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'Ridiculous' to suggest Roger Federer's style of play makes him the GOAT: Brad Gilbert

Roger Federer hits a running forehand
Roger Federer hits a running forehand
Rudra Biswas
Modified 16 Sep 2020, 17:23 IST

Rival fans have strenuously debated for years which male tennis player between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is the greatest of all time, or the GOAT. The trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have been so dominant in the last 15 years, having won 56 of the last 68 Major events, that each of them has a plausible shot of their own at the title.

Recently, former top 5 player and renowned pundit Brad Gilbert gave his perspective on the matter too. The former player talked about a range of things when it came to deciding which 'Big 3' member could go down as the undisputed greatest - from Major titles won to the head-to-head record between them.

No way is Roger Federer a better mover than Novak Djokovic: Brad Gilbert

Roger Federer at 2020 Australian Open
Roger Federer at 2020 Australian Open

With his default at the US Open last week, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic missed a golden opportunity to get closer to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam tally.

While Djokovic remains at 17 Slams, Federer leads the way with 20 and Nadal close behind at 19. However, career achievements are not the only thing that fans like to consider in this debate.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, a user named 'Aryan' claimed that Roger Federer was superior to his 'Big 3' rivals purely because he was an attacking player - a style of play that requires utmost precision and exposes you to a high a degree of risk.

Gilbert was quick to quash the user's insinuation about style of play being a decisive factor in the debate, calling it 'ridiculous'. The tennis pundit also claimed that while Roger Federer was amazing on the offensive, his movement was still not as good as Djokovic.

Head-to-head record is very important as well when things are so close: Gilbert on GOAT debate

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer

The trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are constantly put under the microscope keeping several facets in mind: titles won, weeks ranked at World No. 1, consistency, longevity and head-to-head records.

During the debate on Gilbert's Twitter handle, one of his followers claimed that looking just at the Grand Slam tally to decide the GOAT was "short-sighted". The former World No. 4 agreed, noting that the head-to-head record was also an important attribute to consider.

Roger Federer might not be too pleased with Gilbert's assertion; the Swiss has a middling W-L record of 10-21 against the two at the Slams. But while the H2H is not in his favor, the 39-year-old's 20 Slam titles and jaw-dropping consistency stand him in good stead in the argument. And when you consider other external factors like public image and marketability, Federer is well ahead of his peers.

However, Gilbert is keen on waiting for the 'Big 3' to end their careers before deciding on the GOAT.

Published 16 Sep 2020, 14:33 IST
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