The GOAT debate has suddenly rekindled in the last two months, especially after Rafael Nadal’s yet another triumph at Roland Garros, which allowed the Spanish phenomenon to equal the record of eternal rival Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam titles.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic, who won the Australian Open this year, is only three points away. Thanks to the new ranking system, the Serbian also has a very good chance of breaking Federer's record by weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.
2020 was not a lucky year for the 39-year-old from Basel, who played only one official tournament before undergoing two operations on his right knee. The Swiss is expected to return to the field at the 2021 Australian Open, although his main goals will be Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics next summer.
In a recent interview, former Wimbledon and US Open champion Stan Smith had no doubts in identifying Federer as the greatest tennis player of all times.
Smith on Roger Federer's greatness
"Oh yes. In my ranking of all time after Roger Federer, I put Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on equal merit, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg," Stan Smith said.
The 73-year-old is of the opinion that Roger Federer would be the only player who would have been able to play with a wooden racket, which requires players to hit the ball cleanly from the middle. "With the wooden racket the game is necessarily different, less powerful and slower.
If you didn't hit the ball in the perfect center of the frame, it meant trouble. I think the only one who would be equally successful with the wooden racket is Roger Federer. He plays as we did. Clean," Smith continued.
In addition to talking about the legends of the game, Stan Smith also revealed how impressed he is with young Italian tennis sensation Jannik Sinner. "I've also seen Jannik Sinner in action on TV in New York and Paris.
He has an all-court game that impressed me and a good attitude. Now that he has won his first ATP title and that Italy is rooting for him, how he manages his success and attention will be decisive. The head is everything in tennis.
But it will not be a meteoric (rise)," the American said. Even at the age of 39, he still remains one of the greatest and most successful sporting personalities. Although Roger has not played much tennis this season, he topped the list of the highest-paid athletes in the world, surpassing the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.