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Federer vs Borg. From Gerard. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on September 2, 2008


…. duck season is over, but I will stick my head out, so don’t shoot Andy…. thanks too for your worthy reply and valid points and keeping alive this topic of great interest to me …..

Without allowing my opinion to rule the roost here (or whatever is the equivalent for ducks) and responding with as much objectivity and a void of bias from me as possible, I will top up my earlier 5 cents worth and double your 200 yen, to what you said and proposed in your response and in the politest way possible dispel the conjecture you put forward as weighing in Federer’s favour and I do so with conviction and a sense of ease in the reply ….. I have seriously studied both of these wonderful players in serious depth and awe and when opinion is totally removed and believe me when I say this, much to my surprise and again without any bias what-so-ever, Borg wins in every department … so let me have the pleasure to reply to your ‘check marks’ you assigned and correct their allocation.

I, in no way was penalising Borg in my comments, regrettably and with ignorance might I say, others do when they compare the depth of talent in his day to that of Federer’s today, as a way of making an argument and bolstering one versus another my comment was to be a balanced one in redirection … for those same Federer supporters the same argument will, I am sure one day be leveled as a way to promote a future players credentials and they will say the same irrelevant point against Federer that the depth of talent (true or not) in say 30 years is greater than in Federer’s day.

We who marvel at Federer now (and I am definitely one) will pooh-pooh that notion as an being irrelevant point, the talent Federer has is a gift and one that very few people have been blessed with and this talent is regardless of era and technological advances. Such rare talent with all other factors being equal in that regard, I am sure Federer would hold his own in any era and Federer fans would agree, I know I will.

So, it is with Borg, his records weren’t achieved by happenstance as being some person who just happened to pick up a tennis racquet one day, see others having a hit at Wimbledon and ask for a game and with much chagrin to those he played against win a few matches. Regardless of opinion and certainly not fact being used to lessen the quality of his 41 opponents in succession that he beat in his unbeaten run at Wimbledon, which Federer tied this year, I dismiss and totally do not agree that his 4th round opponents or any other round were any less a quality to that which goes around to day in the Grand Slams. Jose Higueras (Federer’s most recent coach), Fred Stolle, John Newcombe, Tim Gullikson, Tony Roche and so on and many other former greats are coaching and passing on their wisdom to the Federer’s and Agassi’s etc in todays tennis, these same players were around and playing tennis in Borg’s day. The respect that these few players I have mentioned have rightly earned amongst todays players as being truly former great players and it seems to me to rightly dismiss any notion of any of them being poor opponents and to me it is such disrespect to them that they would be adjudged by opinion only as being weak 3rd and 4th rounders. Add, Ken Rosewell, Wojtek Fibak, Gerulaitis, Vilas, Tanner, Curran, Connors, Brian Gottfried and I could give you a list of many more and that is without mentioning, McEnroe and Llendl. So, check mark can not at all go to Federer, sorry. Era of talent was just as strong in Borg’s day as it is today and in no ways is it weaker than todays … only the technology and speed of game that has been an evolutionary component of the game has changed and there would be no doubt that if these were a part of the game back in Borg’s day or earlier you would have still seen the same champion players rise to the top because of their champion qualities. So …. era and technology play no part at all I am sorry to say in this topic to preposterously lessen a Borg to a Federer in talent.

Spitz vs Phelps …. skin suits versus speedo togs/trunks, buoyant faster water, sports science and nutrition are some of the many advances in technology not available to Spitz in his day, but no one, even Phelps would lessen his qualities because of the 30 year era difference and the technological advances that come over time, nor his opposition. Nicholas Vs Woods in golf … one modern day great chasing a champion of a different era, we don’t hear of anyone attempting to diminish the greatness of Jack Nicholas champion qualities and downgrade him, because of era and technology or opponents.

So, check mark clearly goes to Borg for his superior statistics and winning ability in any period of his career to any period of Federer’s including Federer’s best 4 years. Did you realise that Borg’s best 4 years is superior to Federer’s. People will downplay Borg here because he didn’t play the Australian Open, the facts are that in all the tournaments he did play he won more often than Federer at his best. Hard to accept I know but he did.

The real reason to give Borg the tick on top of that is more a case of his utter and complete dominance in his time made that made his opponents look weaker than they were, that is the truth here. Like Federer has up until this year done excluding his rivalry with Nadal and the early rivalry with Hewitt, Federer has dominated the tennis world and the Phillippoussis’, Rafter’s, Henman’s, Nalbandians, Rodick’s, and Safins to name a few have been made to look a weaker player. So too did Borg dominate that much in his era that people incorrectly assume his opponents were weaker, Wrong. It was purely a case of Borg’s incredible and incomparable dominance that is the fact here, like Federer’s 4 year dominance, but Borg did it for 9 years, so you can see 9 years (Borg) vs 4 years (Federer) of domination wins, hence check mark definitely goes to Borg without an ounce of hesitation or reservation.

You correctly gave the 2nd check mark to Borg and any tennis follower will agree that Borg has had a mental toughness second to none. The consideration that a point here or there could have championed the call that Federer produced the greatest comeback ever didn’t happen, Nadal won. A point here or there has never won a Grand Slam, the final point wins it and until that match, the greatest ever match at Wimbledon has been considered by tennis greats the 1980 final between Borg and McEnroe and whether the 2008 final between Nadal and Federer is to match that one, opinion will decide. I have the official video in my keeping of that match in 1980 and have watched it many times and it loses nothing in comparison to this years final. Borg’s steely and icy resolve is unparalleled.

The third component that you attempted to give to Federer is the easiest one to dismiss. Conjecture and opinion with the utmost respect to you was all that you used …. no one (including me nor you) can say for sure whether Borg would have or not dominated for another 2,3 or more years after 1981. Remember he still won 90% of his matches in 1981 and made 3 Grand Slam finals, winning 1 and losing in the finals in the other 2 … then he retired. In my opinion that does not announce a forthcoming losing streak.

Retirement does not diminish in anyway Borg’s career, how could it. How many times have we heard champions should bow out at the top and similarly some players don’t know when they are past their prime. We want to remember the champions as winners and hopefully the slump Federer is experiencing this year will improve and re-right itself and with dignity allow him to bow out as the true champion he is and in a time of his choosing as Sampras did, however if he chooses to continue playing and this years results reproduce themselves then he has shot himself in the foot in the champions stakes, Borg didn’t he retired at the top. Michael Jordon possibly the greatest sports person who has ever lived retired and came back and once again won MVP awards and made a minnow team (Milwaukee I think) a champion team and his final retirement was as illustrious as any period in his career. The number 26 was retired and the legend lives on …. so does his Nike Air brand. Federer is at the cross roads of his career and the changing of the guards I believe has happened, Nadal and others have his measure. Not one player had a better for and against with Borg, only McEnroe went close with a 7 all match-up between them. Federer cannot say the same he is 6 – 13 with Nadal and the fact many of those wins are on clay is not a reason to deny Nadal that he does have superiority over Federer and now with his win on grass at Wimbledon and more recently on hard courts, Federer is no longer the number 1 player and possibly will struggle to as you said yourself have the same dominance he once did. So maybe Federer should have retired at 26 as Borg did and go out as a winner, it will be sad to see this years results become common place, he deserves better. So, credit should go to Borg for retiring at the top and allowing us to remember his pedigree as the greatest of his time and perhaps ever .

Ponder I have … and the result 3 check marks to Borg …. hope your Sunday morning was fine …. thanks again Andy for your passion and knowledgeable opinion, I love this topic ….. most readers won’t … too verbose is their call and to them I apologise but I just let it flow … over to you … remember i did double your bet and believe I collected…. lol



33 Responses to “Federer vs Borg. From Gerard. Thanks.”

  1. banti said

    Mr.Gerard welcome again,

    I have to say this was weaker than your prior rebuttals. If I may start..

    Since you believe this.. “only the technology and speed of game that has been an evolutionary component of the game has changed and there would be no doubt that if these were a part of the game back in Borg’s day or earlier you would have still seen the same champion players rise to the top because of their champion qualities” and neglect that players physically have evolved over the years into stronger, faster, better conditioned athletes who play a different level of tennis, I cannot argue this point further.


    As Andy would say “Gerard-san” get your facts right.

