrid epic takes FO 2009 leaving Roger still seeking. At the start of 2011, Nadal had regrouped, demonstrated his dominance over Fed again and had in 2010 his best year ever and was going for a Serena Slam and passing Fed soon.
And a 2.0 version of his nemesis blew all that to hell.
We really don’t know if Fed can achieve new greatness. Being #2 is an incredible accomplishment in and of itself at 33 1/2.
Or how long Nadal can last.
Or how much Novak Djokovic can do in the next 5-6 years. He loves tennis as much as Fed, and signs point to him having similar longevity. Slam Count isn’t everything in the Pantheon of Tennis Greats.

aarontennis Says:

Even if Rafa does not produce great results at every slam except the French Open for the next few years, I still think that he can match Fed in slams. Roland Garros is his forte, and I think that he will always “show up” there. Who cares about the rest at this point – from a catching the record POV. No pressure if you really think about it considering that all players including Djokovic know that the French is his kismet.

Casmaran Moloch Says:

All this does really depend on Nadal and his physical issues. A healthy Nadal is almost bullet-proof on clay; strokes, determination, confidence, and reputation all coalesce there.
He’s much more vulnerable on other surfaces but always dangerous.

Federer’s performance has been spottier the last few years, but he’s showing some real grit lately. I wish he had made the equipment
and strategy changes sooner. Let’s hope for solid spring and summer this year; he’s had a fine start.

I never thought Sampras’ majors’ record would fall so soon, then Federer ripped through the last decade. If Nadal can hold it together to lap Federer, more power to him. But for the King of Clay, Federer’s majors’ total might truly be insurpassable.

Damien Mills Says:

Would be interesting to see what the odds-makers think of it…

Brando Says:

IMHO I see it like this:

The future? No one knows. Not I, you or anyone. It could occur we do not know. So I won’t bother with that crystal ball some enjoy playing.

All I know is:

Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have achieved immense, unbelievable success. If they are not already, one can wager that the chance is extremely high that they both will retire as the 2 greatest Tennis players of all time to common agreement.

They already are the 2 biggest superstars we have seen.

Both will say- and they would so in astonishment at realizing their reality- that they have achieved way, way, way more than they ever could have dreamed of doing.

Nadal’s career could have been over before it even started with the severe foot injury he sustained. No one would ever even hear of him. He would have been a unfortunate stroy known to those in Mallorca, that of a promising child whose dream ended before he even had a chance to set foot on court. Yet, he fought from the start and that fighting spirit has him here today on 14 Majors in the bag already.

That’s just flat out unbelievable!

Ditto Federer. RF has said many a time his career could have ended in 2003 when he bagged that Wimbledon title since that’s all he really wanted: just one major at the home Tennis. Everything else since then has just been a colossal bonus.

Hence why when both say that they feel unbelievably fulfilled, privileged and extremely fortunate and pleased with their bit of Tennis history already I do not doubt them and believe them 100%.

It’s that sense of fulfillment that makes Federer perfectly fine IF Nadal matches or passes him since Fed knows he’s won 16 Slams more than he ever wanted.

Ditto Rafa when he say’s it would not matter should he not match or surpass Federer since he fully well knows how his career could have been over many a time, that he’s so grateful, fulfilled with what he has already.

Which leads me to say this:

ONLY the foolish will compare these 2 and point one out as being inferior when they both are ultimately equally fulfilled already with what they have. And besides, no matter the end count, in the imagination it’s not one over the other it will be for them as one, a duo:


chris ford1 Says:

Consider this, Casmaran….Nadal is tied with Pete and will probably pass him, leaving Federer and Rafa 1-2.
But Djokovic is in a tie with many with 8 and only 7 players in history have more than 8 singles Slams. Getting 4 more and passing Tilden, Borg and Laver seems possible. Then you have Emerson at 12. Nole ties Emerson in the next 5 years by getting 4 more Slams, you have Nole, Rafa, Roger…even competing and taking Slams away from one another….in the Top 5 Ever.
That to me is bigger than who has the Biggest Slam Count. And people really have to start discussing circumstances:
Fed had 4 years of a weak era to pad his statistics.
Borg left at 26.
Rafa got where he is playing Fed in his prime, then Djoker.
Novak may be a better player…in the sense that Carl Lewis won a ton more 100M races than Usain Bolt ever will, but Usain has demonstrated it isn’t medal count that matters when showing who the best sprinter ever is..
And of course, Rod Laver has 11 because he missed 6 WHOLE YEARS IN HIS PRIME of Slams by going pro in late 1962.

