Rafael Nadal's umpteenth triumph at Roland Garros - which allowed him to equal the 20 Grand Slam record of his eternal rival Roger Federer - has reignited the debate regarding the greatest ever. World number 1 Novak Djokovic is still at 17 Majors, in addition to having closed the season at the top of the ATP ranking for the sixth time in his career (like Pete Sampras).
Thanks to the new ranking system induced by the global pandemic, the Serbian phenomenon has guaranteed a real chance to break Federer's all-time record by weeks at the top of the world rankings. On the occasion of the 15th edition of the 'Laureus Sports Awards', Monica Seles expressed her opinion on the GOAT race.
Seles was one of the great dominatrixes of women's tennis in the 90s, jumping to the headlines already in 1990, when she became the youngest Roland Garros winner by beating Steffi Graf (just 16 years old). During her career, Monica has won nine Grand Slam titles.
Seles regularly contributes to the development of the 'Laureus Sport for Good' foundation, a global charity that uses the influence of sport to help young people in the fight against violence and discrimination in general.
Monica Seles on the GOAT debate
“The greatest (between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic)? I think it’s whoever is going to be able to stay healthier longer. They each three play such different styles of game.
I think it’s just great for young players to see that there’s not one way to get to be a champion" - Monica Seles explained. Rafael Nadal believes that if the rest of Roger Federer's recovery process goes according to plan, his fellow 20-time Grand Slam champion will make a positive impact on the tour.
He also stressed that the Swiss maestro has 'nothing more to prove' after having put together a two-decade-long career filled with glorious achievements. "I think that if he recovers properly and he feels ready to prepare himself because his injury is gone, I think he's going to come back in full force," Nadal added.
"He doesn't have anything left to prove and he's proven that whenever he is doing fine he can play at the highest of levels. I think he has kept himself in good shape physically, and if he can play painlessly, he will be fully competitive."
In recent interviews, Roger Federer has confirmed that he has resumed practice and training and that he will return to the courts in 2021. The Swiss is expected to play the Australian Open, which is likely to be held in February as per latest reports.
However, it remains to be seen if the quarantine requirements enforced by the Victorian health officials will have an impact on Federer's plans for the Australian summer.