The Instigator
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The Contender
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0 Points

Roger Federer is not the best Tennisplayer ever.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,347 times Debate No: 35945
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Yes. He has been the most successful player in the history. But is he the best? IMO there is a difference between the term "Greatest of all time" and "best ever". While the title "Greatest of all time" is all about achievements and the player's impact on the sport, the title "best ever" is only about the actual performance on court and statistics.
Roger Federer to me is the GOAT(Greatest of all time)(eventhough John McEnroe thinks Rafael Nadal is the greatest), but he is not the best.
Rafael Nadal has been more successful than Roger Federer at the age of 27 and he leads in statistics.(winning percentages and H2H)
At the age of 27: Roger vs Rafa:
Slams: 12(5Wimby, 4USO, 3AO, 0FO) vs 12(2Wimby, 1USO, 1AO, 8FO)
Masters 1000: 14 vs 24 (!)
WTF: 4 vs 0 (worst surface possible for Rafa)
Olympics: no medal vs gold medal(on hard courts)
Davis Cup: 0 vs 4
Weeks at No.1: 237 vs 102

Despite HUGE disadvantages Rafael Nadal has managed to be more successful than Roger Federer at his current age.(27)(as of July 2013)I base that statement mostly on the fact that he has the career grand slam while having won the same ammount of slams. This means that Rafael Nadal has managed to beat the best on every surface.(in fact he is the only man in history to win a slam on every surface at least twice)(and the only man in history to win a slam on every surface in one caleder year(2010))(and the only man in history to hold slams on every surface twice in his career(2008, 2010))

As for the huge disadvantages:
1. Injuries
Nadal had to skip 3 Grand Slams while being in his prime.(he would have been a, if not THE, favorite for each slam.(Wimby 2009, USO 2012, AO 2013)
Nadal most definitely lost in Grand Slams because of injury in his prime 5 times.(Again he would have been a, if not THE, favorite for the title in each slam)(FO 2009, AO 2010, AO 2011, Wimby 2012, Wimby 2013)(I did not include the USO 2009 because Del Potro won the title so he might have beaten even a fit/healthy Nadal)
I leave the time,which he spend recovering his game after injuries, out.

2.Importance of surfaces
Rafael Nadal is in his comfort zone only on clay.(about 30 percent of the ATP's points and tournaments per year)
Roger Federer's comfort zone is on hard courts and grass courts.(together they take up about 70 percent of the ATP tour's points and tournaments per year)
This unimportance of clay results in an incredible disadvantage compared to Federer:
Slams: 1 vs 3
Masters 1000: 3 vs 6
WTF: 0 vs 1
Points: 9250 vs 26000
Tournaments: 18 vs 58

Also Nadal's worst surface(hardcourts) is the most important surface on the ATP tour.(60 percent)

3.Tougher competition
The players aroung Nadal's age(+-2years)(Djokovic, Murray, Soderling, Del Potro, Berdych, Tsonga, ..) are playing more consistent and better than the players from Federer's time(Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian, Gonzalez, ...)
Especially Djokovic and now Murray are better than anyone from Federer's generation.(aside from Federer himself of course)
There is no doubt that Federer's rivals back then were great players but they were not as consistent and they weren't a threat to Federer like today's players.
In his best year(2006) Federer lost only 5 matches but all his losses came from players around Rafa's age. Players that were far from their prime. Also more than half of Federer's losses in his very prime(04-07) came against player's from "Rafa's generation" while they weren't even in their prime.(12 of 23)

Rafael Nadal has the best win/loss percentage hin the history of the sport at 83,4%. (Federer: 81,4% now; 81,5% before 2013)
Nadal also has the best win/loss percentage outdoors, in grand slams, in 1000 Masters and against the top 10. (only borg is better in grand slams and against the top 10 but he has to be excluded because played the Australian open only once)
Also Nadal is the best in H2H statistics against the best. (20:10 vs Federer, 20:15 vs Djokovic, 13:5 vs Murray, ...) There are only 2 players who have a winning record over Nadal after playing him at least 3 times(Davydenko 6:5(Nadal had to retire because of injury once), Hrbaty(3:1))