Damien Mills Says:

Agreed. 100%.
Though it might be fun if someone (like Mat4, for instance) calculated the mathematical odds/likelihood based on the relative weighting of the variables (injuries, age, etc). The only problem there, I guess, is the debate on the weighting of the variables, though that could spark a bit of fun, too).

Markus Says:

Good analysis by Brando. No matter what happens Federer and Nadal would be very fulfilled with what they have acieved. and rightfully so. Each has created a niche for himself in their chosen field that cannot be tarnished regardless of what any other player has done or will achieve.

pogi Says:

how i wish it’s already 2020…
and probably both men are already retired
so we can have the closure of this endless discussion

Margot Says:

Lol pogi, you really think?….;)
Come 2040 Fedal fans will be waving their walking sticks and still shouting insults!

sienna Says:

fedal both have outside the winning tennis machines something else to play for. the commercial value of their trademark is far higher as an active winning player. So pressure to play on comes from all angles and forms.

2016 is for both the last year. Nadal at the moment is solely playing to reach #18 his love for tennis has left him long ago. Sometimes he sounds bitter and he must be carefull. Roger still loves the challenge but he also needs to best his rivals. hè has more foundation to last longer in the game as Nadal but he also is 5 years older.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

If Nadal overtakes Roger by winning more FO, then in 3 slams Roger would be way ahead of Nadal except in French. Does it justify the overall slam count.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Let’s not forget when Novak started winning slams, it was when Roger stopped winning slams, not necessarily because of Novak but more due to his form and age. To say Novak had to win slams against both Roger and Rafa is ridiculous.

Novak has only Rafa to contend, that too on patches. Basically Novak is reaping the benefit of the post Roger – Rafa era.

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic started winning slams in 2008. Federer won was still winning slams then. And then Djokovic started winning more in 2011. Hard to win slams when 1 guy wins 3/4 and the other guy is Nadal at the French.

So Djokovic is padding his stats in a weak era? Just like Federer did? So obviously Nadal is the GOAT since he amassed his slams with BOTH guys. But wait, this era of clay courters has been weak. So he’s also padded his stats, right?

Hippy Chick Says:

Well i dont know if this is a strong/weak era or whatever? or that Novak is making hay because Rogers old or Andy/Rafa arent at the best,or Stan/Cilic are inconsistent etc etc,but Novak it would seem since 2011 is the most consistent player reaching the latter stages of the GS and Masters series,and seems to be the favorite or co favorite in every tournament he plays especially when it comes to the HCs,the most consistent but not the most dominant when it comes to the GS,maybe hes that good,or maybe the competition is p*ss poor,but i doubt he or his fans would care either way as long as hes winning,same with Fed fans,Nadal fans,take your pick,and lets not kid ourselves otherwise,such is the double standards on this forum??

Markus Says:

Maybe if Federer did not win so much and allowed his contemporaries at that time, like Roddick, Safin, etc win more slams, then naysayers will be fooled to think it was a strong era.

Maybe if Nadal did not win so many French Opens, say only three to balance his count of 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens and 1 Australian, then naysayers will be fooled to think he is a well rounded, all-court player.

Maybe the same thing is happening to Djokovic now. Maybe he should take note and allow his contemporaries like Murray, Berdych, etc, to beat him more often, then naysayers will be fooled to think the competition is indeed very tough and deep.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Yes, Novak won in 2008, then what happened? If he is the best tennis player was it was noted above, he should have won multiple slams starting 2008. He did not. He had to wait for Roger and Rafa to wind down. Let’s not project Novak as best player yet. He could, but let’s wait.

I believe it’s a stupid argument to claim Roger won slams in a weak era. If that argument holds good, then we can argue the case for any other player also.

Daniel Says:

Novak beat Fed in 2010 USO semis, 2011 AO semis, 2012 RG semis, 2011 USO semis Open and Wimby 2014 so, yeah he won Slams with Fed still continuing, in fact prevent Federer from potentially adding 3 or 4 more.

Fed OTOH only beat Djoko in RG 2011 semis and Wimby 2012 semis.

We can see the reverse, Djoko is winning more in Slam lately but to say he didn’t prevent Fed from winning is mistaken.

