A couple of weeks ago, Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros by clearly beating World number 1 Novak Djokovic in the final. The 13th success in the French capital allowed the Spaniard to equal the record of 20 Slams of eternal rival Roger Federer, whose last official appearance dates back to the Australian Open at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has reiterated his intention to close the season at the top of the world rankings for the sixth time in his career, thus achieving the primacy of his idol Pete Sampras. Recent events have also reignited the GOAT debate, with supporters of different factions starting to lash out at each other.
During an interview with the Tennis Majors portal, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli emphasized how the speech relating to the greatest ever can only be addressed after the withdrawal of the Big 3.
Bartoli on Roger Federer
"Neither Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic have finished.
We really have to wait till those three - all of them - are retired. Because all of those three players have different qualities. For Rafa, it's clay... For Roger, it's grass... For Novak, it's the Australian Open," Marion Bartoli said.
"I think the Rafa's 13 French Open titles will push Novak and Roger to even greater heights because they want to catch up. Once those three players, unfortunately for tennis, retire, then you really have to take everything into consideration to see which of those three are the greatest of all time," she added.
"Will Roger Federer win another Grand Slam title? Yes, of course. I think it is better he has a four to five month warm-up before he arrives at Wimbledon. I think if he arrives at SW 19 without any matches for 9 months and if Wimbledon is his first Slam of the year, he might be too rusty," said Bartoli.
Bartoli added that Roger Federer's easy style of play will suit grass now more than ever, and that the conditions at SW19 will help him win at Wimbledon. "He doesn't have to use too much of his fitness on the grass due to the nature of his game.
He can serve and volley, come to the net and use that slice wisely. If Roger Federer is able to build up some momentum and confidence, he can win it. He was so close against Novak last time," Bartoli said. Assuming that sport does return to something like normality next year, Federer could of course transfer what seemed his original plans for 2020 to 2021.
However, he will be returning to competition after two knee operations and will turn 40 in August. Would it be realistic to expect him to play four major tournaments – the French Open, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open – in three different continents in the space of less than three months next summer? You could not imagine Federer playing any of them unless he thought he had some chance of winning.