Agassi Says US Open Title will Give Nadal GOAT Status

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/8944340.stm

Has this man lost the plot? In the above video you will see an interview with Andre Agassi about the fact that he hated tennis, as well as his opinion about the Fedal rivalry. Agassi was my favorite player before Roger came along. When he beat Roger in the final of Miami he was still my favorite player. In fact he was probably my favorite until he retired. I have also read his book Open. But I can’t say that I have a lot of respect for his opinion on tennis these days. Last year he said Murray would win a slam which I didn’t agree with, and we all know what happened thereafter. Now he is saying that Rafa only needs to win the US Open to be up there in GOAT contention with Roger. WTF?! I don’t think his drug habits did him well. If you listen carefully he contradicts himself in the interview and makes non-factual statements.

First we’ll get to the part where he contradicts himself. He says that Nadal would be on par with Roger if he wins the US Open because ‘more has never been the criterion’. That is not only absolutely wrong, but also a contradiction. He puts a lot of emphasis on the head-to-head, but if you go by what he says about more not being a criterion, then what does it matter that Rafa has beaten Roger more? According to his argument Roger just needed to beat Rafa on all surfaces, and then more wins does not make a difference. Roger has of course done exactly that. He has beaten Rafa on all surfaces. In fact he trails Rafa in head-to-head only on clay, which is to be expected. Now lets get to the part where he makes a statement that simply isn’t true, aside from the fact that ‘more does not matter’. He says that Rafa has a ‘dominant’ head-to-head against Roger in his prime.

Roger’s prime was from 2004-2007. During that time Rafa had a 8-6 head-to-head record against Roger. Hardly ‘dominant’. And again I must add that half of those meeting were on clay. You just can’t overlook that fact because no player is ever the GOAT on all surfaces. If you look after 2007, then Rafa dominates Roger 6-1 in head-to-head meetings, when Roger was clearly past his prime. But wait, I haven’t even gotten to the most absurd part about Agassi’s statements. If Rafa wins the US Open, then he will be on 9 slams and Roger will be on 16. That would be a difference of 7 slams, the exact difference which they currently have in head-to-heads(14-7). So according to Agassi Rafa will then have a case for being the GOAT. Lets just set aside the other achievements from both players outside of the slams for a second.

Then you come to the absurd conclusion that according to Agassi, one single match is as important as one grand slam title! Are you following? Agassi gives more or less similar importance to one tennis match as he does to a grand slam title. I mean the guy has either completely lost it, or he is jealous. I think he is indirectly trying to say that he has the calender slam and Sampras has not, therefor he is right up there with Sampras. He also has the Olympic gold and Sampras hasn’t. Smells all too much like a hidden message in there somewhere. Anyway I’m done trying to figure out what he is trying to say, because it can’t be figured out. He makes no sense, which is pretty sad for a former tennis great. The fact is the head-to-head is mostly irrelevant since they have met so much on clay, and they have also played 7 matches where Roger was already past his prime. We’ve been over this many times.


Rafa never makes it far enough on hard courts to meet Roger, while Roger always makes it far enough on clay. If anything, the Fedal head-to-head tells us that Roger is much better on his worst surface(clay) than Rafa is on his worst surface(hard). It really that simple. The people who keep pointing out the head-to-head either knows very little about tennis, or they are trolling. So what does it mean if Rafa wins the US Open if Agassi is talking nonsense? It means Roger will lead Rafa 16-9 in slams, and not until Rafa won an equal amount of slams as Roger will the head-to-head be relevant. Grand slam titles has always been the most important measure of greatness and only after that is taken into account comes all the other things. This is all so highly speculative anyway. For one I don’t think Rafa is ever winning the US Open.

His chances are very slim. He needs to stay healthy and have the luckiest draw of all time. Then he has a chance. The much better bet would be Roger winning the US Open this year, putting him on 17 slams and Rafa still on 8. It keeps it sort of interesting to think that Rafa can catch Roger in the future, but my honest opinion is that it will never happen. Roger is just a better player. I can go on and on about things like his 23 consecutive semi-finals in slams, the fact that he is the only player to win 5 or more titles of 2 different slams, or the fact that he won 3 slams a year 3 times. But that is pointless. If you haven’t gotten by now that Roger is better than Rafa you probably never will. You either get it or you don’t. Agassi clearly doesn’t, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it was the drugs or the jealousy that clouded his reason.