Regarding Slam record, in my eyes Nadal only shot is if he wins RG this year. and than he will have to win 2 to tie and 3 more to surpass. Doable but not given.

If he doesn’t win RG this year, can’t see him winning Wimbledon (which actually I can’t see him ever winning again) nor US Open this year. His confidence would be shaken.

But he can still win RG in next years, he transform in those courts so I think #10 will come, but regarding record this year is his moving year.

Already said last year that if they finished 17-14 I would see it coming and this year we may know better. Actually in 3 months time we’ll have a better clue.

And even so, if Nadal wins RG and Fed some how performs a Sampras and win Wimbledon, to me debate is over.

I think deep down Fed knows that if he gets just one more #18 it will almost impossible for Nadal to win 5 majors after turning 29 to surpass him.
Add the fact that Nadal won 5 Slams in his last 4 years, in his prime mature years (5-28), how will he manages to win 4-5 more in 29-32?!

Seems future of tennis history and Slams legacy will be decided for good in next 2 Slams:
If Nadal bags 1 and Fed the other. 0 change and actually even worst for Nadal to reach 18-19.
If Nadal bags 1 and Fed none. Nadal still in contention.
If Neither wins RG nor Wimbledon (their respective best Slams). advantage Federer due to Nadal aging and losing his stronghold on RG.

Josh Says:

“That’s not why I’m still on tour, just to remind you guys,” Federer quipped of the thought.

Yeah Roger, we know you’re still playing for the love of the game…

Daniel Says:


agree regarding total Slam counts. If Nadal wins 3 more RG and they are tied with 17, to me even with Nadal superior HxH there is no argument. 12 Slams out of 17 in the same venue just show that he carried and unprecedented dominance of one surface.

I think if he is to do it he needs at least 1 more major to be outside RG. Also he has an overall below 50 % record in the other 3 Slam outside RG. He is 1-2 AO, 2-3 Wimpy and 2-1 US Open, for a 5-6 win record in those 3. Imagine if he loses another US Open final he will have 50% or lower on all Slams outside RG.

While Roger has a losing percentage in RG 1-4 but high n the other 3. 4-1 AO; 7-2 Wimby and 5-1 USO.

Fed’s best Slam is less the half his total, 7 out of 17, 41%; Nadal’s best is more than half his total, 9 out of 14, 64%.

Same applies to Djoko, he needs to start winning more outside AO. Right now he is 5-8, 62,5% of his total in AO.

Also, if we look at finals played Fed has more than 5 finals in all Slams.
Fed has 5 AO, 5 RG, 9 Wimby and 6 USO, 9 out of 25 in his best 36%
Nadal has 3 AO, 9 RG, 5 Wimby and 3 USO, 9 out of 21 in his best 43%

Djoko has 5 AO, 2 RG, 3 Wimby and 5 USO, 5 out of in his best 33%

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Novak beat Fed in 2010 USO semis, 2011 AO semis, 2012 RG semis, 2011 USO semis Open and Wimby 2014 so, yeah he won Slams with Fed still continuing, in fact prevent Federer from potentially adding 3 or 4 more.

Daniel, I agree. But my point is, when Novak started beating Roger, it was when other players have also started beating him. Roger was anyway vulnerable in the slams during those years. Novak took advantage of that period.

Whereas pre-2010 AO, Roger was losing only to Rafa, with the exception of AO 2008 to Novak and USO 2009.

Humble Rafa Says:

Why does this become news?

Doesn’t everyone know that I have a chance to break his record?

brando Says:

Guys lets call a time out in this argument. I’m all for it but ultimately it’s still seeing as neither is done yet. The record ain’t final: so how can a judgment be passed? It cannot.

jane Says:

“Novak beat Fed in 2010 USO semis, 2011 AO semis, 2012 RG semis, 2011 USO semis Open and Wimby 2014 so,”

Actually Nole is the only player in history to beat Federer at every slam.

Since he beat him in 2008 at the AO, Fed won USO 2008, FO 2009, Wimbledon 2009, AO 2010, and Wimbledon 2012.

He also reached the finals of FO 2008, Wimbledon 2008, USO 2009, FO 2011, and Wimbledon 2014.

jane Says:

^i.e., the only year since 2008 when fed did not win or reach a slam final was 2013.

