I had a great debate with Peter Brown on Sporting News Radio Sunday night. The whole conversation started because Rafael Nadal kicked Roger Federer’s ass in the French Open finals, only giving up four games in three sets for his 4th straight title at Roland Garros. With a performance like that coupled with Roger’s inability to win the French made Peter say that he can’t consider Federer the best tennis player of all-time. On an absolutely basic level, it is hard to fight this argument, but I think it’s faulty. Here were some of the several points to refute this notion.
First off, Roger’s dominance on all other surfaces is unprecedented. From ’04-’07, Roger won nearly every tournament he entered, including 11 of the 16 Grand Slam events. In four of the five he didn’t win, he either made the finals or semifinals. Federer was 315-24 over those four years, good for a cool 93% winning percentage. That type of dominance is just silly. The counterargument would say Federer isn’t playing in a competitive era. Well, before he came into his own, there were guys like Roddick, Safin, Hewitt, and Nalbandian reaching finals and still doing so. You telling me these guys wouldn’t have more wins if Federer weren’t around? If that were the case, what would you say about the competition then?