    “So, check mark clearly goes to Borg for his superior statistics and winning ability in any period of his career to any period of Federer’s including Federer’s best 4 years. Did you realise that Borg’s best 4 years is superior to Federer’s. People will downplay Borg here because he didn’t play the Australian Open, the facts are that in all the tournaments he did play he won more often than Federer at his best. Hard to accept I know but he did.”

    False: Fed total stats winning percentage best 4 years 93% ,95% ,95% ,88%. He won 93% of his matches over 4 years. Borg did not. Fed won 11/16 of the Gradslams he played in his best 4 years. Borg did not, he won 7/12 which if i’m not wrong with the math are not better stats. And most importantly, Borg did not have to play a hard court GS as Fed did , which I think anyone would agree, would have put Borg out of any statistics debate if he had to do this. He never won a hard court GS in his career as we all know.

    “, I dismiss and totally do not agree that his 4th round opponents or any other round were any less a quality to that which goes around to day in the Grand Slams.”

    False again: The players you mentioned including stolle, newcombe, roche were all more than 10 years older than Borg when playing him. They would be playing in the senior leagues in the Fed era. Lendl did not win a title or become a contender in GS till 4 years after Borg beat him in the french open final. He was 21 when he played him, blossoming late as players sometimes do:) JMac was slowly beating Borg consistently as we all know twd the end of Borgs career. 2 times in a GS in 81. Vilas who you mentioned could be considered at the level of Nadal in previous post bc of his clay court streak had won a total of 4 GS in his entire career, 2 of them being Aussie opens who no one played. I highly see this as a level field of what Fed had to battle so far.

    Lastly, concerning what would have happened if he didn’t retire. Who know’s but surely he wouldn’t have won anything on a hard court:)

    Good luck with Andy’s response as well..

  2. Bento said

    They can’t move like Federer. This is regardless of depth. The rest is “details”.

  3. spring said

    Can you be any more convoluted? That was entirely unreadable.

  4. Deep South Girl said

    Gerard, can’t you condense your text??
    You pontificate. You might be able to get some pointers from Ernest Hemmingway.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Spring.

    I imagine you and your Writing and Composition professors didn’t see eye to eye.

  5. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “So maybe Federer should have retired at 26 as Borg did and go out as a winner, it will be sad to see this years results become common place, he deserves better.”

    (1) Borg DIDN’T go out as a winner. He lost the last two Slams that he played, and chose not to even try to defend his French title in 1982, where McEnroe would not yet have been a threat,
    even if John HAD played it, which he DIDN’T.

    (2) It is my FERVENT HOPE that Federer has TWO MORE
    “common place” years like this one. Assuming he beats Gilles
    Muller on Thursday, it will mean at the very least that he adds the following Open Era records to his burgeoning collection:




    Oh…and Borg’s 6 NON-consecutive French titles will lose their
    luster in comparison to Nadal’s 6 CONSECUTIVE.

    Yep, I can certainly see why you hope that Federer
    will “pull a Borg” with the early retirement thing.
    Better hurry up and wish that on Nadal, too… :->

  6. Sol said

    Boxingary, love your comment.

  7. Gerard said

    I have been check mated … thanks for correcting me everyone … I will take it all on the chin and accept that Federer’s fan club is mightier than a Borg fan who also appreciates every aspect of the majesty that is Federer …. I love the game of tennis and all the great champions of all eras past and present and the future ones we are yet to embrace and laud …. I concede and accept that I have not convinced anyone of my belief in Borg’s superior greatness over Federer and that the GOAT tag is Federer’s in your collective opinion …. whilst accepting that …. I will fade away quietly, seek an appointment with my English professor to earn a much needed degree in succinctness. …. but from my perspective I could never see Federer’s achievements as being as great as Borg’s and over their respective careers and to date that fact is good enough for me … it is a shame from my viewpoint that the 4 year pigeon hole of great results that Federer accumulated which ignores the years before and after is the measure of greatness …. so all I can say is Borg and Federer are the greatest 2 players ever and that has to preclude Sampras who should never be considered for that title of the GOAT ….. I am going into early retirement now … I thought I would follow Borg’s lead on that and just say a big and sincere thanks to all who contributed, you are a very knowledgeable group of passionate tennis fans as am I and I have enjoyed the chance to dribble my verbosity, but also apologise to those who got migraines from wading through it all ….. ciao from Borg’s unabashed and proudly his unofficial greatest fan ….. Gerard

  8. Andy said


    In some points of this discussion you are a bit like a tennis player who finds himself in “no man’s land” on the court. No matter what shot you make, it’s not an easy one. I give you credit for trying, but maybe this is the reason tennis coaches say you should avoid “no man’s land”.

    Arguing with you about your assumption that Borg would go on for 3, 4 years at the same level is a bit like arguing with a guy who insists that a ball thrown up into the air won’t eventually come down. I know, I know, this is different – Borg COULD have done it. Sure. But I prefer to make my assumptions on the basis of what is natural. Also, as mentioned, I think there is a bit of a fairness factor involved here. Why should we give Borg the benefit of the doubt when he didn’t play after 26 while other greats to whom he is being compared did play after 26?

    And as for the Wimby final, yes, the final DID go Rafa’s way. No disputing that. But Gerard-san, you are not Joey Shmoey who knows nothing about tennis and ONLY looks at results. You are above that. You know that it is NOT anywhere near a remote twist of one’s imagination to visualize any opponent, let alone Roger, winning TWO points at 30-30 in a key game late in the 5th set of a match. And more importantly you know that had that happened, people would be going on and on about Rog’s mental toughness in that match. My point with that comment was not to show that Rog is more mentally tough than Borg was. I’ve given Borg the checkmark on that one. My point was, and I think you probably do understand this, that the public perception of Rog’s “mental fragility” is at an all-time peak right now, but all it would have taken were some very minor random events (a slight slip here, a slight miss-hit there) and that public perception would have been quite different now.

    So now I’ll turn to the talent pool thing. Without being too harsh on any player in history, as they were of course all good to certain extents, there are a few too many names like Dibley, Pilic, Carter and Masters amongst Borg’s opponents in these rounds in my view. Even higher grade opponents like Pfister, Teacher, Frawley and Tarocy seem less imposing to me than guys like Ancic, Berdych, Nalbandian, Blake and Haas for Federer (I’m getting these examples of actual opponents from Wikipedia by the way which has all the draws for all the majors – interesting stuff).

    I know that you’ll find some names amongst Fed’s opponents which could be considered the modern day equivalents of some of Borg’s guys, and I also know that there might be an unfair tendency just to assume the modern guys are better because they are fresher in our minds, but I trust what my eyes saw, having been around for both eras. Even after equalizing all factors for technology, fitness and other such era factors, and even after attributing some more weight to Borg’s opponents on the basis of the points mentioned above, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that a guy like Igor Andreev yesterday was a tougher 4th round opponent for Fed than a guy like Jamie Fillol Sr. was for Borg back in the late 70s. No offence to Fillol Sr. or to any of these guys actually. They were good players and seeing names like Harold Solomon and Eddie Dibbs and looking up info on them again has been a nice nostalgic trip for me. But Gerard, you were there, you saw it. Think back. Forget Borg’s game in particular and ask yourself what weapons a Fillol Sr. had to beat any top ranked player really. Where is the big Andreev forehand? Where is the relatively big Andreev serve? Even accounting for technological advances, I don’t think Fillol Sr., a very accomplished tennis player in his time who deserves respect and praise no doubt, presented the challenge to Borg that Andreev did to Fed yesterday. You might respond “that is more a comment on Borg and Fed” but I disagree. Let me put it to you this way, you and I could probably get more points off a 2008 version of Fillol Sr. than Andreev yesterday.

    As for your point about the opponents of future superstars being viewed as tougher than Rogers, that very well could be so, but I’m not sure how meaningful this point is for you in this discussion. I mean, certainly you are not saying that we shouldn’t ever ask the question “Who had the tougher hurdles on the way to their Slam Titles?” It seems like a perfectly logical question to me in this debate. If some future guy has tougher opponents than Roger, that point should be noted in a debate about the two guys in my view.

    Anyway, this will be my last really long post on this as I think the discussion is starting to get a little like an Evert-Jaeger rally if you know what I mean. But go ahead, send me some more looping forehands if you like. I’ll just respond in a briefer (Navritilova-like) way from now on.