RZ Says:

Despite the dominance of the big 4, we’ve seen that things can change pretty quickly in tennis. Right now I’m tempted to say Rafa won’t catch Fed. But we all know that Rafa can go on these amazing runs so the momentum could quick shift where I would be tempted to say he would easily catch Fed.

Daniel Says:

Agree Nirmal,

But the assumption in general I don’t agree with is that there is always a path we can choose to nit pick particular records of players. I know there eis too much aspects to consider but every period of dominance can be highlighted by the other competitors not delivering.

I placed a post before for RG 2009 swing, Nadal 2010 swing, Djoko 2011 Swing (although in this case it was him and Nadal in every important final with him coming on top).

But my overall point is that we never have 3 or 4 of the top guys of a generation playing great for even a few months, let a lone a whole year. They go in patches and who ever come out on top, took advantage of the situation and was the better player.

In Fed’s case I won’t even go there because he dominated for so long that it was just not a one of. The guy was #1 for 237 consecutive weeks, this days guys can even go beyond 60. He won 11 out of 16 Slams in 2004-2007. He was 2 notches above everybody eles and only competition was Nadal on clay and Fed gave him a hard time in there in several classic finals.

Some have short memory and only have the Fed of today in mind. It’s like Fed did’ have a huge decrease because he was playing a quality of tennis 3 years ahead of his peers. Everybody eles had to improve on everything to catch him and now we have a generation where most can do everything exceptionally. That is all due to Federer.

I remember in Sampras years “the shot” was Sampras running FH in the base line. This is a shot everybody hit at will this days, tennis players had several flaws in the past always with one or multiple weakness. Today there is none.They develop to hit everything on the run as if it’s simple whereas in the past when you open the court you win the point. This days what they can do (due to racquet and string technology and shear physicality is never seen before).

Folks that say other past ears were great just due to the “names” of former greats doesn’t appreciate what we have now. We may not have the super names (actually we do, fed, Nadal, Djoko) but how they play is amazing, all year long.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I split Roger’s career into two phases, one between Wim 2003 and Aus 2010. This is the phase where he really dominated the field with the exception of Nadal. There were few victories by others, but mostly they were aberrations.

the second phase is post AO 2010 to Date. During this phase he was vulnerable to multiple players including Novak.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I remember in Sampras years “the shot” was Sampras running FH in the base line.

I can never forget those days and that particular shot of Sampras. today people belittle Sampras as a S & V specialist, where as for me he was a complete player. He was fantastic from the baseline, but off course not as strong as current players in defense. But when it comes to attacking tennis from the baseline, he was as good as anyone.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Maybe he should take note and allow his contemporaries like Murray, Berdych, etc, to beat him more often

Actually Novak did allow Murray to win 2 GS.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

@Daniel 11:37 — Excellent post.

jane Says:

“how they play is amazing, all year long.” – definitely the consistency of players this era is pretty amazing. in the past we all know players would skip AO and/or some of the masters. and even in 04-07, roddick wouldn’t do well during clay, and rafa wouldn’t do well during summer-fall hard courts or even at the AO.

it’s only been since about 2008 that we’ve seen the top players besides fed – rafa, novak and andy – very consistent throughout the year and across the surfaces.

jane Says:

“allow” – really? and did roger “allow” andy to win the olympics then?

Markus Says:

Yes, Nirmal, Novak did “allow” Andy 2 majors.

Maybe, in the future yet unseen, somebody like Federer or Nadal or Djokovic will show up and impress the tennis world like it never had. But how likely is it for 3 of this kind to be playing all at the same time again? So I think I’ll just enjoy these 3 for now. Deconstructing all the variables, real and imagined, does nothing for me but take away the fun.

Markus Says:

Jane, “allow” in my and Nirmal’s posts was used as a figure of speech in the context of how some posters manipulate facts to support of their theory about weak eras.

SG1 Says:

I remember in Sampras years “the shot” was Sampras running FH in the base line. This is a shot everybody hit at will this days, tennis players had several flaws in the past always with one or multiple weakness.


Another jab at Sampras. Sampras’ running forehand is NOT a shot hit at will these days. Sampras often hit that shot with his peers crawling all over the net and cutting off angles such that there was very little room for error. Today, you can hit a running forehand with some margin because very few (if any players) even know where the net is (other then to shake hands after a match).

