Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Is NOVAK DJOKOVIC the GOAT of Tennis?

NOTE: We are only discussing the greatest MALE tennis player of all time.
The FEMALE GOAT is between Marina, Steffi Graf, Serena. And Steffi wins it as she is the only female player in open era to win a calendar grand slam. And yes before anyone points out, she also won the Olympic gold, but thats not a prize money event, so am not taking that into criteria for GOAT, which am basing on pure professional prize money events.

djokovic

Novak Djokovic wins the 2016 FRENCH OPEN and with it completes non-calendar GRAND SLAM or the Djoker Slam. Is Djokovic GOAT?

Now, in my view, the most basic qualification criteria for GOAT or GREATEST TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME is to win a Major or slam in all 3 surfaces. That automatically (and unfortunately) rules Rod Laver out as he won only on grass and clay. It is arguable if he would have won had majors been played on hard courts in 60s.
Only the following 6 players have won Tennis Majors in ALL 3 surfaces (clay, grass, hard court) in the Open Era:
The great Jimmy Connors! Yes, while he didn’t win French Open, not many know that his US Open triumph in 1976 came when it was played on clay.  YES.. for 3 years, the US Open was played on clay as the hardcourt stadium was being renovated. And he beat BORG in that clay court US Open final. Borg as we know was a clay master!
Connors obviously also won US Open on hard court and Wimbledon on grass.
The sportive Wilander we know didnt win Wimbledon, but he did manage to win the Australian Open in 1983 and 84 when it was played on grass. He has also won the French Open on clay and the US Open on hard court.

And then come the modern greats – Agassi, Federer, Nadal and now Djokovic – have all completed  a “career grand slam” (all 4 majors played in 3 surfaces).
Out of these 6 players, Novak Djokovic is the ONLY PLAYER to win 4 CONSECUTIVE MAJORS in a row across 3 surfaces. This makes Djokovic a massive GOAT contender.

But despite that, Nadal remains, the only male player to win 3 consecutive MAJORS IN 3 DIFFERENT SURFACES within a single calendar year when he won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010. No player has ever done this to date.

And Federer of course has 17 majors. But his poor losing record to Nadal in head to head really puts a dampener on his GOAT claims.

BUT if Djokovic wins WIMBLEDON, then he will equal Nadal’s under-rated record above and also become the first to win 5 majors in a row. UNPRECEDENTED.

And if he wins the US Open, then he wins the “calendar grand slam”, the ONLY male player to do it across 3 surfaces. And also winning 6 majors in a row in that process.

Djokovic has ticked almost all other boxes: better head to head against the top 4 best players of his era: Federer, Nadal, Murray and Wawrinka and barring one, ALL his Major wins he faced another major winner as opponent. Plus, he has won more ATP Masters Series titles than anyone else.. and  is also the first to cross $100MN prize money.

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In short:
Just Wimbledon and US Open wins this year stand between Djokovic and the crown of UNDISPUTED Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).

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Will Nadal burn out at age 26 like Bjorn Borg?

I found interesting similarities in the Grand Slam runs between Sampras and Federer as well as Borg and Nadal in terms of their Age vs Slams won!

(Note that have taken 31 yrs as maximum age considering Sampras retired at that age for apples to apples comparison for the 14 slam win rate).

Some important pointers:

1. Pete Sampras had only 3 wins in his last 16 slams.

2. Roger Federer needs only ONE win in his next 15 slams to equal Sampras and just 2 to break the world record.

3.  Nadal has more than 35 slams to beat Sampras, and is close to beating Borg’s slam total by age 23

4. Borg had the highest rate of slams by age 23 and played only 3 slams a year. He never played a lot of Aussie opens (except early on in 1974 types ) as he kept losing US Opens . Borg didn’t feel Aussie Open was important unless he won the US Open.

Nadal seems to be slightly behind Borg’s run rate. And Federer’s win rate is next to Borg despite playing way longer schedules. Unbelievable.

Nadal too may burn out like Borg especially because his game is more Physical than Federer’s and the body takes punishment on hard courts. Nadal also won’t be able to maintain the speed and power beyond age 25-26…as the tennis schedules are too long now days. Federer’s game like Sampras suits long term play.