  9. boxingary said


    When you keep comparing Borg’s 9 years of dominance to
    Federer’s 4, that means you are including Bjorn’s first year on the tour ( 1973 ), since he only played a total of 9 years.
    A simple check of the ATP website will show you and anyone else that Borg played 66 matches that first year, winning 43 and losing 23. If you would EXCLUDE this year, and go with Borg’s remaining 8, you’re argument would be stronger. It would still be BOGUS, but at least it wouldn’t be patently ridiculous.

    And as for “winning percentages”, why don’t you do us a favor and drop the subject altogether? Per Bud Collins’ Modern Encyclopaedia of Tennis, Rod Laver won less than 87% of his matches in 1969. I’ve never known anyone to hold it against him.
    I’m guessing it’s because he won the 4 big ones that year.

  10. Deep South Girl said

    Gerard, my remarks were rude and I apologize for them. I needed to put it more diplomatically.
    I’m sorry.

  11. Anonymous said

    Goodness, Gerard. You do like to talk, no?
    I agree with you about Borg and Federer being the greatest two. I think you can’t really compare them as their circumstances are different. Borg was the greatest of his “generation,” Federer is the best of his “generation.” Rackets and all that.

  12. Anonymous said

    Gerard, do you have any little pills for my migraine?

  13. said

    Gerard: I hadn’t signed in properly so I am revealing my name to you for the last two (nos. 11 and 12)
    I was the one who sent

  14. Deep South Girl said

    Gerard: I hadn’t signed in properly so I am revealing my name to you for the last two (nos. 11 and 12)
    I was the one who sent

    Oops I reversed my name and mail address by accident. TP: help?

  15. Gerard said

    Thanks, Andy, Chris Evert, Anonymous, Deep South Girl, Boxingary, Sol, Spring, Bento and Banti for contributing to this thread … you guys collectively have been fantastic at keeping this thread alive.

    As for anonymous taking me up on providing them some migraine pills … all I can say is I am sincerely sorry for making you endure my tennis saga which seems as though it would be best summarised as rectinol’s version of ‘War and Peace’.

    Also, the apology given from deep South Girl was not necessary but appreciated nonetheless for your thoughtfulness in doing so. I am thick skin and took no offense at all at any of your comments and most likely deserved them. I do sadly rave on don’t I …. but of the crimes against humanity one could commit I don’t think it is a ‘jailable’ offense and if it was I would most definitely get a life sentence I am sure you’d all agree.

    so … let’s take this topic on another tangent to make my point as to why Borg IS the GOAT and not Federer. This is a position / opinion I would like your comments on and I am interested to see if you’d give the same reasonings which you voiced on the Borg vs Federer saga that I started:

    The Williams sisters, Justine Henin, Ivanovic, Sharapova and Davenport represent a fair array of modern day talent in the ladies ‘department store’ of tennis. All playing the modern day game of power plus tennis ….. how would you rate them against the likes of Chris Ever-Lloyd, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court, Billie-jean King, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, as some of our former greats of tennis. Would any of these former greats be able to mix it with todays players mentioned above. Or, because of the speed of the game and the power advantage todays players bring to the game, would they just wipe these former greats off the court. Of course not!

    Indeed, I think you you would be a very brave person to even suggest that the likes of Navratilova, Evert-Lloyd and co would be wiped off the court and be inferior to our stars of the modern era. I would indeed love to hear someone brave enough to try to put the idea forward that they would be no match to todays players.

    So, if you are smart enough to decline to support such a proposition and realise that Navratilova, Graf, Evert-Lloyd and co would easily hold there own in any era and I would say, like me, you would go out on a limb and say they would be just as dominant today as they were back in their heyday regardless of todays superstars ….. then you would realise that this same argument for diminishing what records and achievements Borg accrued in his era, as many have tried to suggest in this thread, in which his records are superior in their entirety to any other player in history (ignoring the 4 year domination of Federer out of context to his whole career), will be as robustly defended for the same reasons.

    So, a migraine pill is on offer for everyone who has read this far …… verbosity is probably still more evident, believe it or not I am trying to weave some dollops of succinctness in every now and then.

    I rest my case … Borg would hold his own today without fear of doubt and his winning percentages would have stayed the same at the expense of Federer’s dropping, that fact is, the speed and power requirements would have evolved as a part of his game as is required today, what would make him dominate is his winning ability (his stats are testimony to that), his supreme fitness (I believe he was even listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having one of the lowest resting heart rates of any sports person), his mental toughness, his unflappability, his single-mindedness, court craft, locker room edge and the reverence his opponents held him in as do Federer and Nadal today which you can see when he presented the trophies at this years French open and last years Wimbledon.

    That hard court nonsense, is the same as saying Federer is not good on clay. in a 9 year career Borg made 4 US Open finals, Federer in his first 10 years on the circuit has made 3 French open finals, so they are both fine players on their weaker surfaces even though they have not won either of those Slams. Please don’t use the quality of opposition reasoning that is getting so boring and lame and as relevant a fact as Michael Phelps needing swimming lessons. The bullish Vilas, Panatta, Higueras, Connors, McEnroe et al and many others by comparison lose nothing to todays greats, sorry to say. Borg is the only player in Davis Cup history who never lost a singles match, 33-0, Federer is currently 26-10. Seriously, Borg’s statistics are greater then Federer’s (without having to isolate a 4 year period) and add to this the fact he cannot be considered even the greatest of his own era, with his about 6 – 13 win loss with Nadal, that alone shoots holes in the argument he can be considered the GOAT.

    As Boxingary said in his response as a 16-17 year old in 1973 (Borg was born on July 20 1956) he won 43 of his 66 matches, how ridiculously good is that. Unheard of in any era, that is how good.

  16. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “As Boxingary said in his response as a 16-17 year old in 1973 (Borg was born on July 20 1956) he won 43 of his 66 matches, how ridiculously good is that. Unheard of in any era, that is how good.”

    Once again, Gerard, you’re HALF right. Ridiculously good, yes.

    After his last match in 1973, Borg was 17 years and 4 months old.
    His 43 victories in 66 matches is a 65.2 winning percentage.

    Michael Chang was born on 1972-02-22.
    So he was 17 years and 4 months old on 1989-06-22.
    By that time, he had amassed a record of 53-22,
    which is a 70.7 winning percentage.


    Oh………and Michael had a French Open title, too.

    So Borg’s 1973 has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with his GOAT candidacy……just as Chang’s 1989 did not translate into even one more career Slam.

  17. Gerard said


    in response ….. yes … true about Chang but as you know he was not able to go on with that awesome start he made, hence I did not make reference to it, I have kept these stats to only those who have the pedigree to be considered our games GOAT, Chang was not in contention with only 1 Grand Slam title to his name … so we all know Borg did go on with that amazing start and to giddying heights amassing his 6 French Open titles and 5 consecutive Wimbledon crowns as well as 5 other Grand slam finals … a stark difference in Borg’s favour, so back to you, who of the greatest ever players can match Borg with such an impressive start to their careers and improve, that was my point.

    So, let’s even break this up further to enhance once again Borg’s statistics…. as a 16-17 year old breaking into the senior circuit he won 43 of 66 matches which you correctly summarised as a 65.2%, not bad for a junior emerging, in fact other than Chang and we know Becker and Willander also had fairly decent starts, who can match that?

    If we look at Borg’s career statistics of 576 singles wins against 124 losses which equates to the highest ever in men’s tennis for winning percentages we get the amazing benchmark figure of 82.286%. Federer’s is currently 598 wins against 146 losses which equates to 80.376%. Nadal currently is at 81.36%. Sampras at 77.44%, Chang at 68%, Llendl at 81.8%, McEnroe at 81.55%, Wilander at 72.005%, Laver at 79.8%, Hewitt at 75.195%, Agassi at 76.049, Becker at 76.91%. Djokovic at 72.961% & Connors at 81.75%. I could go on but point is made, no players stats match or are better than Borg even with his start into tennis as an emerging Junior. Remove his junior stats of 66 matches and have a look at this, even higher at 84.069%. But career statistics will do … 82.286% is the highest percentage of wins by any male player ever and that distinction goes to Borg… so the stats certainly do stack up Boxingary and in Borg’s favour yet again. Unless you want to only look at Federers best 4 years selectively to bolster his stats, go right ahead …. Borg’s best 4 year stats stack up pretty handsomely against his anyway.

