How are you able to examine? Roger Federer on the unending foolishness of the GOAT debate

Roger Federer is a father of 4 — two ladies who’re 13, two boys who’re 8 — and so maybe that’s the reason, as he wraps up his taking part in profession, he thinks concerning the “GOAT” debate that has engulfed the tennis world the way in which mother and father may have a look at their kids.

Folks like to ask: Who’s the “Greatest of All-Time” in males’s tennis, Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic?

“People always like to compare. I see it every day with my twins. Without wanting, you compare them. You shouldn’t — ever,” Federer stated throughout an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, hours after his farewell information convention on the enviornment that may host the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s last competitors, the Laver Cup.

“Naturally, we do the same in tennis. … I am my own career, my own player, that needed those challenges. They needed a challenger like myself,” he stated, leaning again on a sofa, having traded within the blue blazer and polo shirt he wore earlier for a post-practice navy pullover, white T-shirt and black jogger pants. “We made each other better. So at the end of the day, we’ll all shake hands and be like, ‘That was awesome.’ Now is somebody going to be happier than the other? I mean, in moments, maybe.”

He referred to as the subject “a good conversation, let’s be honest” and “definitely a fun debate” that “you can endlessly talk about.”

But he additionally used the phrase “silly,” given all that he, 22-time main champ Nadal and 21-time main champ Djokovic have achieved.

“I always say it’s wonderful to be part of that selective group,” he started, speaking concerning the so-called Big Three rivals, then paused to sigh.

“How can you compare? What’s better? To win when you’re old or when you’re young? I have no idea, you know. Is it better to win on clay or grass? Don’t know. Is it better to have super dominant years or come back from injury? I don’t know,” he stated. “It really is impossible to grasp.”

Referring to Nadal, who’s 36 and is anticipated to be Federer’s doubles accomplice for his last match Friday, and Djokovic, who’s 35, Federer stated: “What I know is they are truly amazing and greats of the game and forever and will go down as one of the — maybe THE — greatest.”

Federer, who’s Swiss, grew up a basketball fan, and introduced up the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James back-and-forth from hoops.

“Who is the greatest? Probably MJ. But is it LeBron? Some stats say he is. I think it’s a phenomenon of (social) media. Everybody calling each other ‘GOAT.’ ‘GOAT.’ ‘GOAT.’ ‘GOAT.’ ‘GOAT.’ ‘GOAT.’ I’m like, Come on, OK? There cannot be possibly that many ‘GOATs,’” Federer stated, then cracked himself up with a Dad joke: “In Switzerland, we have a lot of them, but they’re in the fields.”

Federer guarantees he gained’t make a comeback; his surgically repaired proper knee gained’t enable it. His age, 41, doesn’t assist.

He is adamant, although, that he’ll stay related to tennis. That will embrace exhibiting up at sure tournaments, he stated, “to say farewell or goodbye, because I’ve been a part of those tournaments for 20 years.”

It will embrace watching on TV, a number of the time, and maintaining a tally of outcomes, the entire time.

He plans to maintain tabs on Nadal, who gained the Australian Open and French Open this season, and Djokovic, who gained Wimbledon however couldn’t enter the Australian Open or U.S. Open as a result of he isn’t vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 (“It’s been quite strange not seeing Novak in a lot of the draws,” Federer noticed).

“At this point, once either they surpassed you, or you’re not playing anymore, it doesn’t matter how far up they go,” Federer stated. “For me, as long as I could be a part of it and control some of it, I cared more.”


When it involves the pursuit of extra Grand Slam titles by Nadal and Djokovic, he stated: “I hope they go and do everything they want. I really hope so. Because it would be great for the game and nice for their fans, for their family. As long as it makes them happy.”

At one level in the course of the almost half-hour dialog with the AP, Federer talked about the concept of a participant “falling out of love” with the sport.

What did he imply by that?

Essentially: It’s not potential to all the time love each minute of each aspect of the life of a professional tennis participant.

“You go through phases. As a kid, you have this vision of the tour as this fantastic place: ‘It’s the coolest thing. I can share the locker room with the guys. I walk out to stadiums, there’s fans screaming my name. I can sign autographs, take pictures. On top of the world.’ But then at some point, comes a time, you’re like: ‘I didn’t read the small print, you know?’ Where it said: ‘And, oh, by the way, you need to do it in another language, and we need one more promo shot and you need to travel now and miss a plane and wait for hours and hours in rain delays.’ We knew it was probably going to happen, but was it going to be this intense? This is the part a lot of people don’t know about — what the athletes have to go through at that level,” Federer stated.

“Not looking for any ‘Aw, you poor guys.’ We’re doing well. We’re making loads of money and we have the chance to entertain millions of people. But I’m just saying, sometimes you have to second-guess yourself. Question yourself. Like, ‘Am I truly enjoying it like I’m supposed to?’ Because it’s a dream come true,” he continued. “And here you are, living the dream, yet it doesn’t feel so special anymore, because now it’s gotten normal. ‘Normal’ can be dangerous. ‘Normal’ can be no good, you know?”

That, Federer defined, is when the trick is to make issues thrilling for your self — perhaps “you fake it” or perhaps “you have people around you that help you.”

He gave credit score to the varied coaches and different members of his staff by way of the years for serving to push him.

“People see me on the court and they’re like,” he stated, then lowered his voice to a whisper, “’Oh, my God! He’s so gifted! Like, he can do it all by himself!’”

That, Federer stated, is nonsense.

”We want inspiration. We want motivation. We want individuals to kick our ass and let you know, ‘OK, put on your shoes and go for a run. Put on your shoes and let’s go follow. I do know you don’t need to do it right here. I really additionally don’t need to be right here, however let’s nonetheless do it. And then you’ll be able to go calm down,’” he stated. “It’s a challenge. But a good one. And I would do it all over again.”

And then he smiled.

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