Roger Federer

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22 Comments

  1. Agassi doesn’t know his math.

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    Prometheus Reply:

    Funny….u know what…..u need to stop writing like that…..federer is the most elegant i have ever come across…but he just cant beat nadal….so if u claim he is the goat…then there is one who beats him on every surface…Rafa is 1-2 against him on grass and is even with him on hard court
    Also, federer was no 2 and 1 respectively in 2008 and 2009…so there is no reason of not taking into account those two years
    so my suggestion … get into some profession like politics… fudging facts would serve you better

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  2. I think if Rafa wins the US, he’ll need to be included amongst the contenders for GOAT status, alongside Sampras, Fed, Laver and possibly Borg. His almost total dominance on clay, his career grand slam, being only the second man to win slams on each surface twice (good quiz question that – who is the current only person to have done this?), and of course having a very healthy H2H v Fed. Now I don’t think he is, but if he wins the US (and I suspect he will one day) he would have to be considered.

    Of course the lead that Sampras has over Agassi in Slam victories would bias Agassi in his belief that quantity isn’t that important.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Aside from your last sentence you have basically contradicted what i have said. What do you mean won slams on each surface twice?

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    Phil Reply:

    I’m trying to make a more subtle point – not that if he wins the US Open Nadal would be the Greatest Player of All Time, or that he would be Federer’s equal but that he would have a case. If he never wins it the easy rebuttal is that he isn’t a good enough hard-court player – 1 lone Australian Open so far of the slams.

    Should he win the US Open though he’d have done the slam and in order to dismiss claims of Rafa’s GOATness you’d need to construct a more careful argument. Basically you are weighing the discrepenancy in slam victories against the head-to-head record.

    Now I think such a judgement would leave Federer as the greater player – but its a slightly more difficult case to make.

    As to my question. Who is the only player to have won 2 slams on clay, 2 on grass and 2 on hardcourts? If Rafa win the US Open he will join this group, and if Fed wins the French again so will he.

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  3. Ruan,

    Not sure if you have heard, but Roger has just announced on his website today (Saturday) and during a pre-Open news conference that he is bringing aboard Paul Annacone to work with him at the U.S. Open and beyond.

    “We’ve moved it from a test trial to integrating him into the team now” Federer said “so that’s going ahead.”

    Brilliant News!!!

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  4. Agassi will say anything to keep himself popular. He just looks at the recent resutls and starts talking. First he said Nadal would make true grand slam, then said his and Federer’s time were over and than this. I think he will say anything to sell one more book. And i never beleived that he hated tennis.

    About GOAT title, i don’t think that would apply for a sport like tennis. Winning the most amount of slams would indicate that one player dominated his/her era more than others. But how can we say Federer or Nadal is better player than Rod Laver? Maybe Laver would do even better on hard courts and the guy was playing with a wooden racquet which by itself makes a comparison impossible. Can we say if all the tennis legends were competing on the same era a certain one of them could win more slams than others? I guess no. So i consider this GOAT label as a marketing instrument, nothing more.

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    Denise Reply:

    Agreed. Just read that Lil Wayne is a HUGE Nadal fan. Nada is good in his own way, but he’s not Roger. Definately some bias toward Rafa, which is why he gets all the hype that he does.

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    Dragos Reply:

    My dear k (without capitalization),

    I, for the first time, agree with you in almost all what you said. Agassi I think is coming from French word “agaçant (in French ç is read as an s” which means more or less “annoying” and “provoking” so that’s what he is doing now. No doubt that he loved tennis as long as he loves to be popular and he was once popular due to tennis.
    Regarding GOAT you are right that comparison is impossible. In order to make it possible one has to quantify every difference in racquets, fitness training, nutrition etc. Probably this is impossible so you are right that no one can say who of the “legends” would win more slams playing in the same era.
    I don’t agree that GOAT is a marketing instrument. Why? Because is definitely a subjective attribute and as long as is addressed to Roger is making other fans very angry… And I say very, very angry. In my opinion a marketing tool is meant to increase sales and not to create “haters” or in the best situation unsatisfied consumers…
    I have watched some youtube videos with Rod Laver and to be honest I wasn’t really impressed by the “artistic” part of his game. So at least as “artistic impression” I remain at my first choice: Roger Federer is the GOAT.

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    k Reply:

    One thing is for sure; GOAT title is subjective. This is why i object to label someone GOAT as it was a fact. For me there is no and there will be no GOAT’s in this sport. I gave Laver as an example, and yes many of the former legends do not look artistic today. But i once tried to hit balls with a wooden racquet and i can understand why.
    Federer won more slam then any other player; that means he dominated his era more than others and domination depends on rivals. If there weren’n Agassi maybe Sampras would have more slams than Federer. So would we say he was better then Federer? Or if there weren’t Nadal Federer would have 22. If people say “the more slams you win, the better you are” then it looks as if Federer would “be” a better player if there wasn’t a Rafael Nadal. My point is every players quality is independent of the titles they win.
    After the retirement of Federer someone can come and win more slams than he did. Then we probably will see another GOAT. The reason i think GOAT is a marketing instrument is when there is not enough competition they need something to keep people interested. So they put the labels to advertise events and tournaments. This GOAT label was advertised at a time when people thought Nadal won’t win anything again. Now people think Federer is having some problems and suddenly Nadal’s career golden slam and probabilty of being GOAT is discussed. People need stories to sell things. This is also why any little injury or hick-up is so dramatized (as if they are not going to win anything again) when it comes to Federer and Nadal.

