These first two months of the season have given us many surprises. Hardly anyone could have imagined Rafael Nadal's triumph at the Australian Open, a tournament that had crowned him only once back in 2009 and which had often been hostile to him.
Fresh from a long stop due to injury, the Spanish phenomenon became the author of a memorable ride 'Down Under' The 35-year-old from Manacor recovered two sets from Daniil Medvedev in the final, undermining his opponent's certainties just when the Russian seemed one step away from the finish line.
Thanks to this success, the former world number 1 overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the majors. Rafa also became the fourth man in history to have won all Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).
As if that were not enough, the Majorcan also won in the ATP 250 in Melbourne and in Acapulco. Guest in the latest episode of the podcast 'The Functional Tennis', Frances Tiafoe has rekindled the debate on the greatest ever.
Tiafoe opens up on Novak Djokovic
"It's tough [to decide who the GOAT is], but I'm still going with Roger Federer," Tiafoe said. "You can paint a whole picture with what he has -- stupid good service, can play all the shots, makes the game look so easy and is a great ambassador for the sport."
The American was equally impressed by Nadal's feat, expressing incredulity at how the Spaniard went from almost quitting the sport to becoming the undisputed leader in the Slam race at the ripe old age of 35. "But then again, Rafael Nadal is crazy.
21 Grand Slams and to do what he did, 2 sets down and 3-2 0-40 in the third, we're talking about three match points. He gets broken and it is over. He knew it and everybody knew it. To do it at the age of 35, the dude was talking about quitting tennis, bro," Tiafoe said.
"Rafa's [chances of becoming the undisputed GOAT] have a ticking time bomb, you could say that. But he just won the Australian Open." Frances Tiafoe did not count Novak Djokovic out of the GOAT debate despite lingering doubts about his future due to his insistence on remaining unvaccinated against COVID.
"And then look at what Novak [Djokovic] is doing. [Deciding the GOAT] is hard, man. Obviously, Novak is going to do his stuff, but whatever ends up happening. He could have like 25. He's not slowing down at all," Tiafoe said. "Pick your poison, I guess."