SG1 Says:

Give Sampras today’s racket and string technology and I think he would put even Raonic to shame in the serving department. I also think the new poly strings of today would do wonders for increasing his already formidable ground game.

jane Says:

sorry markus, but i don’t understand your logic. i don’t see how NK was using it as a figure of speech. in any case, i think it devalues murray’s abilities doesn’t it? and surely the same should be said about fed “allowing” andy to win the olympics then since nirmal’s post implies fed doesn’t allow his contemporaries to beat him. actually berdych has taken him out at both wimbledon and the us open. anyhow…

Nirmal Kumar Says:

SG1– perfect statement. People just forget how much technology is helping the current players to play the kind of tennis they are able to exhibit today.

SG1 Says:


I only started using polyester strings the last year or so. It’s so much easier to be aggressive with all the extra control that poly strings provide. I play a bit of a flatter game than a lot of folks but I can definitely see the added spin on my shots. Haven’t made the leap to a new racket yet (mine is 15 years old) but I just love the thing. But, as we’ve all said, age catches up to everyone and I probably should look at upgrading this too.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Jane, If you look at my above post @11:47, I have clearly marked the phase in Roger’s career where he is vulnerable to multiple players, including the ones you have mentioned.

As far as Olympics, credit to Murray for beating Roger after a gruelling match against Del Po in the semis. Just kidding.

Purcell Says:

Unless I’m guilty of misinterpretation, I’d like to thank Nirmal and Daniel for putting to bed this passé and patronising weak era nonsense.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

sorry markus, but i don’t understand your logic. i don’t see how NK was using it as a figure of speech. in any case, i think it devalues murray’s abilities doesn’t it?

So does it not devalue Roger’s record when people claim he has won slams in Weak era? What happened to your concerns for such statements?

brando Says:

Seriously people need to give Sampras and the great champions of the past more respect. It’s a complete f—–g the lack of respect shown by some at times. Forget you and I,ie arm chair experts. You ask current, former pros, coaches of the game and they’ll say without a doubt the top 5 of all time is: Federer, Nadal, Sampras, Laver and Borg. NO ONE else even comes close.All kings in their time: the biggest deal going. Yet, on this site the level of disrespect shown at times to Pete , laver and even Borg has been beyond a joke. Ridiculous. Barring Fedal, what those 3 achieved, their legacy, standing in the game completely, utterly surpasses what ANYONE else has done. Period. And these BS IF theories need to stop also. Weak/strong era don’t mean sh-t to the record books. It’s all were you a winner or a loser in your time: that simple. In Federer’s case he was a clear winner. And besides: barring Nadal which player has he ever GENUINELY struggled against? Not one. I’m not a fan but, take Nadal out of the equation and would a Federer the same as Djokovic rule today like he did in 2003-2007 period- for me: a definitive YES. He’d rule Wimbledon, USO in the same fashion and he’ll show how another single BH from Swiss ends the show in AO. Hell: the 33 year old whipped butt last time out in straights! So people need to respect the man and call a spade a spade: barring Nadal (a fellow top tier of all time player) their has not been one player who Fed ain’t spanked and would spank regularly had he been their age. Period.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Though Sampras and Nadal are tied in GS, let’s not forget that Sampras is ahead of Nadal in 3 slams and has 6 consecutive No 1 YE, multiple year end titles. Yes, he misses Clay title but he is massive in rest of the records.

Not to belittle Rafa the great champion, let’s not put down Sampras that easily because of his clay records.

Sean Randall Says:

Put Pete with today’s technology and he’d be a beast!

Better than Novak, Rafa? Who knows.

But I think he serve would be better, his groundies better. But… With it comes the fact that he wouldn’t be able to win as many points at the net.

So Pete would have to do his damage from the baseline, which he can with his forehand, similar to Roger.

You could almost think of a peak-Sampras playing right now as Raonic’s serve with Federer’s everything else in Roger’s current, older, state.

Ben Pronin Says:

“very few (if any players) even know where the net is (other then to shake hands after a match).”

LOL. Man that is too good.

When did Sampras and Federer play those exos together? 07, right? And I think they played the first MSG exo, too. Either way, I remember Sampras talked about the new racket he was using the and strings and how nuts they were compared to what he used. He said he should’ve switched rackets during his career (which I believe influnced Federer’s switch) because the racket really allowed him to get away with things he wasn’t able to in the past.

