Why Federer is Not the Greatest of All Time

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by gowrath, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. gowrath

    gowrath New User

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    I am a Federer fan--I catch almost all of his matches, whether on TV or Youtube.

    But can we accurately label him the greatest? Mcenroe has done it, Sampras has does it.

    I've stated this before, but it is my belief that "GOAT" does not make much sense. To be the greatest of ALL TIME, one must've lived and played for ALL of TIME.

    In the game of tennis, there is only one empirical test of proof: what actually happens, ON the tennis court. Each player has to PLAY to prove his worth on court. Now Federer never played before 1981. How can we say he was the best player from 1971-1981?

    To be the best player in the world (in the ATP), one must win matches and week in and week out. That is the ultimate test of who is great at any particular time.

    Now we can make hypothetical match-ups: Federer vs. Borg, Federer vs. Laver... but these "scenarios" don't really make any sense at all. The context of each of these player's success was different. Laver... played in a era with both amateur and professional. Borg... played with wooden racquets. The conditioning was different. The competition was different.

    Think about how hard it is to compare Federer and Sampras? Who is better? Who would beat whom on which surface? We do not know, because they only played one close match. Perhaps a younger Sampras would have beaten him.

    Now on a more philosophical level: The very concept of GOAT is inadequate. It fails to recognize the differences between eras that are at heart inreconcilable.

    Tennis players can only be "great" for a few years of their life, maybe five years. By great I mean dominating the game. Roger has done this. This is a short amount of time. Now maybe Sampras was unbeatable for a month in 1996. Can we call him the greatest of all time based on that one month? No. See what I am saying? Just because Federer was amazing from 2004-2008 does not mean he is the greatest of all time. He was the greatest from 2004-2008. Because he PLAYED... and he WON....

    Two things are needed... actual playing... and winning... over all of history...

    Til then, all one can do is be the greatest of his/her era.
     
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  2. morten

    morten Hall of Fame

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    the era now is weak imo... Also no s&v play.That said Fed is an amazing player, the most talented allcourt player ever IMO
     
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  3. FEDEXP

    FEDEXP Professional

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    So according to gowrath's "philosophy" the only candidate for GOAT status is Father Time.
     
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  4. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    You make some valid points. But Roger is the greatest of all time. The reason he is the greatest of all time is because the competition has never been tougher. Players are faster, fitter, stronger today than ever before. The difference between a guy 100 hundred in the world and top 10 isn't very much. And there are more countries producing world class players than ever before. So to dominate in this type of climate is just amazing.

    Second of all, the incredible thing about Federer is that he dominates on ALL surfaces. Today we have clay court specialists. Guys that you will never see at Wimbledon or even the hard court season. We also have grass court specialists. Big servers that can show up and serve their way to the finals Yet Roger consistently gets to the final of all these surfaces year after year.

    Roger is the greatest of all time on many levels. The record books speak it. The difficulty of today's competition testifies to it. Roger's peers are in agreement. Roger is the greatest tennis player of all time.
     
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  5. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Also, we don't know for sure if the USA Army of today could take out the Egyptian army of 2000 b.c. I mean, unless we build a time machine, it's all speculative.
     
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  6. dlesser13

    dlesser13 Rookie

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    actually the technology testifies the level of competition IMO. Tennis has become a game similar to golf dominated by new technology. I' m not saying the players aren't more fit or greater, but technology plays a big role on the tennis that you see on T.V today.
     
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  7. gowrath

    gowrath New User

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    The reason why this analogy does not work actually relates to the effect of technology on tennis. Say that we had an amazing general who won all of his battles in the US Army. Would he be an amazing general in 2000 B.C? You and I are actually arguing different things. You are saying things are qualitatively better in this era than the one preceding it. (i.e., could Roger Federer take out Rod Laver?) I am saying a person is as much as product of his context. (i.e., could Roger Federer take out Rod Laver with a wooden racquet?)
     
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  8. gowrath

    gowrath New User

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    YES! That's absolutely correct!
     
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  9. gowrath

    gowrath New User

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    My caveat with your post is that hardline data has not been produced on whether tennis players are indeed "faster, fitter, stronger" than those of earlier eras. Borg "won a 100m dash at an ALL STAR GAME in Gothenburg in 83 against Pelé and other sportstars. I guess on 10,2 or so. Untrained!" (Quote from Borgforever)

    Now I doubt Federer or even Nadal could run a 100 meter dash in 10.2 seconds. So there are exceptions to the "faster" rule.

    Until someone crunches the numbers and comes up with average physical capabilities for tennis players in the 60s or 80s and compares them to now, your claim will have to go unsubstantiated. If you want to make an assertion like that, you'd better have some scientific proof.
     
