Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer: who is the greatest sportsman ever? Can the two tennis players, for what they have done, be considered the best sportsmen ever, even better than Michael Jordan, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Pelé and Muhammad Ali? The Swiss Maestro and the Spanish King of Clay have written indelible pages in the history of tennis, giving fans one of the greatest eras of sport.
A rivalry that found epic and dramatic moments, such as the finals at Wimbledon 2008 and the Australian Open 2009 and 2017. They rewrote and shattered a series of records that, just twenty years ago, seemed impossible to break.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, with their 20 Slams, have led tennis to reach peaks of popularity today perhaps second only to soccer in the world, with the same following of fans and media as F1 or NBA. Federer and Nadal are celebrated by us media, fought over by sponsors, admired by fans.
Two opposing playing styles like day and night, which blend perfectly in a show that history will not forget even in a thousand years.
Who is the greatest sportsman ever?
For Federer, winning the 21st major of his glorious career will not be a utopia, but almost a mission impossible.
Extremely difficult, but not impossible. Nadal, on the other hand, with three or perhaps four years of career still ahead, could become the most successful tennis player in the history of the game. And therefore the greatest sportsman ever, capable, with talent, determination and perseverance, in one of the most difficult goals in the history of sport.
Even more than myths and legends like LeBron James and Lewis Hamilton, who are still wowing everyone with their achievements. More than icons that go beyond sports, such as Pelé, Diego Armando Maradona, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
All immortal champions, iconic for their victories and their dramas, in the collective imagination the stars to reach for mere mortals. Well Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will go even further than these great champions we have already mentioned.
Beyond the stars of the firmament. In a hundred years, when a young tennis player or, in general, a young sportsman approaches tennis or any other sport, he will say to himself: "I want to be like Federer and Nadal."
And the Swiss and the Spanish will continue to fight again in 2021, with that atavistic sense of a vacuum in the stomach that all the money and victories of the past will certainly never have satisfied. With Novak Djokovic trying to counter their duopoly, trying to enter that exclusive club made up of only two people.
They will still be there, with an extra year on their shoulders, they are older, wiser, more successful. Will they still be there fighting, and will the others be able to fight them?