The 13th success at Roland Garros allowed Rafael Nadal to equal his eternal rival Roger Federer at 20 Slam titles. World number 1 Novak Djokovic is only three points behind the two eternal rivals, in addition to having almost guaranteed the certainty of breaking the Swiss record of weeks at the top of the ATP ranking.
The changes this year have rekindled the debate on the greatest ever, but there is no doubt that Federer will still go down in history as the most loved tennis player of all times. The phenomenon from Basel has operated on his right knee twice in 2020, playing the Australian Open as the only official tournament in this terrible season.
In the course of a lengthy interview with tabloid Blick, veteran French veteran Gilles Simon refused to choose the GOAT, but explained how the 20-time Grand Slam champion's records are inevitably destined to be broken one day.
Simon on Roger Federer
“It’s not about who is the perfect role model. A child’s education should be individual because there is no good or bad way to play tennis,” the Frenchman said. However, he added that if there’s one player who is a sheer joy to watch and has a game which is as easy on the eye as it is stylish, it is Roger Federer.
“His radiance is enormous, everyone knows him, even those who have never held a racquet in their hands,” Gilles Simon said. However, he said once Federer’s records are overshadowed, the “ideological madness” around the Swiss Master will abate.
“Gradually we realize that maybe someone else will soon have his records. Perhaps then this ideological madness will finally end.He’s a genius, okay. But do we all have to make idiots for that? We have three fantastic players for the story,” Simon said.
In an earlier interview to Le Parisian, the Frenchman had voiced his misgivings over the image that people back home had of Federer for the last 20 years. At 39, Federer will once again take the court in Australia after a year-long break from tennis.
His passion and his commitment to the game have not diminished despite increasing age. Therefore, it would indeed be a spectacle to watch if he can lift one more Grand Slam title. The Frenchman, however, made it clear once again that he does not blame the Swiss for all the influence he wields.
“If Roger arrives very early in the book, it is because he validated - and this is not his fault - this training framework pushed to ideology,” Simon explained. “It's so strong that in France we would like him to be French.
Let's be clear, Roger remains and will remain the absolute reference in the eyes of the public for his elegance and ease."