    Surely there must be some recognition given for the fact that Borg never lost in the first round once of any grand Slam, he was able to win his first Grand Slam in only his 5th attempt as I have already previously mentioned whereas Federer as great as he is, has lost on 6 occasions to date in the first round and it took him 17 attempts before he won his first title and then sure he has had an amazing 4 year run of successes, but as we know this year he has come unstuck with only 1 tournament win and 14 losses. So yes to accepting Federer’s 4 year reign of dominance was slightly better than Borg’s best 4 years, but in this same 4 years we need to remember he has not been able to dominate Nadal who owns him in this same 4 year period as their career head-to heads attest. So, career wise he trails Borg, fact. In his best 4 years Nadal has owned him. Nadal as we know is building his own impressive C.V. and already at 22 has 4 successive French Open titles and a Wimbledon and maybe a US Open as well in the next few days, which compares to but still trails Borg’s, 4 successive French Opens plus 2 more to make 6, plus his 5 successive Wimbledon crowns and a sixth where he lost in the final. So, Nadal is still chasing Borg and to be honest looks almost a certainty to surpass Borg if he maintains his dominance on clay, but he is also only one defeat away from being at a point where he is certainly comparable to Borg but not superior, so let’s see what 2009 brings Nadal before we can say he has supremacy over Borg on clay.

    So todays two greatest players are still in Borg’s shadows statistically. It is hard to accept for Federer fans I know, but statistics don’t lie and the top players have statistics that place them there based on their performances in their respective careers, as the compilation of stats above proves and like it or not, orders them on merit fully immune to my or other fans opinions. Borg heads this illustrious group of players.

    So semantically Boxingary, when I said “Unheard of” in respect to Borg’s amazing start as a 16 – 17 year old, I was referring to the other legitimate contenders like Federer for the mantle of GOAT, not Chang who’s career stagnated after his breakthrough win. So I was not “Half Right” as you inferred and stated, I am 100% correct when the pool of talent I referred to was what this whole thread has been about and they are the players who can be considered as the GOAT. Research provided and added here for your scrutiny and acceptance that these facts are true and unadulterated in any way.

    Borg’s Grand Slam career is even more impressive I Can provide these facts again for you if you want …. 40.74% of the Grand Slams Borg entered he won, i.e 11 from 27. Federer is the next highest at 32.4% (i.e 12 from 37). Sampras’s by the way is 27.45% with 14 titles from 51 attempts.

    Surely these facts are starting to allow you to consider conceding they are mighty statistics and to be anywhere near Federer’s statistics is phenomenal, but to be superior in every aspect is mind-boggling. So, my claims are not; made up nor non-researched, nor bolstered by only selectively choosing purple patches as has been offered in defense of staking Federer’s claim throughout this thread by others. Borg’s stats are from his whole career as every players are always ultimately summarised into. Borg’s C.V. is mightier than Federer’s and he can legitimately, away from anyones subjective opinion, be regarded as the GOAT and unequivocally so.

    Please try to find fault with any of the facts I have provided here and feel free to have a go at me for any of my opinions that may surface, but I am very safe in the knowledge and feel very assured that the facts I have provided which anyone can research to confirm are 100% accurate, not manipulated and nor with any bias and this response has been solely been written to list the pure facts and limit opinion.

    Gerard ….

  18. Andy said


    Bjorn should have you on the payroll!

    You keep talking about “facts/stats” as if they are gold and “opinion” as if it is worthless. But please consider that the word “opinion” can easily be exchanged by the words “analysis of the background behind the facts/stats”.

    With that in mind, I return to my very first points on this topic which I still think cast doubt on what you consider Borg’s “unequivicol” claim to the GOAT title.

    The 40.74 % winning percentage is simply misleading because of a lesser calibre of opposition in Borg’s era (no disrespect intended to Pascal Portes as mentioned elsewhere) and also because it LIKELY (“LIKELY”, MY TENNIS NUT FRIEND) would have become a lower number had Borg played on into his 30s.

    Also, the “owned” comment for Nadal over Federer shows some bias here. Even the biggest Nadal fans I know acknowledge that the stats are skewed due to the overwhelming number of battles on clay. Nadal may very well beat Federer this weekend on a hard court, but I’m sure even Rafa would acknowledge that had they played more on hard court in the years 2005 to 2007 the numbers would look better for Roger. AND, as mentioned before, Roger has also contributed to the not so good looking stats for him in the Rafa rivalry by making it to so many clay finals. If Pete Sampras had done the same on clay he very likely would have a losing record against Guga who probably would have stopped any of Pete’s clay runs in the finals. Again, Gerard, look beyond the “facts/stats”. Use your analytical abilities. You are either shortchanging those abilties or you are, whether you admit it or not, at least a little bit biased here.

  19. Gerard said

    Thanks Andy,

    no I am not on Borg’s payroll … lol for suggesting it … but it actually rams home a few points for me on this whole topic. I am having fun here trying to promote the idea that Borg is GOAT and know the worthiness of Federer’s case will always be there …. my trouble is to move the discussion away from any opinion, so take me out of this equation for a moment, 2 points I want to play out here:

    1). I didn’t concoct any players stats, so Borg’s are there for anyone to come up with the same results as I have and he sits atop alone above the whole list of all male players present and past. So why is it that people are quick to denigrate Borg’s opponents as being those from a weaker era, hence how dare one (in this case me) compare him to Federer, which if one is to remove any bias from this thread, can at best only ever be a subjective and opinionated stance or set of reasonings which attempt to present a conclusion that carries no factual input at all … but ….. in the next breath of this thread from those anti-Borg’ers who happily step up and laud and praise Federer’s era of opponents as being the yardstick by which we measure all eras off opponents by. Only in this sport are former greats not held in the esteem that they deserve. The stats are only one perspective I agree, but one that is always referred to when making comparisons in any other sport, for times, benchmarks, results, medals, championships and rivalries.

    Until Federer and Nadal commenced their rivalry the greatest rivalry previously was considered to between Borg and McEnroe for their contrasting styles and on court demeanors, as is the case with Nadal and Federer currently. So, we want rivalries, it makes for good tennis and with it the level of prestige goes up with every championship attained throughout such a rivalry. McEnroe’s euphoria at dethroning Borg at Wimbledon lost nothing in comparison to Nadal dethroning Federer this year after an unbeaten 41 match came to a halt, eerily the same as Borg. So no one including me denies Federer’s inclusion as one of the greatest of all time, but when we know we can’t compare generations and we shouldn’t subjectively denigrate an era of opposition, where does one turn to to try to find the separating FACTS.

    Hence, we can look at their career statistics (objective and unbiased) and this is where I entered this discussion by promoting the fact that statistically not by opinion, Borg has superior statistics. Not only better than Federer’s but every male player who has ever played the game. But it seems people do not want to accept Federer can’t be number 1 and therefore find reason to fault the stats and where else should one start but to denigrate Borg’s opposition which can then have the effect of besmirching his achievements and clouding his career as being one that was only bolstered by the ordinariness of his opposition … so lame, so wrong and not factual, just opinionated.

    It would be a big effort I know for any of the Federer’s fans who are reading this thread and discussion and to actually make a positive comment as to how amazing Borg’s stats genuinely are and not look for an escape clause. Is anyone out there prepared enough at least to acknowledge the facts that the stats remind us and tell us that they are devoid of opinion (and don’t blame an era of weaker opposition) as the reason why Borg’s stats are better than Federer’s? Andy? yes you guys …..Boxingary, Deep South Girl and others ?????????

    2). Because Federer is the here and now player and we marvel at what he has achieved, the younger folks won’t imagine there is a former great who can match him, because the media sensationalise and promote the idea of his unheralded mastery and talent as being above all else, it sells magazines, papers and earns prime time features on the TV. Notice none of the stats provided are in their entirety they are the ones echoed in here, the 4 year extraction from his whole career of which no one can deny is extraordinary. Add to that the Nadal rivalry, then there in lies a lot of feature articles and newsworthiness to get attendances up and interest in the game out there …. I want that too …. guess what the same media interest and frenzy existed back in Borg’s day, those old enough to remember would have seen Borg’s face splashed on Time Magazine, the record attendances at venues around the world wherever Borg played whether tournament or exhibition …. but being a fickle world we want to remember the current and forget the past …. same will happen in 20 to 30 years time when the next major talent emerges and threatens Federer’s and Borg’s records and the attention will be on the there and now and vagueness about Federer’s career will emerge but sensationalism will rule and the exalting of the future great player will start challenging Federer’s possible role as the most recent GOAT….. but we who remember Federer, and if you guys remain loyal in 20 to 30 years time, like I am to Borg, you will remember to put forward a strong case for Federer as I am for Borg. We should not forget our past greats and Borg is not only a past great but statistically the only GOAT there is ….. Federer is nipping at his heels I know ….