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  10. R.Federer

    R.Federer Semi-Pro

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    #10
  11. Aykhan Mammadov

    Aykhan Mammadov Hall of Fame

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    gowrath,

    sorry but I didn't read your post number 1. Simply having seen the name of your thread I understood that u are wrong.

    After today with 14 slams and all 4 types by 28 years Federer is the greatest player in the history of the humankind.
     
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  12. Madhoshi22

    Madhoshi22 Rookie

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    Or could Laver take Federer out with today's frames....
     
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  13. gowrath

    gowrath New User

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    Federer's record of 14 slams is only a record in the open era. If we were to take the pre-open era into account, it would be much more complicated. This would mean picking the 4 major tournaments of each year and counting how many each pre-open era player won. Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver end with 23 and 19 majors respectively in this count.

    Perhaps we should look at singles titles. Federer with 58 is not even close to Laver's 198 and Connors' 147. It's not likely he'll reach that mark. Sure, we need to look at the context. But still, shouldn't a discussion of "great" include more than # of slams or surface success?
     
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  14. Aykhan Mammadov

    Aykhan Mammadov Hall of Fame

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    We can't take pre-open era. Otherwise one must count all victories somebody had in his own yard, it is not serious.

    There are 3 mathematical criterias with different coefficients ( weights) by which GOAT must be determined in open era ( see another thread where recently discussed it): 1) number of GS won (2) how many different GS were won (3) how consequitive were slams cathed - 4 in the same year or just consequitively say from W to RG of the next year, 3, 2 or 1.

    Just 3 critearias. First has bigger coefficient, second -less, third-least. Say if a player A won 100 times USopen, a player B- 10 times W and 10 times AO what means 20 totally, and a player C - only 4 slams but all 4 in the same year, we count A>B>C.

    There are many complications, it is not simple task.
     
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  15. morten

    morten Hall of Fame

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    i could not disagree more, you say now we have grass court specialists, clay court specialists!!! not before!??? Completely opposite is what it is, nowadays almost all players can win on any surface, gone are the different surface specialists, and serve and volley! not too interresting IMHO. And they have made the surfaces very similar too.. number 100 now is better now than 10-15 years ago yes, but the level of top 15 were much higher back then...
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
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  16. adidas_wilson

    adidas_wilson Banned

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    This has to be the banner for at least 8,000 or so threads that have been started on this board in the last 12 hours!

    Priceless..
     
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  17. adidas_wilson

    adidas_wilson Banned

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    How can anyone be a grass court specialist in this day and age, when the grass court season is only like 3 weeks long. Yet the clay court season takes up half the year..
     
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  18. kimizz

    kimizz Rookie

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    Its all subjective, certain people deny hes goat out of hate and others disagree because they are such big fans. Lets be honest, how many of us are able to objectively evaluate Lavers career? To us hes just a vague name from the past so we just forget about him completely.

    What I dont understand is why ppl feel like everyone should agree with them?(Fed is GOAT-No he Isnt-Yes he is!!!) If you feel like Federer is the goat and you love him then thats fine, but why is there such a despetate need to get everyone agreeing with their own opinions??I think thats crazy. I got news, ppl will always disagree about everything and if you cant live with this fact you are going to have a difficult life ahead of you ;)
     
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  19. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Good philosophical argument. Yet, of course I have to still lean towards Borg, slightly ahead of Sampras and Federer. Technology has changed the game DRAMATICALLY. Athletes did not all of a sudden become MUCH greater starting in the mid-1980's. No, it was the use of graphite racquets, which transformed the hitting in tennis. I know because I learned how to play with a Jack Kramer Autograph wood racquet when I was about 9-10. When I started using graphite racquets at about 13-14, the change was unbelieveable. To hit a powerful shot with a wood racquet, with great placement, takes great skill, with a tiny sweet spot. Put those racquets in the hands of Nadal and Federer (even after practice for weeks/months...and I think we would be amazed at how difficult it was for Borg/McEnroe to do what they did in just 1980-1981. Borg would have absolutely killed the ball with a Babolat, Head, or Wilson frame, with today's strings..ESPECIALLY if he had grown up with those frames. He was super strong in the shoulders/arms and his fitness/stamina have only been matched by perhaps R. Nadal. Here is something to note. Up until about 1981, you have an "apples to apples" comparison, in that all the players from the advent of tennis until Borg dominated were exposed to primarily grass/clay courts, with wood frames, and same balls. There is not question that Borg was the best player until that time. Laver may have been close, but head to head in their respective primes, you can actullay envision their rallies. You just can't do that with say Federer vs. Borg because of the technology changes. In closing, Nadal is chasing Borg at the French, and Federer was chasing Borg at Wimbledon. Is it a coincidence that both consider him one of the all time greats? No, I don't think so. His record in the 3 slams he played in during his career speaks for itself. By 25-26, he had 6 french opens, 5 straight Wimbleson's, with a loss in 1 final, AND his big failure? 4 US Open Finals, during a time they kept changing surfaces in New York. He even led Sweden to a Davis Cup win when he was just starting out. With Borg's conditioning, he would have killed Federer at the French and competed with him very well on faster surfaces. With Nadal, it would have been a slugfest on Clay, with tough matches on all other surfaces. I would rank them in the following order for NOW: 1. Borg. 2. Federer 3. Sampras 4. Laver 5. Connors? Nadal? McEnroe? Lendl? Emerson? Tilden? It's tough beyond about #4. Thanks, good discussion.
     