Federer played with a 90 inch head size until he switched only a few years ago. Sampras was playing with an 85 inch head. I’m not sure about the rest of you but I’ve demoed Federer’s nCode back in the day and it is insanely hard to play with. If you connect with the sweet spot it’s fantastic but good luck hitting it more than twice in one day.

brando Says:

PS: Nirmal’s right. The ONLY slam Novak won pre 2011 was the AO. He ONLY faced Federer in that one. And kind of Federer was that? One contracted Mono in the very same month and struggled with it for months after. Sure took Fed down at his strangest right? And what year did he next win a slam? The year Federer turned 30. We don’t need Einstein to return from the dead to tell us a tennis player-no matter who- starts sliding and ain’t at their former level once they hit 30’s in this game. It’s a young man’s sport. Period. ONLY a clown would think it’s Novak not ageing that has seen Fed win 1/ 17 since 2011. And then Nadal: the year Novak stepped up was the last year Nadal played a full, injury free season. How hard is it to top a guy who is hardly there? A player who regularly misses slams? And prior to this AO: Nadal was 4>3 over Djokovic in slam wins post 2011 and that too having been absent for a slam every year in that time. All this reality shows: it’s utter, complete BS to say Novak ended Fedal’s dominance. Utter deluded crap believed by fools. Since the truth is: ageing took Federer down not a player who’s butt he kicked only a few weeks ago in straight sets. And Nadal: a injury prone who still managed more slams than Novak post 2011 prior to this AO. Beating Novak in finals. A reality that shows the field or Novak ain’t his problem: his body is. So its clear to see what the reality for fedal is. Their problem ain’t Novak: a player known to crumble under the heat. Its themselves. And as for Novak making hay: will the mouse always nibbles at the cheese when the cats away no?

jane Says:

nirmal, thanks for clarifying re: 11:47. that part of your post wasn’t in quotation marks so i thought they were your words.

brando Says:

IF Pete was around today or they all were at the same age he’d smoke them all on the court barring fedal. Federer can match him at his game and then theirs Nadal. We know what will happen on clay and as for the rest. Pete said it straight after he saw rafa for the first time in a live match: he’s a scary beast that he ain’t ever seen before. That lefty style with vicious forehands, consistent intensity in play would be something Pete ain’t seen before. And we all know about rafa and single handed BH players: name one he ain’t owned? But the main reason more than anything is: Federer and Nadal are the only players in pistol Pete’s orbit. No one else. So a tough out with them is a given since their on that level: just bring a different style to the party. The rest he’d smoke. Superior serve, mentality, FH, net game, slice and a single BH that was solid.

Markus Says:

Brando is angry now. Interestingly, he gets even more sensible angry than most posters here who lose all sense of logic when they feel, valid or not, that their favorite has been insulted. I hope everybody will read his recent posts with a level head. I know Brando does not need (or want) my pat on his back but I’m giving it to him anyway.

sienna Says:

thanks Daniel for the great comments about slamtotals and Sampras.

The need for Nadal is excellent portrayed by you. His window is closing and he will need to get a HC slam to overtake Federer.

I also feel grass and US open is out of reach. But you never know. with a decent draw and some luck he might get an additional slam prior to Garros 2016.
If so he is poised to equal at least Federer (including RG 15)

Lot of tennis to be played for this to happen, but that is the gameplan for team Nadal. Priorities are set. T will stay on board untill at least 2016. It ends there. Failing is no option when you have won as much as they have.

Your comments proof that longer comments need not get boring and cause braindeath after reading them.

chris ford1 Says:

pogi Says:
how i wish it’s already 2020…
and probably both men are already retired
so we can have the closure of this endless discussion
Won’t be “both” men. It will be 3 men from this time in the discussion as the 3 best, each in their own different ways.
And in 2020 …..hindsight….I had to say that….the discussion will be about the best of other eras, and more metrics than “Slam Counting”.

Hippy Chick Says:

Well apparantly Nadals at the point of retirement,and Federer will play on till hes in his 50s,people want Roger to play for ever,but cant seem to wait to push Rafa of into retirement,even though he also says how much he loves tennis,but as usual people will believe what they want to believe??….

Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe we should start analyzing the annalitticks? That’ll really tell us who the best is.

skeezer Says:

“You could almost think of a peak-Sampras playing right now as Raonic’s serve with Federer’s everything else in Roger’s current, older, state.”
Feds BH would still be better….and tweener…..and drop shot.

bojana anel Says:

It look like Novak was the same age as Federer before 2008 but now he is much younger.People use age to get their point.

jane Says:

ben, what’s that?!