    Andy, opinion as you say isn’t worthless but only as long as it is balanced. So, please feel free to add opinion but base it on facts as I have. Otherwise opinions are just like ar#@holes, every one has one. Your ‘dictionary meaning’ that opinion is ‘… the analysis of the background behind the stats/facts’ couldn’t be found in the Webster or Oxford dictionaries. I take it you were inferring that I have no knowledge of the history and unravellings of the eras and careers of Borg’s generation and that if I did I would like yourself be denigrating and downplaying Borg’s opposition as being paltry and mediocre at best and therefore Borg’s records are misleading, well if you have the measuring stick devoid of opinion that can quantitatively compare generations and give some empirical value then I am all ears and will come on board and take swipes at people like myself for not knowing the hidden facts behind the stats. I personally am fairly sure such a device or measure does not exist, so I will comfortably stick with the facts and stats, that way I can’t be blamed for bias or rigging them.

    On that score you mentioned that the stat 40.74% is misleading, how so? You got me there … unless one of us needs a maths lesson, 40.74% is greater than 32.4% from my knowledge of maths and, that is not misleading and it is certainly free of bias and opinion !!!!

    I will remain cautious as we all should as to whether or not the Nadal will continue to own Federer on all surfaces as he does on clay and in the mental edge he definitely enjoys. If they meet in the US Open final in the next 48 hours some further developments may begin to emerge and the rivalry may either close or widen in this area. But my gut instinct is that it will be a Nadal / Djokovic final anyway. Yes, I will happily eat humble pie if I am wrong, but that is my feeling at the moment, based on the form guide this year not opinion or bias. I think the hard courts will see Djokovic start to dominate, like Nadal does on Clay and Federer has on grass.

    Anyway …. great response Andy and as you have gathered I am happy to discuss this topic for as long as anyone else cares to and am more than happy to accept and concede on points of fact but do have trouble on points raised that are opinions only and not able to be measured …. because if you hadn’t guessed i believe in my opinion that Borg is the GOAT and I have volunteered irrefutable stats and facts to add weight to my opinion. I also have not attempted to swipe a generation of players in the process to promote my opinion as I believe you attempt to do, i keep it to the facts.

    Gerard (could you pass on my account details to Bjorn for me for payment … lol)

  20. Gerard said

    Congratulations to Federer who defeated Djokovic in 4 sets, to make hi 5th successive final. The only person to have the chance now to win a second grand Slam for 5 consecutive times should be win. he can pass Borg now on that one. Borg won 4 successive French and 5 successive Wimbledon …. so history is in the offing here. I will also happily acknowledge my error in prediction that Djokovic would beat him tonight, but I have soundly been proven wrong. So all hail to Federer and his legion of fans. He is an amazing player and hopefully the final will be an epic and a huge slice of the jigsaw will fall his way to usurping the role of Borg’s as the GOAT if he is victorious … I can certainly concede to that.

    So well done to all you loyal fans of Federer, I hope he is able to win for you all. It will be hard and sad for me of course to see Borg’s mantle of GOAT be overtaken but it could not go to a nicer guy IF he does win the final.

    A huge piece of humble pie has been swallowed by me.

    Here’s to a wonderful final.


  21. Andy said


    I have to run soon but wanted to get this in before I go.

    I’m not going to shy away from OPINIONS no matter how many times you ask for facts. Again, if we go by facts/stats, Ken Dryden is the best NHL goalie of all time. If I were having a conversation with my hockey buddies and someone said that I would raise MY OPINION there too as to why his facts/stats are misleading. Great Great Great goalie. NOT the best of all time IN MY OPINION.

    You’ll see that in just about every post where I have commented on the talent pool issue from the 3rd round to the quarters that I have included a comment that the guys in Borg’s era were by no means slouches. I do NOT feel I have “swiped” or “denigrated” a generation of players as you have accused me. I’m simply answering my own question put to you. Who had the higher calibre of opposition in those earlier rounds? And the answer, though an OPINION, is supported by the facts set out in Wikipedia which gives the draws and shows the opponents. I CERTAINLY don’t think that Borg’s opponents in those rounds were poor, weak, untalented or any other negative word. I just think the question needs to be asked in this discussion and that overall, yes, IN MY OPINION, Fed’s hurdles in those rounds were larger. Would it make a difference to the GS tourney winning percentage if Borg were playing today’s guys in those rounds? Maybe a little, but I admit that it might not come into play all that much in that statistic as, yes, Borg was amazing and could do very well in any generation. Mind you, IN MY OPINION it would come more and more into play if we are talking about Borg playing into his late 20s. And even if he still got by those rounds the stat would be less imoressive IN MY OPINION for reasons given in my other posts about the stronger guys (Lendl, Mac, Becker…) starting the NATURAL process of taking over from Bjorn.

    Anyway, the more important BUT is the point that regardless of the effect on the statistic, Roger should, IN MY OPINION, get the checkmark for the answer to the question about early round opponents. And therefore, IN MY OPINION, Fed’s achievements up to the quarters of Slams should be regarded, to some degree anyway (I am really being as nice as possible here!) as a greater achievement than Borg’s, and that should be given AT LEAST SOME weight/consideration in this discussion.

    As for the later rounds by the way, I’d give Borg the checkmark, but qualify it on the basis of my comments in another post about Connors and the whole matchup thing and about how Rafa is simply a much more difficult matchup for Roger. You didn’t really answer my Rafa clay point by the way and my criticism of your use of the word “owned”. Again, it is a misleading way of looking at the rivalry IN MY OPINION.

    I have some more points maybe, but I REALLY have to run now. I typed fairly quickly. Hopefully I got the typos.

  22. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “So well done to all you loyal fans of Federer, I hope he is able to win for you all. It will be hard and sad for me of course to see Borg’s mantle of GOAT be overtaken but it could not go to a nicer guy IF he does win the final.”

    If Borg’s GOAT mantle will be “overtaken” by Federer winning
    the 2008 U.S. Open simply because Roger will then have
    consecutive Slam winstreaks of FIVE and FIVE — compared to Borg’s FIVE and FOUR — shouldn’t you have been regarding them as TIED [ i.e. – “co-GOATs ] ever since Federer won LAST year’s U.S. Open?

    I see no logical consistency here on your part.

  23. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “in response ….. yes … true about Chang but as you know he was not able to go on with that awesome start he made, hence I did not make reference to it, I have kept these stats to only those who have the pedigree to be considered our games GOAT, Chang was not in contention with only 1 Grand Slam title to his name … so we all know Borg did go on with that amazing start and to giddying heights amassing his 6 French Open titles and 5 consecutive Wimbledon crowns as well as 5 other Grand slam finals … a stark difference in Borg’s favour, so back to you, who of the greatest ever players can match Borg with such an impressive start to their careers and improve, that was my point.”

    Wish you would have written it this way to start with.

    Of all GOAT candidates, most certainly Borg had the single best start followed by one of the best primes. I would hope that everyone would recognize that as UNDISPUTED FACT.

    And my counter-point is this: Federer, despite a disappointing start to his career, has already overtaken Borg in career Slam titles 12-to-11, leads Borg in Year-End Championships 5-2, and is almost certain to expand those gaps before HE retires.

    Do the words “hare” and “tortoise” ring a bell?

  24. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “Borg’s Grand Slam career is even more impressive I Can provide these facts again for you if you want …. 40.74% of the Grand Slams Borg entered he won, i.e 11 from 27. Federer is the next highest at 32.4% (i.e 12 from 37).”

    The key word for you and Bjorn is “entered”.
    He entered 27, over a span of 35 held, sitting out 8.
    This suggests he was either more FRAGILE, or more IN NEED OF REST, than Roger. Either way, not admirable GOAT qualities.

