Rafael Nadal's triumphant run at the Roland Garros, where he won his record-extending 13th Grand Slam title and record-equaling 20th Grand Slam title, has reignited the GOAT debate between him, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Gilles Simon has weighed in on the debate too, in his new book. The Frenchman believes that despite Roger Federer's achievements and elegant style of play, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have an equal claim to the GOAT title as they have shown that there is more than one way to excel in tennis.
In the book 'This Sport that Makes You Crazy', Simon blasts tennis fans' obsession with Roger Federer. The chapter where he talks about the subject is appropriately titled 'The Federer Myth'.
"If Roger Federer keeps his records, that will allow us to say that, of course, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are good players too, but above all that they are less strong," Simon wrote.
"That's why this GOAT story has been gaining such proportions for years, because there are many who believe that Federer's records will never fall. But if Novak Djokovic overtakes him when he hardly makes any volleys, it will break the thought patterns of a lot of people. Because we just don't like him as much as Roger Federer."
A kid forced to play like Roger Federer should be able to answer 'But Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have won 21 titles by playing differently': Gilles Simon
Simon claimed that the tennis community likes to eulogize Roger Federer because of his textbook style of play. According to the Frenchman, if Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are able to overtake Federer's records, fans will not be able to 'limit tennis to one player'.
"If Federer's records fall, then we will no longer be able to pretend, we will no longer be able to limit tennis to one player," Simon said. "We agree that the game proposed by Federer is without doubt the most pleasant to watch, but it is not necessarily the most effective. Novak Djokovic, it may be less dreamy, but it is no less effective. And if he exceeds him in terms of Grand Slam victories (because ultimately that's what counts), then we will no longer be able to hide our face."
Simon, in fact, wants Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to overtake Roger Federer's title count - so that young players in the future can approach the game in many different ways rather than just the textbook one.
"Federer, who keeps his records, means that for generations to come, they will put him in all the sauce. And I don't want that. I would like a kid who is forced to play like Federer (to be able to) answer: 'Yes but Novak and Rafa have won 21 titles by playing differently'," Simon added.