Hey Big Al, this one is for you.
Al is one of my college buddies from waaaaay back who has served as my main antagonist when it comes to Roger Federer’s legacy in tennis (check out his awesome comments on my last rant on Federer, and this one and this one).
Al is a tennis aficionado who really knows his stuff. He thinks Federer is far and away the best men’s tennis player of all-time. I, on the other hand, disagree and believe that Pete Sampras is the best ever.
At any rate, I say all of that to let my friend Big Al and other tennis fans know that the Federer era of dominance has officially ended after his five-set loss to Andy Murray in the Australian Open semifinals this morning. I would argue that his era ended in 2010 after his win at the Australian Open, though he did win Wimbledon last year.
I will say that I do not think we will ever see another era of dominance in men’s tennis such as Federer’s in his prime, despite of my continued criticism of his level of competition. And I do not care what anyone says, if Rafael Nadal were healthy, he would have run Federer’s ass out of “tennis town” a long time ago. However, credit to Federer for his staying power, regardless of the circumstances he cannot control.
So have at it Big Al (and other tennis/Federer fans). While you excoriate me yet again in all things tennis, I will be enjoying the Novak Djokovic – Murray final this weekend.
Thanks for the mention Scott, how could I not reply? But this time there will be no ripping. I agree that the era of Federer dominance is over. He will not win three grand slams in a single year again like he did for several years in the early part of the 2000’s. Will he, or is he capable of still winning a slam? Yes, last year’s Wimbledon is evidence A. But at this point things have to fall right in the draw and Federer has to find his magic in the right games for him to do it again.
I’m still a rabid Federer fan and think that it is amazing what he can do with a racquet even though he is now in his 30’s. Watching the Murray-Djokovic match was a big reminder of just how boring most of the other players games are. They might play some great defense but I just wasn’t on the edge of my seat waiting for that next moment that just makes you say “OMG, how in the world did he just do that” as is the case in the majority of Federer matches. Time moves on for all and I am moving on and enjoying the new crop of players in seeing if Murray has staying power, if David Ferrer will ever break the glass ceiling, will Djokovic’s body break down like Nadal’s with all the sliding on hard courts that he does, how long until the story is broken that Djokovic does PED’s? (Thanks to Lance Armstrong for my higher level of cynicism then I had before his Oprah admission).
Thank you Scott for allowing the subject of tennis to grace your sports blog along with the other sports unlike many of the top sports shows who completely ignore it even when it takes place in their own backyard (The U.S. Open in September).
No worries Al.
I enjoyed our last Federer banters the last couple of years. Given that the women’s draw is by far more popular than the men’s – and as long as Serena and the other tennis beauties are in it – I will be blogging about tennis up in here :)!
To really be the GOAT you have to beat the best consistently, and be mentally tougher than them consistently. Federer didn’t do either against Nadal. We can’t just sit there and ignore this fact in our quest for who is GOAT. No doubt, 17 Grand Slams is incredible. But it’s still not about the sheer numbers – they don’t tell the whole story. There are very few long-time number 1s I can remember, if any, that had this much of a losing record against their rival. Not only that, it’s not like Federer never played Nadal close. He sure did. But he blew leads numerous times against him. Either he was up a break, had set point, or even match point.
You may see “aww gee, cut this guy some slack, etc. etc. etc” But we already do – Federer’s record against Nadal does not in any way prevent him from being superior to Nadal. Federer is absolutely the superior player to Nadal – he has more Slams, a LOT more weeks at number 1, made it to a LOT more major finals and semis. But is his record against Nadal enough to push him over the edge and make him GOAT? Sorry, that’s a bit of a stretch for me too.