    The first Slam Roger competed in was the 1999 Australian Open.
    His 11th Slam win was the 2007 Wimbledon.
    A span of…..LOOKEE HERE!!!!!…..35, just like The Swede.

    In modern marathoning, the guys who keep breaking the world record typically run TWO marathons a year — one in the spring, and one in the fall. Guys with as much talent, or virtually as much, who try to run 3 or 4 a year, just can’t produce the same rock-bottom times.

    But Roger, in another sport requiring incredible endurance, has prevailed despite doing it the harder way in turns of schedule. He has already surpassed Borg in terms of Slams and Year-End Championships won, and isn’t done yet. I’m confident that he’s JUST FINE with losing more lesser tournaments, bringing his overall percentage down a tad. I know I am.

  25. Gerard said

    I will make this my shortest post yet … just to answer Boxingary’s concern of my inconsistency and his belief I should have been talking co-Goats … with the tied stats of 5 & 4 consecutive Grand Slam titles both Borg and Federer share ….. I have tried in vain to answer this many times previously … if one looks to separate these two great players and champions, the last and only resort when it is across eras is to compare their career stats and win or lose the US Open, Federer will still not pass Borg’s career stats …. however as in my last post where I was still choking on my humble pie I ate …. I will concede and acquiesce on this thread to the call of you all and exalt Federer to the position of GOAT and sadly dethrone Borg who has held it for a glorious 27 years …. and as I also said the title of GOAT …. IF …. Federer wins the US Open could not go to a more worthy, greater or nicer guy …. so a part of me wants him to win … but the loyal part of me does not want him to pass this record of Borg’s … equaling it as he did with the result at Wimbledon this year to me sounds poetic justice, because they have been both forever etched in my mind as the truly greatest players who have ever held a racquet … with maybe the next 48 hours being the time left for Borg as the GOAT and then Bjorn may have to pass the mantle and baton to Roger … a sad day for me … but I will hail Federer as the greatest ever and join you, knowing how worthy he is to have knocked Borg off.

    … Hare and Tortoise” …. the phrase and fable ring a bell but I do not see the connection Boxingary …. if it means Borg is the hare because of his impressive stats at the beginning and Federer’s tortoise like start but steady as she goes analogy with his 4 years of impeccable tennis …. then it is not quite right the finish line for Federer is not crossed yet and his form this year has not been like his previous 4 has it? Borg made 3 out of 3 finals in his last year too and won one of them, so if Federer wins then yes a similar result… but depending on when Federer retires and if this years results are what is to follow for him ….. then no it isn’t a case of the tortoise and Hare at all …. but certainly a great burst of speed in the middle of his race.

    thanks again Boxingary, you are incredibly passionate and well educated when you right and every point you have made has been done with respect and a strong conviction, well done!

    I will need some consoling if Federer does win, even with the strongest sense of awe at his achievements, to pass Borg is an amazing feat … and well deserved … so I will be proud and happy for Federer, but I didn’t think in my life time I would ever see another player to match Borg and Federer is certainly about to do MAYBE just that.

    As for the stats of year-end championships … do the players rate that highly, certainly the prize money is awesome and being a part of it with the other 8 players in a round robin format is great for the fans and an unwind for the players, but would they rate that ahead of a Grand Slam title, I think not and as the Australia Open was also at the end of the year and Borg never ventured there, his end-of-year wound down, he is on record as saying, he preferred to spend time with family and friends back in Sweden over that time of the year … so I don’t think it was rated by him … nonetheless as a stat … Federer has him on toast and I concede to you yet again on a point … well done.


  26. Andy said

    Some further thoughts:

    1. Even if Federer loses the final on Monday, let’s not forget that he has added yet another STAT (yeah, okay I’ll go with one for a change) to this debate. Another GS final appearance (and not a hypothetical one, but an actual one, if you know what I mean). No small feat and, so even if he loses the final, he added to his legacy today.

    * Roger is going to have his hands full on Monday and might very well lose actually as he’ll either be playing an “in the zone” Murray or a very fired up Rafa who would have pulled off a very emotional and confidence building comeback to have gotten there

    2. What was the show which had the line “You got some splaining (explaining) to do?” I Love Lucy? Anyway, one way to look at this GOAT thing is to ask which of these greats has the most “splaining” to do when it comes to the gaps in their resume? The ultimate measure of tennis history is GS titles so specifically the question needs to be asked there.

    Sampras has a big one at the FO as not only did he never make it to a final, he only made it to one semi-final actually. And though there were some good clay court guys in his era, I think we can all agree that his guys were not at the level of Nadal. So Pete has a lot of “splaining” to do on that one.

    Borg has two areas that need some “splaining”. The USO and the Australian. Gerard has attempted to deal with the Australian, and to a certain degree I can buy his explanation. I must say though that I always found it bizarre growing up that the top guys back in the 70s and into the 80s didn’t go to Australia. Even though it’s true that it wasn’t considered anywhere near as big as the other 3, it was, even then, considered a Grand Slam. In hindsight those players, Connors, Mac and Borg etc, were pretty stupid, but hindsight is 20-20… To some degree though, I think the players of that era bear some responsibility for their decision. Either way, it’s a point that needs at least some “splaining”.

    The other one is larger for Borg – no USO titles. He did make it to 4 finals and deserves credit for that, but as I have indicated in other posts, he has some “splaining” to do for not being able to beat Connors in two finals, particularly in 1976 on clay.

    And as for Roger, well, he’s got some “splaining” to do about the FO thing (assuming he never wins it). But, his “splaining” is relatively easy actually. All he has to do is say, “I beat everyone there for 4 years but Rafa Nadal, one of, if not the, best clay court players ever”.

    Overall, I’d say Roger has the least “splaining” to do.

    3. Everything Roger does from here forward contributes to his case vis-a-vis Bjorn in my view. Let’s say next year Roger again struggles (for him), and maybe even moreso. Lets say he “only” makes it to three semis of the Slams and bows out early in the other. Well, that will be three more ACTUAL post-26 year-old semis over Bjorn’s HYPOTHETICAL post-26 year old semis.

    Gerard, you are a character and that’s great. I don’t question at all that Bjorn was an unbelievably tremendous tennis player. He WAS! And I hear your arguments and understand Borg’s AMAZING stats. I don’t think you are even mildly insane for putting forth Bjorn as the GOAT (though for other reasons I think you might be a candidate for a Cuckoo’s Nest somewhere). It’s the “unequivicol” part of your comments that I take issue with.

  27. boxingary said

    Gerard wrote:

    “As for the stats of year-end championships … do the players rate that highly, certainly the prize money is awesome and being a part of it with the other 8 players in a round robin format is great for the fans and an unwind for the players, but would they rate that ahead of a Grand Slam title, I think not”

    No, not AHEAD of a Grand Slam, or even equal to a Slam….
    but the next most important title AFTER the four Slam titles. For years, many respected tennis writers have referred to it as “the unofficial fifth Slam”, kind of like the way The Players Championship is referred to as the fifth Major in golf…
    [ and by that, they mean FIFTH IN IMPORTANCE, not FIVE EQUALLY IMPORTANT… ]

    Gerard also wrote:

    “as the Australia Open was also at the end of the year and Borg never ventured there, his end-of-year wound down, he is on record as saying, he preferred to spend time with family and friends back in Sweden over that time of the year … so I don’t think it was rated by him”

    If Bjorn had won the U.S. Open in either 1978 or 1980,
    thus keeping alive his hopes for a calendar-year Grand Slam, would he still have “preferred to spend time with family and friends back in Sweden”? I have a hard time believing that.
    No knock on Bjorn — it’s just that I doubt that ANY PLAYER who had won the first 3 Slams of the year wouldn’t drag themselves to the fourth and give it a shot, knowing it might be their only chance to “do a Laver”…

    Thanks for the kind remarks about my participation here.
    What can I say, you’ve made it fun. Occasionally bizarre,
    to be sure, but fun… :->

  28. Gerard said

    In reply to your last comments Boxingary,
    Federer is now quoted as saying it , Sampras lived by it and Borg also made it his quest too, not a bad trio of players ….. they all just played for the majors. So yes, Borg definitely would have come to Australia to “Do a Laver” as you put it and attempt to get a Grand Slam had he won the US Open …. oh how I wish his career was not smack bang in the turmoil years where the Australian Open didn’t rate with the big players and more importantly was the first of the Slams as it is now, which also back then was on grass …. and Borg was fairly handy on grass you might remember …. my whole discussion on this topic that Borg is the GOAT (for at least another 4 to 5 hours maybe) would and could not have had any detractors, because I can assure you and you’d have to agree that Borg’s 11 Grand Slams in only 9 years would have been more likely to have been 15 or 16 conservatively. So, history of the timing of the event robbed us of that being possible and of that I am forever disappointed, because as you know either side of Borg’s career by a few years only, the Australian Open always was the first of the Grand Slams but unfortunately in his day it was the last of them and around Christmas time …. grrrrr!!!!!

