Statistics prove Roger Federer’s level, but his love for his opponents shows his greatness | Greg Jericho

Was there more evidence that good men take first place Roger Federer?

With his career over, you can fill the center court at Wimbledon with pages written about his brilliance. His front hand – that fluid liquid like David Foster Wallace Even described as famous – Send and hit back with one hand. Enter your favorite metaphor – use words like ballet, compare it not to other players but to painters. Compare it to legends. He is a man less than a god who walked among us!

For the statistical minded, there is a lot of data that you could lose for days. Yes, Grand Slams, but the best for me is that he reached the semi-finals of the Grand Slam 23 times in a row without missing a slam due to injury or selection.

How much time? Currently number one in the world, Carlos Alcaraz He would need to play and reach the quarter-finals in all slams until the 2028 French Open to equal it. Perhaps though he could pay less and reach the quarter-finals. All he has to do is do it until Wimbledon 2031 to equal Federer’s record of 36 consecutive strokes.

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However, despite all the words about Federer’s play – and I wrote my fair share – After the memories of backhands and forehands from the inside out fade away, I will remember the scene of him having played his last match sitting next to his tallest and greatest rival, Rafa Nadal, both in tears.

We are told that sport is a war without bullets. When winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. As defeating your opponent is not only superior to them but Engaging in “mental disintegration”.

It’s an environment where you might respect your opponent, but you shouldn’t really like him, and you definitely shouldn’t.

In sports, toxic masculinity can take hold – not only by those involved but by those who watch. We see this of course more clearly in football (of any icon) where players will be criticized for not looking like they cared enough, or not being strict enough – criticism of Federer himself in his early days.

However, Federer and Nadal were in tears together. Two men, who have participated for 18 years in a zero-sum competition. Nadal was not Federer’s coach or batting partner. He was the man who often beat Federer off the field.

In the six years from the end of 2003 to the beginning of 2010, Federer was essentially unbeatable – except when he met Nadal, and especially when he met him on clay in Paris. Even worse, Nadal defeated Federer at Wimbledon.

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Talk about disabling narration.

In tennis there is no place to hide. Nobody blames him. Two enter, one leaves.

Here are two who wrestled with each other for the longest time, showing not just respect for each other, but love.

It says a lot about both. You can understand crying Federer, because his career is over – all athletes do (how could you not!). But for Nadal to cry says a lot of both. How they played how they fought and how they did not lose their humanity in lust for victory.

Before his match, Federer last week He told the media It is from this profession that he was told in the early days “You have to be stricter and not too nice”. “I tried, but it all worked out and I said, ‘Okay, let me try in a nice way,'” he recalls. Let’s see where it takes me.”

She took him all the way, and it took us and the sport with her. We are all better for it.

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