No I’m not talking about Federer and Nadal, I’m actually talking about a friendly match. The match I am referring to is Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, arguably the most dominant athletes in sport today. And what is more is that their respective sports is probably the most difficult of all, which is of course tennis and golf. Most sports fans are aware of the countless hours golfers spend on perfecting their swings. And when it comes to tennis the professionals don’t necessarily spend that amount of time on their swings but they have to be top physical condition to meet the tough demands of the pro tour.
The question naturally arises who is the best, Federer or Woods? This is a very complex question since we are dealing with different sports, and results can therefor not be compared directly. However, there is certain things that can be looked at. As in tennis golf has four majors a year which is the most important tournaments in both sports and a players success can be measured by how well they have fared in them. That is the one big similarity in the respective sports but there are many differences. For instance a golfers’ professional career is about twice as long as a tennis player’s.
Tennis players retire usually around their early thirties because of the physical strain tennis puts on their bodies, whereas golf is much more easy on the physique which means golfers can remain competitive at a high level into their fourties. Another big difference is that in golf you play mostly against yourself and the course, whereas in tennis you play against your opponent. This makes tennis a much more competitive, in-your-face kind of thing. Also in tennis the ball is moving whereas in golf the ball is still before it is hit. Both disciplines have their challenges, it’s really tough to say which one is harder.
I can go on for a long time about the two respective sports but I’d like to get back to the relationship between Roger and Tiger. It really fascinates me because they are so similar and have so much in common. And besides that they are very good friends. It is truly a match made in heaven. Both of them is considered widely to be the best of all time in their respective disciplines. In my opinion that is definitely true. Both of them is trying to break the all time major records of Pete Sampras and Jack Nicklaus. Roger has only two more majors to go to break Sampras’ record of fourteen, while Tiger have six to go to break the record of Nicklaus.
Roger have more then enough time to do it and so does Tiger. So far Tiger has won 65 tournaments and amassed $82,354,376, while Roger have won 57 titles and amassed $44,593,957. There is really very little to choose between them. Personally i feel it’s harder to win tournaments in golf since you are competing against a whole field of players and in golf i think there can go a lot more wrong with your game. Even the best in golf struggles with their swing and on any given day it only has to be slightly off for a player to ruin their chances at winning a tournament. I just feel golf is more unpredictable then tennis.
If a player hits only one ball out of bounce it could be enough to cost him a tournament, whereas in tennis there is always time to recover. Therefor i have immense respect for what Tiger is doing, to win tournament after tournament the way he does requires incredible consistency. Of course the way Roger has dominated tennis is also unheard of. I mean from 2004-2008 he hardly lost a match! Even Sampras could never dominate like that. Plus Sampras had a real weakness on the clay surface, where Roger has remained the second best in the world on that surface after the best clay courter of all time.
Federer is just so complete. There is no cracks in his game. Before 2008 if Federer lost a match it would be kind of a shocker. He simply didn’t lose much, which is incredible if you take into account how competitive the men’s game is. Roger might have lost some of his dominance over the last year, but he will certainly be a grand slam contender for some time to come. This is why i call this a match made in heaven. They are both so good that it’s really hard to choose between them. Tiger has a certain temperament for the big occasion. When he smells blood he is very much like a Tiger going after his prey, nothing much will stop him.
I have seen putts that he made in big tournaments at crucial stages that he has no right to sink. But he does it time after time. It’s not luck, there is something magical about the man. I truly believe he has some kind of access to a higher power. The same can be said for Federer though, the things he can do with a tennis ball is astonishing. There was no one like him in tennis before, he has a certain quality that is unheard of. He seems to pull off shots that other players don’t even think of attempting and he does so on a regular basis as well, therfor it can’t be luck either. Roger has hardly been tested in the big tournaments because he is just so much better then the rest.
He usually goes through a major only maybe dropping a few sets, unless of course it’s against Nadal on clay. Then Roger seems like a different player, he actually seems human and sometimes even less then human. But that is different in a sense because golf is only played on one surface, and Nadal is the best clay courter of all time. The debate of who is the best can go on forever. But persoanally i am fascinated even more by their relationship. They try to support each other at tournaments when they have time off from their busy schedules. They both must know the pressures of expectation ever so well, both are expected to be the greatest of all time in their sports and that is no small thing.