If you were to remove a player’s biggest rival(s), what would their career totals look like? For simplicity’s sake, I will be completely optimistic and assume that they would have won without the presence of their rival (Not counting Sampras’ loss to Agassi in the 1992 FO, because it’s extremely unlikely Sampras wins that without Agassi. Yes, this is entirely subjective, but this post is more for fun/illustrative purposes). Here’s a selective list: Federer (without Nadal) 23 Grand slams total (out of 27 events) 7 at Wimbledon, (consecutive) 6 at FO, (5 consecutive) 5 at USO, consecutive 5 at AO 11 straight grand slam titles (FO 2005 to AO 2008). 6 straight grand slam titles (FO 2008 to USO 2009) Sampras (without Agassi) 16 Grand slams 7 at Wimbledon 5 at USO 4 at AO McEnroe (without Lendl) 14 Grand Slam Titles 7 USO 3 Wimbledon 3 FO 1 AO Borg (without McEnroe) 14 Grand Slams 6 French Open 6 Wimbledon 2 USO Borg (without Connors) 14 Grand Slams 6 French Open 5 Wimbledon 3 USO Agassi (without Sampras) 14 Grand Slams 6 USO 4 AO 3 Wimbledon 1 French Open Connors (without McEnroe) 14 Grand Slams 8 USO 4 Wimbledon 1 AO 1FO Connors (without Borg) 13 Grand Slams 6 USO 6 Wimbledon 1 AO Nadal (without Federer) 12 Grand Slams 6 at FO 4 at Wimbledon 1 at AO 1 at USO McEnroe (without Connors) 10 Grand Slam Titles 5 USO 5 Wimbledon McEnroe (without Borg) 8 Grand Slam Titles 4 USO 4 Wimbledon Federer (without Nadal AND Djokovic) 26 Grand slams total (out of 30 events) 7 at AO (5 consecutive) 7 at Wimbledon (consecutive) 6 at FO (5 consecutive) 6 at USO (consecutive) 18 straight grand slam titles (FO 2005 to USO 2009) Connors (without McEnroe AND Borg) 19 Grand Slams 9 USO 8 Wimbledon 1 AO 1 FO McEnroe (without Lendl AND Borg) 17 Grand Slam Titles 8 USO 5 Wimbledon 3 FO 1 AO Borg (without McEnroe AND Connors) 17 Grand Slams 6 French Open 6 Wimbledon 5 USO I’m not doing Lendl (8 total GS titles), because it’s hard to pick his biggest rival. Consider: He’s lost GS tournies to: Becker (five times) Wilander (four times) Connors (three times) McEnroe (three times) And for fun, Andy Roddick without Federer: 9 GS 4 Wimbledon (3 in a row from 2003-2005) 3 USO 2 AO To recap, Federer is clearly hurt the worst by a single rival—Nadal, obviously. Federer loses potentially 7 grand slam titles because Nadal decided to play tennis, including an amazing 5 at the French Open alone. With Nadal, Federer is probably the best player ever; without Nadal, Federer makes a mockery of the sport and dominates it like no athlete since Babe Ruth in baseball. Without Nadal, he would have a career grand slam, five times over and an incredible 11 straight GS titles streak. He would also finish tied for first at Wimbledon, the French Open, the US Open, and be first at the AO in total titles McEnroe is equally killed by Lendl. McEnroe (7 actual GS wins), lost to Lendl 3 times at the USO, 3 times at the FO, and once at the AO. Although, this is much more optimistic for McEnroe, because 4 of these loses were in quarters, where 6 of Federer’s losses to Nadal were in the finals and one in the semi’s. Without Lendl, McEnroe would have a decent claim as the greatest ever over Federer due to his doubles superiority and the irrelevancy of the AO during much of McEnroe’s prime. Connors is almost equally hurt by McEnroe (6 lost) and Borg (5). Without both, Connors wins an incredible 19 grand slams, including a remarkable 9 USO titles and 8 Wimbledon titles (both records, even on this list) and a career slam. Agassi, without Sampras, would probably be considered one of the 3 greatest players ever. Sampras and Nadal are hurt little by a single rival, each only netting an additional 2 titles. Without Federer, Andy Roddick might be considered a second tier all-time great player, instead he’s considered a one-slam wonder. I should take back my comment about Federer being hurt the most by the existence of one other player. Clearly Roddick and his 2-20 record and 0-8 record in grand slams against Federer is hurt more than any other player on this list.