    Please remember many of the top players, not just Borg, did not patronise the Australian Open in his day for the same reasons as Borg, too far to travel around that time of the year where they would not be at home for Christmas, which is sad for tennis and for record books. Hence the likes of Johann Kriek, Mark Edmonstone and a few other players became winners of a Grand Slam title in his day, I hardly think any of the players who won the Australian Open in his playing days ever troubled Borg nor took a set of him in head-to-heads.

    So, be that as it may, Borg’s reign is possibly close to over, but will be still alive if Murray beats Federer ….. and so here is to Murray ….. ad he is playing out of his skin and a brand of tennis that will trouble Federer …. so watch this space ….. vive a la Borg.


  29. Gerard said

    Well, here I am to firstly congratulate the wonderful Roger Federer om winning his 13th Grand Slam this morning (Australian) time and then secondly, acknowledge him forthwith in this thread as the GOAT without reservations … I do so with much admiration for Federer and the man he has surpassed as the GOAT before him, the legendary and the now 2nd greatest player of all time Bjorn Borg … I made many statements over the whole of these fractured threads that to me were solid enough to make the claims I did and realised that the gap between them was minuscule at the outset …. it is still minuscule, but now balances Federer’s way.

    I have my own personal beliefs however, that even in unequivocally accepting Federer now as the rightful holder of the GOAT tag and thus (sadly for me) relegating Borg to now being the former GOAT and without question he is the undisputed 2nd greatest player of all time – it was history that robbed us of having the chase for Federer to unseat Borg as still being the case. My previous discussion on this same thread outlines clearly enough that; like history denied Laver from probably being ahead of both Borg and Federer due to the split in tennis during the advent of professionalism, so too did the dates and timing of the Australian Open conspire to rob Borg from being the holder of 15 to 16 or more Grand Slam titles in the same 9 years he won his 11. As well, there would be no argument to suggest otherwise on that being true, nor that likelihood that he would have most definitely had a consecutive run of 5 to 6 Australian Opens to go with his 4 consecutive + 2 French Opens and 5 consecutive Wimbledon’s.

    But, save yourselves the bother, I know like you that we will never know this and yes, it was his fault for not coming to Australia to acknowledge the prestige of the Australian Open being a Grand Slam to covet and add to his mighty career statistics. So a ‘nothing’ argument.

    Therefore, I have no more ammunition in the vault to through Borg’s way to challenge the validity of Federer’s undoubted and now undisputed claim as being the GOAT.

    All hail Federer … a most worthy GOAT.


  30. Andy said

    Gerard-sama (he deserves extra respect now, doesn’t he Chieko-san?),

    I guess you and I see the world with different glasses on, but that’s okay. To me NOTHING is unequivocal. You hold a glass in front of me and say “this is a glass” and I go to work on my arguments why it might not be. We’re different that way, but differences like that make the world go round as my grandmother used to say (never really understood what she meant by that actually).

    Anyway, all of my points were never to say to you that Borg is definitely NOT the GOAT, but rather just to point out factors for consideration in the discussion. I know you didn’t like some of them, but that’s okay too. I suppose, thanks to you, I gained a renewed appreciation to some extent for some of the players from my childhood. I still think I have a point there but discussions like this do round one’s thinking more and for that I thank you and all the others who made excellent comments here too.

    I must say that I find it a little peculiar that this one title should change your position from Borg being unequivocally the GOAT to Roger being unequivocally the GOAT. I mean, it is yet another cool stat for Roger, yes, this 5 and 5 thing, but I would think that if I were arguing against Roger being the GOAT my key points would not have changed all that much from this week to last week. In particular, the FO point hasn’t changed and the Nadal HtoH record hasn’t changed.

    Now, I feel I can handle both of these points against Roger and felt so before Monday’s win too. In fact it’s my contention that, in some ways, Roger’s 3 FO finals and 1 SF (and only losing to Rafa in 4 years) and Roger’s ability to get to so many clay court finals only to lose to a a guy who may well be the GCCPE (greatest clay court player ever) may very well be one of the best indications of Roger’s greatness.

    But to push Roger is not the main point of my post this time as you are now calling Roger the GOAT. What is the main point, you ask? Well, to again let you know that I DO indeed remember Bjorn’s GREATNESS! I watched a match live in Toronto between him and Sandy Mayer once. Mayer was playing GREAT. In fact, it was ridiculous how few unforced errors Mayer was making. One fine rally after another would go by. Mayer could not, by any stretch of the imagination play any better than he did that day. Borg won fairly easily.

  31. Gerard said

    What’s doin’ with all this Sama … san … chieko stuff?….. Hopefully you aren’t swearing at me, as I am not Japanese I have no idea where this line of greetings has come from, maybe there is an explanation, but I am at a loss for how it all started …. anyway ….

    As a tennis fan I pay homage to Federer and deservedly so for a wonderful win in the midst of a year that has not been akin to his previous high standards that he has set in the 4 years where he completely dominated the game.

    No, I have not jumped ship … all I have done in a conciliatory way is to acquiesce to a pro Federer audience within this discussion thread.

    To be honest, I sincerely and honestly believe even now that if Federer bought his ‘A game’ with him and the generational gap was something we could cancel from the equation, he would be at long odds to get but a few victories over Borg. That is how dominant Borg was. Borg at his best would nullify anyone who has ever held a racquet … but my opinion is not what this thread is about, I went in armed with some unbiased but mighty statistics that to me split at the micro level these two great players and in every facet they were in Borg’s favour and I cannot help but admire and appreciate what Federer overcame to win his 13th Grand Slam and due to the pro-Federer audience that responded in this thread I realised I was wasting my time trying to convince them that a career when over is not based on opinion which sadly is all Federer fans offered in this thread …. all just to diminish Borg’s superior statistics over Federer which btw are still superior to Federer’s even with 2 more Slams to his name.

    One day, the warts and all summary of their respective careers and what they both achieved will be rightly considered and won’t be ignored. Regrettably the only distortion of the facts that will be promoted by Federer fans, just like it has been for years by the Sampras fans is that whoever wins the most Grand Slams is the GOAT which to them is the only criteria which constitutes being the GOAT. I so disagree. I see a players career, even with their purple patches and good runs of victories as being only a micro part of their careers, couple that with the respective history and rivalries that enmeshes and entrenches itself in each player’s careers, this also has to play its part, e.g. the availability and comparison of wooden racquets vs carbon graphite’s and the types of strings used and the technological advances that evolve as the the game goes forward.

    I wish it was true that A player’s level of greatness were based on the collective statistics over the whole of a player’s career not just a selective 4 year period and the removal of bias hence with at least one Grand Slam title for 8 out of his 9 years to his credit and a close to 90% career match winning statistic compared to 81% for Federer, Borg would be and should be considered the undisputed GOAT. Similarly he should be the GOAT if we look at the fact that he won his 11 Grand Slam titles in just 27 attempts as compared to Sampras’s 14 in 51 attempts and Federer’s now 13 out of 38.

