Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer in the annals of Men's tennis history with his masterful win over Novak Djokovic at the French Open last Sunday. This puts Rafa right alongside the Swiss Maestro in the everlasting G.O.A.T debate of Men's tennis. While most people now agree that both men can be considered the greatest players to have played the game, Nadal's former coach, and Uncle, Toni Nadal has other views.
When Toni Nadal introduced his nephew to tennis, he would've never imagined the heights Rafa would scale. With his 20th Grand Slam win at the French Open last week, the Spaniard has left no doubt about his place as one of the G.O.A.Ts of tennis. Through the 2000s Nadal trailed behind Federer in terms of Grand Slam titles, winning 6 compared to Federer's 15. It was only after 2010 that Rafa's Grand Slam run gained some steam. In the last ten years, he has won 13 titles compared to Federer's 5.
Despite this great achievement, Toni Nadal, under whom Rafa won 16 of his titles, said that Roger Federer would still be his pick for the G.O.A.T of tennis. Clarifying his statements about the G.O.A.T debate, Toni Nadal explained, "I say that the best is Roger Federer because he has more titles in tournaments, more victories, more weeks of number one and everything counts." This echoes a number of statements, majorly by Federer/Djokovic fans who claim that if Rafa's 13 wins at the French Open are put side he looks like a much less well-rounded player.
In a recent interview with Radio Marca, the 59-year-old talked about Rafa's victory, saying that he was "very happy" to see his nephew win again. Nadal, who had previously commented on how conditions in Paris were unsuitable for Rafa added, “Rafa played an extraordinary game yesterday against a great rival, it is a very adverse situation.”
Rafa is also behind Roger in the number of lifetime titles won - he has 86, Federer has 103. Federer has spent 310 weeks ranked No.1 by the ATP while Nadal has 209 weeks at No.1 in his name. This is probably what Toni Nadal feels will tip the scales in Roger Federer's favour when it comes to debates on the greatest in tennis.
The Nadal vs Federer head to head stands at 24-16 in favour of Rafa. Federer leads on hard court 11–9, grass 3–1, while Nadal leads on clay 14–2.