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  20. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Why?

    Because a crippled guy has been kicking his butt all over creation since 2004, that's why.


    Other former greats wouldn't allow that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  21. carlos djackal

    carlos djackal Professional

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    I agree......
     
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  22. JankovicFan

    JankovicFan Semi-Pro

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    Most useless debate of all time.
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry to throw a fly in your ointment, but the "difficulty of competition" argument is very debatable. Today's players may be stronger or taller, but they are not faster or more accurate.

    Also, the record books put Fed down at about fifth.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  24. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    * Rod Laver, winner of 11 Grand Slams, considered by some the greatest player to ever play the game of tennis.[23]

    * Pete Sampras, after Federer winning 2009 French Open Final[8]
    o Marat Safin, after losing 2009 Australian Open 3rd Round to Federer
    o Andy Murray, after losing 2008 US Open Final to Federer
    * Pete Sampras, after playing his second exhibition match with Roger Federer, Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 22, 2007

    - roger federer
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  25. Omega_7000

    Omega_7000 Hall of Fame

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    Cripppled guy??? Are you fuc*ing kidding me!?
     
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  26. Mafia13

    Mafia13 Rookie

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    Forgive me, but who would be your top 4 then?
    And on what are you basing the fact that today's players aren't faster?
     
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  27. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    Pancho, Rosewall, and Laver all most likey would have more than 14 majors each, had they been eligible throughout their careers.

    So, a player's number of major titles alone is simply not a valid measure of their GOAT status.
     
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  28. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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    Federer is a living legend , so enjoy these days before he retires !
     
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  29. pame

    pame Professional

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    And what about all of Federer's records that the other contenders can't catch a sniff of? We conveniently discount all of them?
    Where are all the other GOATS match-ups to Fed's zillion records? Oh right, a Nobel prize winner in say literature is awarded the prize based on one single book, not on the entire body of his work.. lol
     
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  30. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    no one has ever dominated the field like Roger. Period. And domination is not all about the majors. His records besides the 15 are crazy and too innumerable to name. Some guy down the road may get 15 majors or more, but I will have truly seen it all if that guy dominates the field and breaks all of roger's streaks and records.

    ETA: lol pame, I was channeling you in my post it seems.
     
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  31. pame

    pame Professional

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    The record books put Fed about 5th?

    So who are the other four who have:

    1) Won 15 GS
    2) Made 22 consecutive GS semi-finals
    3) Made 10 consecutive finals
    4) Won 3 GS in each of 3 calendar years
    5) Held the record for the most consecutive number of weeks at #1
    6) Held 5 consecutive titles at 2 different GS
    7) Won the same two GS back to back for 4 years
    8) Won at least 2 Grand Slam titles for four consecutive years
    9) Won their first eight GS finals on any surface
    10) Won 15 GS titles in 25 attempts
    11) Equalled the Fed record of reaching 16 of 17 finals
    12) Won three consecutive GS titles at least twice

    Name me the four who have come near to matching those... won't even bother with the other records... 12 are enough for starters
     
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  32. ArrowSmith

    ArrowSmith Banned

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    Rafa was crippled in 2004- Jan 2009? Really I hadn't noticed. The "crippled" part only seem to happen around June 2009.
     
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  33. ArrowSmith

    ArrowSmith Banned

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    Nobody approaches that resume. But the haters will bring out the Nadal H2H as though that negates the entire list, which is nonsense of course. Federer's achievements are simply too staggering to ignore.
     
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  34. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    I find this argument silly. If Sampras had actually tried on clay and faced his rivals over and over on the red stuff, he would likely have losing records against some of them as well. Lucky for him, he lost early to low ranked players instead of blemishing his head-to-heads with his top opponents. Being so poor on slow surfaces should totally knock him out of serious contention for GOAT.
     
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  35. Bruguera

    Bruguera Banned

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    Pete wasnt the best player on slow surfaces, but he does have some success on both. Some people on here make it seem as if Pete had NO SUCCESS at all on clay or other slow surfaces. Playing arguably the greatest rebound ace player of all time in Andre doesnt help matters either which would have given him two more aussie titles.

