Legendary doubles player Todd Woodbridge reckons that Roger Federer’s claim's to the ‘GOAT’ title is questionable given that he has an inferior head-to-head record against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - two of the other contenders for the crown.
During a recent conversation with Wide World of Sports Radio, Woodbridge had no hesitation in singling out Roger Federer as the ‘greatest all-court player’. However, the 22-time doubles Slam winner wasn't as convinced about the Swiss' candidature in the overall 'GOAT' debate.
"He's (Federer) the greatest all-court player," Woodbridge said. "I find it hard to suggest he is the greatest [of all time] when he doesn't have a winning record over Rafa and Novak."
Roger Federer trails Rafael Nadal 16-24 in the head-to-head, even though he has won seven of their last eight encounters. The 39-year-old has fared a little better against Novak Djokovic, but even there he has a losing 23-27 record.
Woodbridge also believes that Rafael Nadal’s utter dominance at Roland Garros has punctured Roger Federer's legacy. The Australian claimed he would have had no qualms in calling Federer the GOAT if the Swiss had managed to win at least three French Open titles - thus reducing Nadal's Paris haul correspondingly too.
“But his (Federer) game style, the way he's carried himself – Rafa spoiled it by dominating the French Open with 13 Grand Slam titles," Woodbridge added. "If Roger could've won three of them and Rafa just 10 – well then yes, he would've been (the greatest of all time).”
I really feel Wimbledon is where Roger Federer would like to leave: Todd Woodbridge
Todd Woodbridge had retired 15 years ago, on a bright summer's day at the All England Lawn Tennis Club - a place that he considers to be the 'mecca' of tennis. The Aussie believes Roger Federer could have a similar idea for his retirement, which doesn’t seem very far off at the moment.
"I finished at Wimbledon because that was the mecca for me, that's where it all began, that's the home of tennis,” Woodbridge explained. "I really feel that's where Federer would like to leave, and it could then be on his own terms.”
Woodbridge also expressed his disappointment at the way the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted Roger Federer's signing off years.
"I think it's such a shame that if this is what happens to Roger, COVID has taken away from it being on his terms,” Woodbridge said.
The 49-year-old went on to assert that the ‘Big 3’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have produced a golden era in men’s tennis. Woodbridge fears that tennis as a whole will 'struggle' when the three call it a day.
"It's a great story, it's great drama. It's been one of the greatest eras of any sport that we could've ever watched," the Aussie said. "You've got to think we will struggle to get back to those heights any time soon because they were phenomenal players to have all come through at once.”Published 16 Dec 2020, 21:42 IST