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    k Reply:

    And why would fans get mad when Federer is labeled GOAT? I guess the only fans who get mad would be former legends fans, as it is not fair to make a comparison between them and current players.

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    Dragos Reply:

    I can see your point and I agree with you. GOAT used as you say is a marketing tool. After all everything these days is dramatized and is cosmetically “improved” because the consumer is not responding to normality anymore. If something is not sensational then is not information is old news and everybody wants new and extraordinary things. It is a reflection of the will of humans to escape from our biological limitations.
    This might be also the case of the development of the racquets, shoes, socks, clothes that are also trying to give the sensation that we are improving ourselves. What will be the end of this “improvement” I really don’t know as long as there is a transformation of humans in wild beasts and normal values as trust, friendship, modesty are long gone…
    By the way my first and only tennis racquet was a wooden Slazenger that I was using only to hit a ball against the wall. Unfortunately the only available all in 1979 in my home town was the one of my block of flats so after some weeks one of my neighbors decided that I hit very strong so he wanted to test my running abilities. I managed to escape from him somehow but I never played tennis anymore…

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    k Reply:

    The wooden racquet i used to hit was my father’s, and it was also s Slazenger. It had a red covering with a black plastic logo on it. At that time i was 12 and i had a modern type of racquet. The difference among them was the wooden one was way heavier. I didn’t expect to hit well with it but the thing is you feel like you hit better than expected. Maybe indeed it was better. Like if you could hold the it properly, the racquet would take care of the rest. But i guess it’s way too heavy to play for 2-3 hours, and also there is the vibration issue. Anyway, i also quit playing few years later, so these are distant memories.
    About the GOAT issue, it is hard for me to even say Usain Bolt is the fastest runner ver. Everything has changed so much, there are people claiming Thorpe was a better swimmer than Phelps. Before, it was more like testing the limit of human. It is now human + technology. “The strongest one will survive” rule still applies but now things are not only biological (maybe not biological at all). That is why as you say normal values as trust, friendship, modesty are gone, i guess…

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  5. Nadal won’t even be close to the GOAT with one US Open win. If you look at guys like Federer, Sampras and Borg, they dominated TWO different Slams (3 different Slams in Federer’s case).

    If you rank notable players’ second best Slams, Nadal’s Wimbledon (2 titles, 2 runner ups) is CRUSHED by the legends of the game:

    Players’s Second Best Slams ranked (Open era only)
    1. Pete Sampras, US Open: 5 titles, 3 runner ups
    2. Roger Federer, US Open: 5 titles, 1 runner up
    2. Bjorn Borg, Wimbledon: 5 titles, 1 runner up
    4. John McEnroe, Wimbledon: 3 titles, 2 runner ups
    4. Ivan Lendl, French Open: 3 titles, 2 runner ups
    5. Mats Wilander, Australian Open: 3 titles, 1 runner up
    6. Andre Agassi, US Open: 2 titles, 4 runner ups
    6. Jimmy Connors, Wimbledon: 2 titles, 4 runner ups
    8. Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon: 2 titles, 2 runner ups

    He needs 4-5 Wimbledons to get into Federer/Sampras/Borg territory.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post TennisFan. Dominating one slam is not enough to be considered GOAT. Thanks for bringing my attention to this angle.

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  6. I love how you suggest that Nadal only dominated a pass his prime Federer. Well there is two sides to the “in his prime” argument. Do you possibly think that a 17 year old kid is in his prime? Which was when Roger first encountered Nadal and LOST on a HARD COURT. If Federer was really the GOAT, he would have dominated a teenager no matter how great that teenager is. Now if Nadal could beat Federer when he wasn’t even in his physical or technical prime, with hardly any experience, what does that say about their actual talent levels? Prime vs Prime, on most surfaces Rafa beats Federer. If Rafa could beat Federer when Rafa didn’t even hit his prime yet, what the heck do you think would happen if they meet prime for prime.

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    Paul Reply:

    Too much emphasis on Federer dominating a relatively weak era. Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and others were teenagers when Federer was beating Hewitt and Roddick.

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  7. nadal won it.. and agassi’s prediction went correct..
    one more thing agassi never said he is greater then samprass for all your kind information.stop bringing your conclusion with the statement….
    agassi may not be the top grand slam in terms of count but in terms of the style of gave no other player matched his game style…
    he is master of the baseline game technique

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