It is because of these reasons I think that Roger Federer cannot be called the best Tennisplayer ever.(Remember this debate isn't about if Nadal is the best but if Roger is the best)

Happy about every vote and counter argument. Just keep in mind that I am not new to the issue and a simple 17 vs 12 or 302 vs 102 isn't going to be enough.


although i agree that federer is not the best player, neither is Nadal. You could bring up stats from Nadals career, but djokovich is the best player and he has a better record than both.
Debate Round No. 1


1. If you agree with my statement then why did you join the debate? After all it's about the statement "Roger Federer is not the best Tennisplayer ever". A debate is supposed to be between two sides of opposing view. You wasted someone's opportunity to actually give useful counter arguments to my statement. Well done!

2. In what way does Djokovic have a better record than Rafa?
Djokovic at 26 vs Rafa at 26(pre 2013):
Grand Slams: 6titles; 11finals; 35appearances(no French Open victory) vs 11titles; 16finals; 33appearances(won all 4 Slams)
Masters 1000: 14titles; 24finals vs 21titles; 31finals
WTF: 2titles vs 1final(worst surface possible for Nadal)
Olympics: bronze medal vs gold medal
Davis Cup: 1title vs 4titles
weeks at No.1: 91+ vs 102

Nadal also leads in H2H 20:15:
Clay: Nadal leads 13:3
Hard: Djokovic leads 11:5
Grass: Nadal leads 2:1
In Grand Slams: Nadal leads 7:3
Aside from 2011 Nadal has always been the guy to root for in important matches.

And Nadal has a better win/loss percentage overall, outdoors, on clay, on grass, in Grand Slams, in Masters 1000 and against the top 10. (source: ATP reliability zone)

Djokovic is generally the better player on hard courts. Nadal is generally the better player on clay and grass. And he was the better hard court player in 2009(winning the Australian Open and Indian Wells) and 2010(winning the US Open).

I have no idea how someone can be under the massive delusion that Novak Djokovic is a better player than Nadal, Federer, Sampras , Agassi or Borg. He still has to prove himself by winning Grand Slams.(especially the French open) I'm not saying that he can't do it, but to say that he is already the best is just premature. He would need to have at leas 10 Grand Slam titles under his belt to even be in the discussion of "who is the best ever". And he can't end his career having a negative record against Nadal(15:20) and Federer(13:16). Until then all of your assumptions are pointless.

None of my point have been refuted yet.


browntown forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


This debate is pointless without opposition.
So you gave up on Djokovic? Judging from the fact that you didn't come up with any counter argument or any reason at all to believe that Djokovic is the best ever let alone one of the best 5 tennisplayers of all time.


browntown forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Here are a couple of additional reasons why Federer isn't the best tennisplayer ever:

Roger Federer is a late bloomer.
At the age of 20 he had not won a any singles title, let alone a Grand Slam. While players at the same age, like Safin or Hewitt, were already very successful in Slams, he couldn't even get into a quarter final. In 2000 the courts hadn't been slowed down and the balls were still quite light. So physically it was much easier to be at the top level than it is in today's game. It could be that his serve&volley game just wasn't nearly as good as his baseline game. This suggests that he benefited greatly from the slowing of the courts since 2001.(after all he won 16 of his 17slams on slowed courts; Rafa only 4 of 12)

Federer also has a negative H2H record against now 16 players.(Rafa only 8)
8 of those players have played Federer at least 3 times and still have a positive record against him.(only 2 players against Rafa)
2 players stand out. Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Both beat Federer even in his best year(2006). Nadal owns a 20:10 record over Federer. With a 8:2 record in Grand Slams.(!) Murray leads 11:9., leading on hardcourt and grass courts being a tie.


browntown forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Please vote!
Remember: this debate is about whether Roger Federer is the best ever not if Rafael Nadal is the best ever.


browntown forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by MannK 4 years ago
Rochombus you can also add Rafa has a Career Golden Grand Slam while Roger has a Career Silver Grand Slam
Posted by Monst3rTres 4 years ago
I think Rafael Nadal is the best player
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF