Wilander: Without Nadal and Djokovic, Federer could have won 30 Grand Slams

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Wilander: Without Nadal and Djokovic, Federer could have won 30 Grand Slams

Former seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander says both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal elevated the game to a "different level" and adds the Swiss could have won 30 Majors if Nadal and Novak Djokovic never showed up.

Federer took the tennis by the storm when he first came on the Tour and the general expectation was that he would break the all-time Grand Slam record and undoubtedly finish with the most Grand Slams. Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, did indeed break the all-time Grand Slam record and beat Pete Sampras' record of 14 Major titles.

After winning the 2020 French Open, Nadal tied Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams. Last year, Djokovic won three Grand Slams and reached the 20-Grand Slam titles mark. Nadal now owns a record 22 Grand Slam titles, while Federer and Djokovic are tied on the second place with 20 Majors.

At Wimbledon, Nadal called Federer his "greatest rival."

Wilander: Federer, Nadal have the game to a different level

“I think both of them have taken the game to a different level," Wilander said on Eurosport when asked about Federer and Nadal.

"Without Rafa and Novak, Roger could have maybe won 30 Grand Slams, but that’s kind of irrelevant. He was pushed to a different level by those two. As a tennis player, you’re not going out there to win the most majors, you’re going out there to improve your game and get to a certain level.

Why does Rafa see Roger as his greatest rival? I think it has to do with history, of course, the matches you play, but also the enjoyment factor of playing against the opponent. How can you not enjoy playing against Roger Federer? I think Rafa enjoyed playing Roger maybe more than Roger enjoyed playing Rafa because Rafa was the youngster, a leftie - difficult.

The contrast of style [as well]. It’s the most interesting rivalry for me”. Federer, who is set to turn 41 next month, is expected to return to action this season but it's highly unlikely to expect the Swiss to win a Grand Slam at this stage of his career after three knee surgeries.