Tennis - the Greatest Game

A last word on the tennis issue …

Much water has passed under the bridge since I published this article in October 2008, and both Nadal and Federer have achieved new heights in their careers. As far as the timing issues, for which I have created a poll, I am a bit annoyed with myself that I did not think of the ATP’s solution to the problem. The new rule by which a player forfeits a first serve if he should receive time violation warnings subsequent to an initial warning, is by far the best way of dealing with the problem, even though it is rarely used. For that reason I have closed the poll on time violations. However, I still feel very strongly that any medical time-out, for whatever reason, unless caused by an external factors (e.g. being injured by a supporter or a chair breaking), should be penalised by the number of points the player would have played during the time-out. Please continue to voice your opinion in the poll above.

Returning to the topic of which of the two players may be the greatest player ever (obviously, to date), it is instructive to look at the surfaces on which they fared best. Of the four grand slam events, two are played on hard courts, one on grass and one on clay. Of the nine Masters 1000 Series events, six are played on hard courts and three on clay. Their achievements on these surfaces are shown in the tables below.

TitlesTable 17092018

Nadal is without question the “King of Clay”, as is evident from his records. However, it is a pity that the Masters 1000 Series does not have a single grass court event , let alone three. What would Nadal’s Masters 1000 Series record have looked like if there were no clay court tournaments (Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome), but three grass court events instead? It should also be noted that Federer reached the French Open five times, and lost to Nadal on four of those occasions.

In my opinion there can be no doubt that regardless of whether Nadal’s Grand Slam trophy count should eventually surpass Federer’s, Roger Federer will remain the most versatile in terms of surface, the most talented in terms of his repertoire of shots, and in conduct the most professional male tennis player of this era. He would be the nearest to “the complete tennis player” that I can imagine anyone ever to be, this Gentleman of Tennis.

 

Download the spreadsheet (.xls) breakdown of the match here.

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