Daniel Says:

SG1, Fed, Nadal, Djoko and Muura all do the FH passing shot at will. In fact there is basically no shot they can’t hit.

I always loved Sampras and hes game but that game was a different game from today. We can’t know form sure how he will fare today or how this guys would do if they played 10-15 before. We can assume that due to Sampras pedigree ge would be basically the same force.

But we have context as well. Fed, Nadal and Djoko all had triple Slams year with 4 or More Masters titles. Sampras didn’t even got close to that.

He has the 6 year number in a row which I think will never be broken but henolayed a lot of smaller tournaments tomachieve that losing the rankings and get back several times.

Just look at Djoko’s schedule, last year he didn’t play a single ATP 250. Only Slams, Masters, WTF and 2 500. Won 7 out of 15 tournaments played.

Also, regaridng competition. The only player who won a Slam which were not suppose to in thei era was Wawrinka. Del Potro and Cilic were said to be the new standard for tennis players when the were in their 20’s: tall, complete game, light big serve. They were due for Slams before this next generation: Dimi, Gulbis, Kei, Raonic et all.
And Wawrinka always had the game, he didn’t have the fitness nor head.

In past generations we had Johaneson, Costa, Gaudio, just to mention a few.

The current top dominates like never before and hard to see in the future as well.

As Markus said, enjoy while it last.

jane Says:

daniel, i have to say, i always enjoy reading your posts; your tennis knowledge – esp historical – is wide, and i like how you always present facts.

brando Says:

@Daniel: yes but Sampras never had a era in which the surfaces were so similar as today. He’d easily rack up a 3 peat if they were. And also MS were not as hyped as they are today. Players did not care for them much in the early day of their existence. All we know is Pete is one of the few kings of the game the sport has truly seen. In this era Federer and Nadal are the only 2 others in the pistol’s orbit. The rest ain’t anywhere near his level. Period.

Margot Says:

Ah, one of tennis’ sweetest moments when Fed beat Pete at Wimbledon.
Only to lose next round to our very own Tiny Tim!
Ah well that’s life, tennis life anyway.

Daniel Says:

Agree with your last sentence Brando, Pete was is and will always be a tennis superstar. Also, he has the benefit of being American which helps his case a lot.

But eve tough Masters were not hyped, Sampras entered and won a bunch of tourneys where there hardly was other top 5- top 10 players. Maybe 1.

In todays game, if we go to Fed’s, Nadal and Djoko titles, there hardly is any titles were there wasn’t at least a tennis top 5 or top 10 player in the draw.

SG1 Says:

Daniel Says:
SG1, Fed, Nadal, Djoko and Muura all do the FH passing shot at will. In fact there is basically no shot they can’t hit.

I always loved Sampras and hes game but that game was a different game from today. We can’t know form sure how he will fare today or how this guys would do if they played 10-15 before. We can assume that due to Sampras pedigree ge would be basically the same force.


There are a lot of folks on this forum who seem to believe that Sampras would more than hold his own in this era.

I believe that truly great players would be great in any era.

SG1 Says:

Laver, Borg, Lendl, Sampras, Federer and Nadal are all to good to not have some share of the tennis pie in whatever era they’d be transported into.

To me, the most intriguing rivalry would be prime Borg vs prime Rafa on red dirt. Anyone have 7 hours to burn on a Sunday?

brando Says:

@SG1: I’m with you: Nadal v Borg @ Roland Garros would be the ultimate clash of titans! Danny would that be epic, full of insane rallies!

Nirmal Kumar Says:

My best picks across two eras

Wimbledon – Roger vs Sampras
French Open — Rafa vs Borg
Australian Open – Novak vs Agassi
USO – Roger vs Lendl

skeezer Says:

Rafa vs Borg would be excellent. However, to be fair you would have to give Borg the same Raqcuet technology and strings of this era. A HUGE advantage. Or, make Rafa play with Borgs Raqcuet in his era. A nice small headed wood Racquet like the one Borg played with. Donnay. Classic. I would pick Borg in straights, Rafa would be humiliated, no doubt.

SG1 Says:

I would pick Borg in straights, Rafa would be humiliated, no doubt.


