With Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic’s exits from Wimbledon, Roger Federer is now the odds on favourite to win this major. At the age of 35, he is continuing his run of majors solidifying his claim of the greatest male tennis player ever. Add in Rafael Nadal as the greatest clay court player of all time and you begin to understand why this is the greatest era ever.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are number 1 and 2 on the list of most majors won. And they are continuing adding to their tally. Federer has already won one this year and is the favourite to win the Wimbledon. Nadal dominated the French open this year and if healthy will probably be the odds on favourite every year for the foreseeable future. If they retired today they would be hands down they most dominate male tennis players to date. However, they are adding to their totals and making it even more unlikely that anyone will ever touch them in terms of overall majors.
I truly believe that for someone to overtake the final major total that Federer and Nadal end up with, they will have to be a generational player playing against a field absent of legitimate competition. Similar to how Serina has dominated over the past while. Not trying to take anything away from her accomplishments but there is no other player that challenges her on a consistent basis. Now when you look at the Federer Nadal rivalry, imagine if either of those players were not on the tour for the others careers. Another way of looking at it is how many majors did they cannibalize from each other. Roger Federer has only won the French open once, mainly due to Nadal’s dominance. Imagine how many more he could have won if Nadal was absent from all of those tournaments. Heck, Roger even sat out the most recent French because he knew he had no chance at beating Nadal.
Not only have the two players been this dominate while playing against each other, they have had periods where they have faced legitimate competition from other players as well. There was a time that Novak was favoured at the beginning of most majors. Same with Murray to a lesser extent.
This has been a great period for tennis in terms of level of competition. It only highlights the impressive accomplishments of these two men.
The other great thing that has added to this era of tennis and helps solidify it as the greatest, is the likability of these two men. Roger Federer is such a gentleman and so humble that you cannot help but cheer for the guy. Nadal compliments that perfectly as the fiery Spaniard and this creates a perfect dynamic. If you are not drawn into liking both of them, you instantly love the demeaner of the one and cheer against the other. This creates not only compelling tennis (there have been so many iconic monuments between the two) but great invested interest for a causal fan.
I’m afraid that the end is drawing nearer for the careers’ of these two men. Enjoy the final moments of them while you can because I believe that this is the greatest era of tennis and we may never relive this.