'If I beat Roger Federer, it's Roger who played badly', says former ace

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'If I beat Roger Federer, it's Roger who played badly', says former ace

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic rewrote the record book by dominating the men's circuit for a decade and a half. The Spaniard leads the all-time Grand Slam standings at 22, having won the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.

The Serbian took his 21st major by winning Wimbledon for the fourth time in a row, the seventh ever. The 35-year-old from Belgrade will try to catch Nadal already at the Australian Open 2023, where he will go hunting for his tenth seal.

Nole had to skip the 2022 edition of the Happy Slam due to the well-known vaccination issue. Federer, for his part, retired on 23 September 2022 at the age of 41. The King played his last match alongside Nadal at the Laver Cup, receiving a splendid tribute at the end of the match.

The Maestro from Basel did all he could to give himself one last ride, but his right knee forced him to say enough. In a long interview with the FFT's YouTube channel, Gilles Simon examined the media's approach to the Big 3.

Gilles Simon on the Big 3

Officially retired since his defeat against Félix Auger‐Aliassime in the round of 16 at Paris‐Bercy on November 3, Gilles Simon, still as talkative and open to debate, spoke at length in a recent interview with the Youtube channel of the FFT.

And after having evoked the course of Richard Gasquet and the discrepancy between the career which one predicted for him and reality, Gilou this time approached a topic precious to him: the idea that the general public and the media have of a style of play, and more particularly his style of play.

Excerpts. “When Djokovic made 100 unforced errors against me at the Australian Open (in 2016), it was very easy for me to explain because he made them every time we played each other. Why the players made 60 mistakes or made 20 more against Andy (Murray) or Gaël (Monfils), it's very easy to explain when you know what you're looking for.

But this is where sometimes media representations come to block things that are ultimately quite simple. I play Novak in Australia, he has just won all the Grand Slams, he is number one, everyone asks me before the game: 'Why are you going on the pitch? You have absolutely no chance.

You can't do anything, the guy is unbeatable. Me, I'm here, I want to go anyway, because it seems to me that I know him and no, he doesn't know how to do everything, and no, there are things he struggles with, and me too I feel good and I want to see what happens.

And I manage to do it (to compete, editor's note) and it gives that (defeat in 5 sets after 4h30 of play, editor's note). But we say, 'that's it, he drove him crazy' But we don't know how to explain it. This is why I have always said that when Jo (Tsonga) plays well, and there is also an impact there, when Jo beats Roger Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, he is the one who beat them.

Because with his game, you are told: 'Jo he had a huge game, he served, he sent aces, forehands, he got into him' If I beat Roger, it's Roger who played badly. I made him outwit, I made him play badly, I never played well in fact, I was never stronger than the other.

It's always: I got into his head, suddenly he only made mistakes, suddenly he missed things he would never miss. And I always found that it was a very pejorative way of qualifying one style of play over another and also of “stealing” your victory."