    No two players are ever going to play the same number of tournaments in their careers nor play the circuit for the same number of years, so when we look at that statistically to draw the likely comparison of which is the better result in accumulating their number of wins from the number of tournament and matches they play, yet again Borg is the GOAT. Here though we get to see the bias from Federer fans, who prefer to isolate his best 4 years from the 10 in total he has played and use that as being the measure of greatness. It is not that easy and it is a very biased selective distortion of the facts as a whole, a 4 year purple patch of dominance hides the 6 years that he was not as dominant. Borg started to dominate his game within the first 3 years of his game and dominated it till his final year. Borg was also never dominated by any player as Federer has been by Nadal. But yet again Federer fans lower that statistic by their collective opinion that Borg didn’t have a Nadal to contend with, but they fail to see that no matter who was around in Borg’s era, Borg dominated them … the best way to see this and a way in which I haven’t thrown in here before as an argument and that is to compare the other player’s statistics of his era against each other head-to-head omitting Borg. For example, Borg had a 19-0 career head to head total with a top 4 player in Geraulitis. Geraulitis however had a positive head-to head total against many of the other players of that same era. The same can be said of the likes of Vilas, Panatta, Tanner, the Gullikson twins, Curran, Mayer, Soloman, Fibak, Gottfried, Connors, Kriek, Llendl and any other player who’s careers were in Borg’s time, they were dominated by Borg, but against others they had healthy and closer rivalries. No player has dominated their era as Borg did in his against all who he played which should be an indicator of greatness. McEnroe was the closest with a 7-7 career head-to-head. Borg was that dominant. Federer has been dominated by Nadal regardless of whether that be on clay and now on grass. True greatness should not have exceptions as Federer fans want us to consider and override and weigh in Federer’s favour, hence the reason why I acquiesce and just let them believe that their collective, selective and opinionated facts rule rather than just the plain facts per-se being used. So the real point here is that Borg’s dominance was pure and unadulterated against all players regardless, which falsely and sadly then draws the conclusion that his era of opponents were a lesser pool of talent than Federer’s. You can see why I have acquiesced. No matter how one presents the facts as true and unbiased as they are, opinion lessens or neutralises them if they don’t happen to agree with a pro-Federer opinion. Talk about frustrating.

    I am glad you remember Borg’s greatness and the match you recall against Mayer which was just one of 90% of his matches in total throughout his career. I remember how he dominated at Junior level too. His Junior Wimbledon title was one of the most dominant ever. One of only 4 players to have ever translated a Junior title to a senior one, with Cash, Federer and Edberg being the other 3.

    Borg’s 33-0 Davis Cup singles record which began as a 15 year old against New Zealand is unparalleled. Federer’s 26-10 does not compare.

    Borg’s style of game was that dominant that it single-handedly changed the way in which tennis has subsequently been played since.

    Borg has single-handedly been considered responsible for spawning Sweden as a great tennis playing nation from a minnow nation, what a legacy. Federer has not as yet done the same, remembering Hingis came before him on to the circuit.

    So I have happily conceded that Federer is the GOAT and I do so based on his most remarkable 4 years of dominance …. but when his career is over and whether he wins the French Open or a Grand Slam and whether he dominates Nadal in the future will all go into the final mixing bowl to ultimately decide this question. A few more twists and turns may present themselves before he retires, so it is a slight tenure that he enjoys in usurping Borg as the GOAT. Again I concede this title only on the basis of his 4 years of dominance, but when his whole career is condensed into facts, he will trail Borg, but I dare not suggest it, I will happily just keep that to myself.

    So … there is my opinion … not worth much in a pro-Federer arena, but factual nonetheless and unbiased in Borg’s favour.


    Gerard (without the sans nor esquire nor chieko san?)

  32. Andy said

    Gerard – “sama” is a step above “san” in terms of formality and Chieko is the name of a Japanese poster on this site.

    I’m going to need to create some time to go through your post more slowly. But, for the time being, I’ll throw this question at you. And this will be a real test for your stated “unbiased” opinion. If Borg would have played in ’82-85, assuming he played each of McEnroe and Lendl 12 times in that period (3 times a year, once on each surface) what do you think his head to head record would have been against them?

  33. Gerard said


    Good question to pose and no one person (and certainly not Mr. Verbosity here in me) will have any definitive answer with complete surety on that one. So, rather than throw in any attempt to set myself up to be maligned for being possibly biased I will answer by mentioning a few other male greats of other sports; Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Ayrton Senna, Babe Ruth, Walter Lindrum, Tiger Woods, Mark Spitz, Jack Nicklas, Dan Marino, Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Diego Maradonna, Pele, Donald Bradman, Lance Armstrong and let’s round off with the greatest footballer of all time the King of football; Wally Lewis (an Australian who played the real football not the one that is only played by the Americans called gridiron).

    Most of those names you will have heard of and I am sure you could have added a few more. But in their chosen sports these players excelled and at some stage or another were considered by all who were followers and experts in each particular sport to be the greatest of all time or close enough to be thought of in that echelon. The ‘why’ is the common factor as to the reasons these greats were exalted to this rarefied pantheon of GOAT in their sports.

    Here is the WHY: These GOATS set the benchmarks, and whom individually raised the level of the sport in which they competed, they conquered all who they competed against at the highest level of competition in their respective sports, time and time again. In all of these sports, other than tennis, these former and current greats (in the form of Phelps, Tiger Woods and ) are forever revered for their achievements, they are never belittled, downplayed nor forgotten, they hold their exalted place with the utmost respect in the same manner by which they rightfully earned it. Borg more than any other tennis player in history (other than possibly Laver) and now Federer, rewrote just about every record in tennis that we now marvel at Federer equaling or in some standards now breaking. The list of these stats have been laboured in this thread and I won’t bore you with them again. Muhammad’s greatness has never been questioned, nor Michael Jordan’s. These 2 champions I mention are esteemed and revered all around the world and any modern day great in their sports of boxing and basketball may share their stage but will never push them off it. Not so in tennis though. Federer this and Federer that and how could he not be the GOAT. No one needs to be reminded of how just amazing Federer is, least of all me and to the day I die, I will never not remember him as being one of the most talented, gifted and extraordinary talents the tennis world has ever seen. So too was Borg, but it seems tennis fans and even former greats only get caught up in the here and now and have shortened memories that don’t seem able to look back past Federer’s last 4 wonderful years.

    So here is my answer to your question just like Sampras came back last year at the age of 36 and played a series of 3 exhibition matches in Asia against Federer, 5 years after he had won his 14th and final Grand Slam title the US Open in 2002, Sampras won 1 of the 3 matches and I believe went the distance in the other 2 matches they played. This same year 2007 was the year Federer had won 3 Grand Slams was the undisputed number 1 but here was Sampras matching him. I don’t rate Sampras in the top 5 players of all time and should never be compared with the likes of Laver, Borg or Federer, but was certainly an amazing player that is unquestionable. So, too would Borg have held his own and matched and beat the likes of Llendl, Becker, Willander, McEnroe and any other player you care to mention in those years from 82 – 85 without fear of a doubt. I know Borg did try a half-baked and unsuccessful comeback during that period and was beaten (I think if my memory serves me correct) by Leconte on the 2 occasions he tried. He also was with his trusty Donnay wooden racquet and as it had started to at the end of his career the game had evolved the first of the graphites that all the players were by then using. How do you reckon Federer today would go with a wooden racquet against Nadal or Murray or even a Nalbandian, if you can concede to the fact that he would be no chance then you can see where his comeback came unstuck. Also, like Nadal is almost anal with his routines and rituals, so too was Borg. He had had his mentor and coach in Lennard Bergelin as well as his former long time partner in Marianna Simonescu by his side for the whole of his 9 year career, but since they had departed the scene, he had been living a life of a rock star, tennis had taken a definite back seat in his life and he was setting up a business empire in the fashion world, he also got caught up with a former Italian porn queen in Loridana Berte and his world was a vastly different one to that he committed himself to 100% in his glory days, so that is why it was only ever a half-baked comeback at best. If he had wanted to be serious and find that commitment, his comeback would have been complete in my eyes, that is the sort of champion he was. He was the best and Llendl, McEnroe et al would have had a trophy cabinet full of runner up trophies to gaze at until he chose to leave the game and by 1985 he would have only been 29 and remember what Sampras did last year to Federer at the age of 36, so a no-brainer and with no bias as requested, of course he could have dominated till 1985 if he had chosen to and imagine the sort of records Federer would be chasing had he.

    So Gerard sama can rest in peace knowing with the utmost confidence that the greatest players of any sport rise to the occasion as Borg did for the 9 years he did play and could have done so for an easy 4 or 5 more at the same level of exponency and dominance. As Federer did just last week, proved at 27 years plus does not come with a used by date, just ask Ken Rosewell, Jimmy Connors and Sampras.

    thanks for your question.

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