Crikey this will be a hard task for me to achieve, but I’ve been told I ramble on way too much and I have to agree, it was my passion for tennis as someone was able to pinpoint that just gets me going. So I will now attempt the impossible reply by being succinct and ramble free.
Thanks to all who have added to this great topic. A topic that no definitive opinion or reply can yet possibly resolve. I do believe we have achieved one end in this discussion and that is that when time and history conclude on this topic ‘Who is the GOAT’, it can only ever be between Borg and Federer with Nadal’s run at immortality and greatness in tennis still evolving and possibly making it a three way consideration in time or maybe he will surpass both. With always due respect given to Sampras’s and Laver’s records and achievements which only makes the rarefied heights that Borg and Federer have taken the tennis record books to so much more phenomenal.
Again, without dismissing or weakening McEnroe’s personal opinion that he adjudges Federer as being the GOAT, is to me irrefutably flawed by the argument that he himself, as the extraordinarily talented player and fierce competitor that he most definitely was, he would have indeed held his own and not given an inch to Nadal or Federer in his heyday. So, unless you want to dismiss McEnroe as a great player who remember won 7 Grand Slam titles as did Connors also, as two of tennis’s greatest champions then you can see for yourself that the awe he holds Federer in as we all do, me included, is not recognising his own talent and achievements, which is pure folly. Between Borg, McEnroe and Connors they achieved 25 Grand Slam titles between the 3 of them. Federer does not have such a 3 way tie that he has to contend with, he sure does have one with Nadal unquestionably and Djokovic is possibly going to become that third and maybe even add Gulbis and Murray into this mix then intrigue of depth that Borg certainly had to contend with in his time and mastered may well eventuate. The Tanners, Krieks, Vilas’s, Geraulitis’s, and the emerging Lendl in Borg’s day easily hold water with the Roddick’s, Saffin’s, Hewitt’s, and Guga in Federer’s career as the big threats in any tournament with games that on their day could have troubled Borg and Federer, but being the true champions they were and are, they more often than not found a way to triumph as their records conclusively vindicate.
And yes I am not going well with being succinct …. grrrrrr.
So depth in tennis of great players across the eras is not a reason to dismiss or downgrade either Borg or Federer.
Banti you mentioned your recent despise on a personal ground for Borg’s post career and off-court dramas he has endured. Let’s hope Federer does not have to endure such ignominy as you suggest post his career, but it is too early to tell, but on court I would have no reservations at all in declaring Borg the more ambassadorial and humblest of champions we have ever seen of all time maybe, except for Pat Rafter, even more so than Federer who as this year has unfolded has begun to earn some wrath from the media for his post match interviews which have been at times shown some degree of sourness and ungraciousness on his behalf to his conquerors and not given them credit for their victory over him.
The most important dismissal I must provide to some of the postulations given in this thread is when some people believe we should isolate the best stages of a player’s career through their best statistics and not over their whole career. So it was put forward again by Banti that Federer had a 94% win record over a 4 year period which somehow demonstrates a superiority. By the way did you check Borg’s best 4 years from 1978 to 1981, where he played in 12 Grand Slams and played in all but 1 final, bowing out in the quarter-finals in 1978. That equates to 11 finals out of 12 at Grand Slam Level, equal to Federer. Also in that 4 year period he won 94% of his matches, so in isolation a statistic looks good, but ones career is judged on the whole of it not in isolation and Borg’s is and always will be superior to Federer’s. Add to that Borg never lost 14 matches in one year at any stage of his career as Federer has to date this year, which supposedly is in the same period of dominance you quoted. Borg only took 5 Grand Slams to win his first, Federer took 17 and they started almost at the same age and both won junior Wimbledon to kick start their respective careers.
I wonder if the person (Mike) is an American, who said in his response that the US Open is the second most prestigious or the 2nd hardest of the Grand Slams to win. I think that argument was well responded to by anonymous when he or she reminded us that there is only a 2 week gap between Wimbledon and the French which are played on the 2 most starkly different surfaces of them all. The number of times a player has been able to win both in a row is testament to this fact and blows Mike’s biased opinion on this out of the water. Remember, also to again add to the feats of Borg, he never played a lead-up tournament between the two championships, as Federer does in Halle each year. So that factor again is in Borg’s favour, such a feat is unheard of and no modern day player has been able to or would be able to do this. They all play lead-up tournaments to the majors.
So, I feel very comfortable in addressing and dismissing as best I can the arguments that suggest otherwise that Borg is the GOAT. As to the changing of the guard being evident in Federer’s case not being fact, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and possibly Gulbis should be enough to mention as to their current knocking on Federer’s door, especially and most certainly Nadal. On hard courts Djokovic is more than a spoiler, he is a real threat and possibly a dominant one as he proved in this years AO, this remains to be seen of course.
I failed miserably in being succinct, sorry.
Can I leave a challenge to anyone who is reading this, does anyone have a record of Federer’s that is superior to Borg’s? Accepting Federer has won the US Open on 4 occasions and Borg didn’t win it once (albeit 4 finals appearances), that gets negated by the fact Federer has never won the French Open (although 3 final appearances) and Borg did won it on 6 occasions. The Australian Open cannot be used as Borg didn’t play in it (other than the once as a junior emerging in 1974, where he still made it to the 3rd round and then won the next Grand Slam he played in). Any record you provide that has a superiority over Borg has to be of course from his whole career to date not statistics given only in isolation. I have already painstakingly done this research and I feel very comfortable in the knowledge, that Borg’s superiority over Federer is secure in every statistic you care to gather and can stand unchallenged, other than the number of bagels meted out which is in Federer’s favour at 6 -2, waaa hoooo on that statistic.
signing off ….. Gerard ….
Yes, I am an unabashed Borg and Federer fan … who feels very privileged to have seen both careers and my memories of Borg are forever etched in my mind as Federer’s are becoming and the torture to separate their greatness has come down to career statistics, which Borg wins at every level, which actually surprised me when I researched and if you take up the challenge you will be equally surprised. Today’s game is now predominantly now a back court game, other than Edberg, Sampras and Rafter, every Grand Slam champion has been a back court player not a serve-volleyer, Federer being more an all-court player, neither one nor the other. Why do I end on this note? Guess when historically this changed, you guessed it, when Borg emerged. He is the fore-father of the modern game. If you want proof of this have a look at the court wear and tear at Wimbledon before and during Borg’s reign and you will notice the brown marks at the service line not as it has been since Borg retired which is now noticeably at the baseline. So, Borg evolved the modern game which is now the superior game over the previous style of game that the other former great players had perfected, who were all net rushers and serve volleyer’s. Only the greatest player’s affect such change and their legacy being that as we have been witness to, all subsequent players emulate that style of game, bar the few. A sober finishing note, I reckon. Best of luck with the challenge, I have tried to save you the bother, but there is nothing better than finding out for yourself, I reckon.
Cheers and long live tennis. … watch out for Gulbis the Latvian, he looks a very promising young emerging player.
By the way, Chris Evert-Lloyds (now Norman) statistics are yet again superior to Borg’s, I have had that rightly thrown at me before and have done the research and this was verified, so how good was she?
Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert-Lloyd are the GOAT’s of our game.