For many years, Roger Federer held sole ownership of the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All time) title in the eyes of many. However, with him missing in action for almost a year, coupled with the continued success of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the Swiss Maestro's status has come under the scanner more than ever.
At the recently concluded French Open, Rafael Nadal equaled Roger Federer’s record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles. For many, the Spaniard rightfully staked his claim as one of the ‘GOATs' alongside Federer. Others felt that Nadal deserved to have sole ownership of the title given his unmatchable exploits in Paris.
Nick Kyrgios unsurprisingly falls in neither of the two categories. Speaking to Corey Williams on Courtside Huddle, the Australian gave his thoughts on the current status quo of the Big 3 and threw his weight behind Roger Federer.
Known to be an avid basketball fan, Nick Kyrgios likened Roger Federer’s status in tennis to that of legendary NBA player Michael Jordan. For the Australian, Federer remains the ‘GOAT’ due to his dominance on every surface along with his unique style of play.
“A lot of players will tell you Rafa is the GOAT, Novak's the GOAT but in my opinion, I think Federer is still (the GOAT),” Kyrgios said. “I think he is almost a Jordan status type (player). He was kind of the main guy that was you know so dominant on every type of surface. I think the way he plays the game is something special.”
Roger Federer is the most dominant player of all time but in this era, it's actually Rafael Nadal: Nick Kyrgios
Despite not being on the best of terms with Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios showered immense praise on the Mallorcan. The Australian lauded Nadal’s feat of winning 13 Roland Garros titles in particular.
“I mean I wasn't surprised when I saw Rafa pretty much easing through the draw at the French Open,” Kyrgios continued. “That's his backyard, he loves playing in there. Honestly my opinion - I don't think we are ever gonna see anything like that ever again in the sport. Someone so dominant on one surface. He's right there with the greatest of all time.”
Despite labelling Roger Federer as the most dominant player of all time, Kyrgios acknowledged that Rafael Nadal was the most dominant player in this era.
“In my opinion, I have played all three, all four of them,” Kyrgios continued. “Andy Murray is right up there as well. You look at Federer, he is the most dominant player of all time but in this era it's actually Rafa.”
Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal have had their fair share of problems in the past but that didn’t stop the Australian from complimenting Nadal's achievements. Kyrgios believes that the Spaniard is an ‘absolute champion’ for going level with Roger Federer on 20 Major titles.
“I am very different and we have had our differences when we played each other,” Kyrgios added. “We're fiery, we are competitors. We are going to go at each other. But at the same time, I am not going to take anything away from him. He is an absolute champion. 20 Grand Slams, it is ridiculous.”Published 26 Oct 2020, 16:46 IST