I’m a Rafa fan and perhaps biased, but I don’t see anyone taking out Rafa in the final at RG in straights. While I agree that Rafa (…and all the other players today) have benefitted from today’s tech, I think we’re not giving Rafa enough credit by saying he’d lose to Borg having to play the same Donnay classic with gut strings. Borg lost to Panatta twice at RG. If Panatta could beat Borg, there’s no reason to belive Rafa couldn’t. The center of the racket is the center of the racket whether it’s made of graphite or wood and Rafa hits his shots, like most pros, dead center most of the time.

SG1 Says:

We’re not seeing Rafa at his best now, but I did say prime Rafa vs prime Borg. Hard to imagine anyone beating prime Rafa on red dirt let alone sweeping him away in straights.

SG1 Says:

Lendl vs. Roger at the USO? If the courts playing at 80’s speeds, I like Roger to own this match up.

However, if the court gets slowed down like it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years….what a match up this would be. Past-his-prime-Agassi went toe-to- toe with Roger for three sets and I think Lendl’s array of weapons were considerably more formidable. Think he was stronger between the ears than Andre as well. Love to see what a prime Lendl could do with Luxilon and today’s equipment. It would be a devastating display…me thinks.

Ben Pronin Says:

I would love to see Connors vs Federer at the US Open (both in their primes). It’s not a match-up that people might think of often but imagine the fireworks. Federer was virtually unbeatable at the US Open until Del Potro narrowly got him in 09. But boy did Connors love playing under those lights. And his fight was as strong if not stronger than Nadal’s. So while the match-up might favor Federer, you could bet your house Connors would go down swinging.

Margot Says:

Fed did play Sampras at Wimbledon, in 2001 I believe. Fed won. Next round.. lost to Tiny Tim.

Brando Says:


‘Rafa would be humiliated, no doubt.’:

ROFLMAO, love the consistency in your views regarding Rafa!

Rafa at his peak rolled over in straights on clay- lol! Tell me what kind of humiliating scoreline would it be Champ? FO 2008 final style no?


mat4 Says:

Champions from the seventies, eighties, wouldn’t stand a chance against today’s top players even if they all used wooden racquets.

First, it is a question of power: today, to become no 1 you have to be 185 cm tall; Borg was 181, Connors 178, McEnroe 180. Lendl was the man that marked the shift to “modern” tennis, with his 188 cm.

Then, today’s players are far more complete. Connors changed his FH grip at 35. He used an eastern grip for years, efficient on grass, ineffective on clay; Borg never played a semi volley the way Wawrinka or Novak can, not to mention Federer; JMac’s backhand was risible: he sliced it all the time. The first really complete player was Mats Wilander (his true successor is Djokovic), while Lendl was the first player making optimum use of the new racquet technology.

For today’s standards, those players were almost amateurs: Connors worked no more than two hours a day. Never more. They eat hamburgers, Panatta even smoked. It was a different time. In fact, it was a period of letdown compared to the professional era that existed just before.

[There was a lot of knowledge lost when the professional era ended. The Australians were far more complete as players, but they played in an inner circle. My son’s coach is the product of the Australian school, and they are still a lot in front of Europe. Unfortunately, Australia is a small country.]

Two men changed tennis then: Nick Bollettieri and Ion Tiriac. Tiriac started working with Vilas and Leconte, introducing new methods of training, while NB adapted Lendl’s conceptions. The two most influential players of the nineties were Becker and Agassi, the products of those two concepts, one European, the other American. The greatest player of the nineties was, and this is not a coincidence, an American playing the European way: Pete Sampras.

But only with Federer’s input, universality, versatility, knowing all the shots in the book become an imperative. Fed was a model. With Agassi, he was also one of the first to understand that you have to adapt to new technologies all the time, something that is quite normal now.

So, no. Tennis as a sport has completely changed. While the national team of Brasil from 1970 would easily beat today’s world champion, because the sport hasn’t basically changed, the players from the seventies and eighties played another sport. The only thing that is the same is the name: tennis. Everything else is different.

SG1 Says:

Borg never played a semi volley the way Wawrinka or Novak can, not to mention Federer


Borg also never played with a racket the size of snowshoe.

mat4 Says:

But McEnroe did make those kind of volley’s, even with such a small racquet head. Borg also never faced FHs with an average speed of 120 kmh!

But I just wrote it in the post above: it was a different time, and a very different sport.

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