Former world No. 6 Gilles Simon has suggested that Roger Federer should be called the greatest of all time only if he manages to keep his records and ends up with most Grand Slam titles and most weeks spent as world No. 1. Federer, 39, owned the all-time Grand Slam record until Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final to lift his 20th Grand Slam title and equal the Swiss' all-time Grand Slam record.
Federer still owns the historic No. 1 ranking but current world No. 1 Djokovic is a strong contender to make it past the Swiss in the future. "If Roger Federer keeps his records, that will allow us to say that, of course, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are good players too, but above all that they are less strong," Simon wrote in his book 'This Sport That Makes You Crazy,' as quoted on Sportskeeda.
"That's why this GOAT story has been gaining such proportions for years, because there are many who believe that Federer's records will never fall. But if Novak Djokovic overtakes him when he hardly makes any volleys, it will break the thought patterns of a lot of people.
Because we just don't like him as much as Roger Federer."
Simon suggests the Federer hype should end if his record get beaten
Djokovic is the third on the all-time Grand Slam record list as he captured his 17th Grand Slam earlier this year when he beat Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final.
Federer, who hasn't won a Grand Slam title since he beat Marin Cilic in the 2018 Australian Open final, is currently recovering from a season-ending knee surgery. "Federer's records fall, then we will no longer be able to pretend, we will no longer be able to limit tennis to one player," Simon said.
"We agree that the game proposed by Federer is without doubt the most pleasant to watch, but it is not necessarily the most effective. Novak Djokovic, it may be less dreamy, but it is no less effective. And if he exceeds him in terms of Grand Slam victories (because ultimately that's what counts), then we will no longer be able to hide our face.
"Federer, who keeps his records, means that for generations to come, they will put him in all the sauce. And I don't want that. I would like a kid who is forced to play like Federer (to be able to) answer: 'Yes but Novak and Rafa have won 21 titles by playing differently'"