    My question is why hanst Roger seen more success on slower surfaces on clay and slower HC? He did grow up playing on clay you know. Pete who didnt grow up playing on clay, has won Rome along with the Davis Cup on clay along with 2 Australian Open titles along with deep quarterfinals and a semi run at the French.. Thats hardly "poor results"



    This is debate of whether Roger is GOAT, will be over if Nadal beats Del Potro and beats Fed in the finals. No GOAT contender should be able to claim they had their behind kicked at every slam final there is
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  36. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    Uhh...he had 3 career clay court titles and never even made a final in Paris. One of my favorite players, Alex Corretja won 10 hc titles and yet was known as a clay court specialist. Why isn't Sampras labeled a fast court specialist?

    I think we all know the answer to this one. One word: Nadal. He'd have won 5 French Opens and likely be at a total of 22 slams overall if not for this one man, who is simply a beast on clay...arguably the best ever and only 23 years old.
     
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  37. Bruguera

    Bruguera Banned

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    Exactly, and thats why he isnt the GOAT IMO. 7-13 overrall h2h with a 2-6 h2h in slam finals, If the h2h would have just remained on clay, it could be overlooked more. Since it stretches out along every surface in the game, thats worse.

    And now if Nadal beats Fed in the USO final, its really over. Fed has no claim anymore it that happens IMO. You cant be GOAT, and be systematically dismantled again and again by your main and only true rival, without you at least getting some of revenge on that player slam wise
     
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  38. Rippy

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    None of the other GOATS had 15 slams. :)
     
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  39. Rippy

    Rippy Hall of Fame

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    So Fed should tank in the semifinals of the US Open? Would that be better than reaching another final?

    Fed should have followed Nadal and Sampras' advice - lost earlier in tournaments to random players. Fed is just being punished here for losing in finals, which is actually better than going out earlier. I mean, people seem to have less of a problem with Sampras sucking on clay than with Federer sucking against Nadal. If Sampras was better on clay, he'd have losing H2Hs with good claycourt players.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  40. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    ok people dont seem to understand that sampras and agassi played 34 times, nadal and fed have played 20 times. and to say that his losing record is horrendous, is absolute rubbish. if you think h2h determines a goat, you clearly dont understand what it means to be goat.
     
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  41. Bruguera

    Bruguera Banned

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    Fed has the accolades of results.. But we we factor in Nadal, should the true hands down GOAT of a game have an equal? Should there be another player especially your rival be on equal footing as you? Should someone have their advantage with you in most of the slam finals you play against ech other?

    Pete isnt the GOAT either IMO due to his lack of week in week in out success and domination. Thats strictly for Laver or Pancho. But Pete can say he never let Agassi on equal footing as him. He was hands down above and beyond his next competitor
     
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  42. Rippy

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    But he had his fair share of early exits at slams, whereas Fed just accumulates all of his exits in finals against Nadal. I don't really think one is worse than the other. (Indeed, making finals more consistently should probably be seen as better, but it doesn't make much difference.)

    True about Sampras not being the GOAT either. Impossible when you factor in Krajicek. The true GOAT should not have an equal.
     
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  43. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    but Federer has no competitors in terms achievements. If he had a winning record against nadal more people would call this a weak era.
     
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  44. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    The H2H is 5-4 Federer on courts other than clay. And would be better if Nadal had actually made a US Open final in the last 5 years or stopped skipping tournaments like Wimbledon.
     
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  45. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    This is the truth. I'm glad Federer doesn't have 5 French Opens and 22 slams, else we'd have grafselesfan posting even more nonsense. Fed needs a challenge, it's a good thing.
     
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  46. Bruguera

    Bruguera Banned

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    Well every h2h is not going to be peachy..Sampras went 4-5 h2h overrall vs. Krajieck and 1-1 at the slams.. Fed also has his share meaningless h2h problems. Simon, Murray ring a bell?


    Its when the big slam matches start dipping into a a 2-6 h2h in finals matches, than it becomes questionable.


    We should take into context the h2hs. A poor h2h in big slam matches is worse than just regular match h2hs IMO or not slam finals at least
     
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  47. Rippy

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    Yes I agree slam H2H is worse. But bear in mind Fed is quite unlucky that his main rival is such a bad matchup for him. If Federer's bad matchup was some fairly average player, they wouldn't have to meet often in slams. Also, 4 of Nadal's wins were on clay in those slam matches. When they meet on grass in Fed's prime (04-07), Fed won. They never met in hardcourt slam during Fed's prime.
     
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  48. Bruguera

    Bruguera Banned

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    Possibly.. But shouldnt the hands down GOAT find a way regardless of the surface? Especially when its your rival.. You have played 20 times and know what to expect then.
     
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  49. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Need a towel?
     
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  50. Rippy

    Rippy Hall of Fame

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    Yes, which is why I guess the H2H is a blemish. But, Fed's other records basically make this blemish insignificant IMO. Why do some slam losses matter when you have more slams than anyone else anyway?
     
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