It is not every day that the two athletes considered by most to be the greatest of all time (GOAT) simultaneously add to their record major tallies. But that’s what happened last week when Serena Williams and Roger Federer won their respective finals against long-term rivals.
For Serena it was the 23rd major, the most for any singles player, which allowed her to move clear of Steffi Graph’s 22. Federer, already at the summit of men’s tennis, now has 18: four more than Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal – the man he beat in the final.
Few would argue against this win being Federer’s greatest triumph, despite all that he has achieved over the past decade and a half. Many are even arguing that this might just be the greatest tennis victory of all time, considering that it was a 35-year-old playing his first competitive tournament for over six months, winning three successive five-setters culminating in a final against a man he hadn’t beaten in Grand Slam tournaments for a decade.
Federer and Nadal have played many memorable five-setters. It was their second in Melbourne, eight years apart. The one they played at Wimbledon in 2008 is considered by many as the greatest tennis match of all-time.
Many consider their rivalry to be the best that men’s tennis has ever seen, despite the skewed numbers (23-12). And the final showed exactly why the matchup has been so pulsating, despite the Spaniard dominating the numbers. It’s a contrast in style, approach, aura and play that makes it an intriguing fight.
The two men combined for a total of 31 majors at the start of play – a record unlikely to be broken, unless these two face off again in a Grand Slam final in the future. The promo code is valid when registering with the 1XBET betting company and allows you to get an increased bonus to $ 130 on your first deposit. Only players newly registered on the company’s website can take part in this promotion. We will talk about the conditions for receiving and using the bonus code from 1xbet below. Enter the official 1xbet promo code at registration 2020 and get to 130% of the 1xBet bonus with your 1xBet promo code!
While Federer might have put the GOAT debate to bed for many, especially after beating his nemesis in the final, and might have stretched his major tally to beyond Nadal or Novak Djokovic’s reach, the Swiss might feel the most satisfaction beyond those numbers.
That feeling of pulling off the seemingly impossible for an athlete that has redefined impossible for so many years.
For Nadal all’s not lost, of course. It’s his third tough defeat in Australia, after losing out to Djokovic in a 6-hour marathon in 2012 and against Stan Wawrinka in 2014 when he got injured in the second set. But like most of his career, it might be Federer setting the bar higher that actually pushes Nadal to make it seem within reach.
Watching Federer – five years his senior – win a major might make him hungrier for glory at a time when many thought the Spaniard’s time was up.
Over the fortnight Nadal has played better than he has over the past three years. In fact, he has played worse to win Grand Slam titles. After his run in Australia few would bet against him winning more majors – least of all Nadal himself.
But as discussed in last week’s piece, this year’s Australian Open was as much about the golden oldies turning back the clock, as it was about the next generation. Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic have showed enough to put forward their claim as potential major winners. Once the euphoria of Federer’s 18th major and the unforgettable Fedal dies down, these guys would be looking to make inroads during the regular season and step closer to fulfilling their long-touted potentials.
In the women’s game Serena is – and will remain – the benchmark for everyone to follow. She now sits at the top on her own and will look to continue to rewrite history this season and beyond.
We are truly privileged to have witnessed the likes of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams all play in the same era. Once these champions hang up their racquets, the vacuum would be as humongous as any sport has ever seen.