Grand Slam wins

Grand Slam wins

But I feel even if Nadal wins 15 slams and Federer wins the French, they can still be called greatest only of the MODERN era as people forget Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall were banned for more than 44 Slams due to them turning PRO… Rosewall lost peak 11 years of his life. It was Laver and Rosewall’s efforts which led to the Open era in the first place and modern players from Borg to Nadal and Federer have to be thankful for them. Between them, Laver and Rosewall would have won 20+ slams if allowed to play as there was no one close to them. And it isn’t their problem that Hardcourts weren’t provided for Slams, as either would have won for SURE if there was that surface provided.  It is for this reason, that historians will ALWAYS place Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall as the Greatest Tennis Players of ALL TIME.  To beat them, the minimum no. of slam which Federer or Nadal must win are 20, else there is no comparison for the unfair way in which Laver/Rosewall were prevented for 44 Slams simply because they turned Pro.

For a detailed perspective, please also read the following article:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/119898-the-hall-of-goats

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Greatest Wimbledon Final in History

The Federer-Nadal final yesterday was so epic in scale, quality, tension & drama that it made the Becker-Edberg finals of 1988-90, the Borg-McEnroe final of 1980 and any Sampras-Agassi final look terribly “average”. These 2 guys are playing at a level, unseen in tennis history… The only sporting equivalent I can think of is Zinedine Zidane’s unbelievable level of play & ball control in the France-Brazil quarterfinal in the 2006 Worldcup and Zidane again in the 1998 World cup final against Brazil.

Yes, there is no comparison in Tennis…yet. Maybe the next U.S.Open, where Federer is again favorite (since the hard court is way faster than grass) will hopefully see a similar final.

Though Nadal won, to be fair to Roger, with the light so poor the last 4 games of the 5th set was simply a matter of luck…They should’ve stopped play. Similarly, it would have been unfair to Nadal too if he had lost the match instead of Roger. The light was terrible and not fit for professional play.

What does the future now hold for ROGER FEDERER? For starters, the grass is so slow nowadays, that baseliners will continue to dominate Wimbledon like the French Open. But Rafa Nadal, who dominates on clay, is still weaker on grass, and weakest on hardcourts. The slower the court the more dominating Nadal is. In contrast, Federer’s game becomes better & better as the courts turn faster.  This means, the only way he can beat Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slams, is by going for the US and Australian Opens. Because Nadal will continue to win grass & clay, next 2-3 years.

But then again, Federer can surprise everyone by bouncing back to win not just the US and Australian this year, but next Wimbeldon as well… Nadal will end up with 7-8 French opens, and maybe 3-4 Wimbledons… but to me Roger Federer IS the greatest tennis player of all time. Remember, he is the ONLY player to win 3 GRAND SLAMS in the same year, THRICE.

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Never mind the French Open…

ROGER FEDERER is most definitely the GREATEST tennis player in the history of the game.

He lost one match…big deal. 3 French Open Finals in a row and 4 French Open Semi-Finals in a row is enough testament to his Clay Court ability. Nadal is the greatest Clay Court Specialist… so its only fitting that Rafa won the French 4 in a row. Think about this: it takes a NADAL to beat Federer on clay..Federer is that good (regardless of the 3 set drubbing).

But FEDERER has won the AUSTRALIAN, WIMBLEDON and U.S.OPEN title in the SAME calender year..THREE TIMES!!! Not Laver, Not Borg, not Sampras, not McEnroe, Not Becker, Not Edberg, Not Emerson, Not Lendl, Not Wilander Nor Agassi…no one has ever come close to this feat. One is good, Two is superb, but Three is just GREAT.

NOW add the 3 French Open Finals in a row to the 4 US Open titles in a row and 5 Wimblesons in a row, and you can understand why Roger Federer is simply, the Greatest tennis player in the history of the game.

 

 

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Roger Federer destroys Nadal to win Wimbledon!

Awesome Federer was crowned Wimbledon champion for the fourth year running after he produced a scintillating performance in the men’s singles final, beating Rafael Nadal in four sets.

Easily the greatest tennis player to have ever played the game and more important, most beautiful game to watch, Federer now has nothing left to prove.

Rafal Nadal now knows what it’s like to play in Roger’s Kingdom!

The French Open final was much closer than this, proving Roger is miles ahead of any other player, including Nadal. People forget that the World’s no 2 clay court player is actually Roger Federer and not a clay court specialist! Its just a matter of “when” and not “if” Roger does a grand slam by winnign the French Open.

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