Serve and Returns: Kicking Off With Roger and Rafa
By Van Sias
Hey everyone, it’s Van Sias here: You might know me around these parts from my hobnobbing with Maria Sharapova over the summer for GTT. Or you might have caught me out in the blogosphere at Tennis Talk, Anyone? I recently reached out to the one and only FreakyFrites with an idea for a weekly feature here at GoToTennis, and happily she said yes. (Ed. note: actually, I ecstatically said yes!)
You see, one of the best things to me about pro sports is going back and forth with a friend or foe on all the nuances of the game: from discussing who might’ve had a better career to who has a better uniform—it’s all about the debate. And it’s even greater when it’s something you really care about.
That’s what this feature, called Serve and Returns, is about: I’ll present (or “serve up”) a topic for discussion and you can leave a comment (or “return”) after reading the points that I bring up, which I’ll try to present as neutrally as possible. Long rallies are what we want, so have at it!
So now that that intro stuff is out of the way, let’s get on with it, shall we? Since the Elite Eight are getting ready to hit the courts for the World Tour Finals, I figured I’d start with the guys who have been the best of the best over the past few years, so here it is:
Who’s had the better career so far: Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal?
Careful now: It’s not as much of a no-brainer as you might think!
Let’s break it down by looking at their similarities first: They both own the career Slam, they’ve reached number one in the rankings and each has owned his own Major venue (Rafa at Roland Garros and Fed at the All-England Club).
Now, let’s take a look at some differences, starting with the biggest one of all: the number 7. That’s the gap between Mr. Sweet 16 himself and Nadal in the number of Grand Slam singles titles won. Umm, that’s a lot, and not something that should be automatically assumed to be within reach anytime soon, despite the pace Nadal seems to operate at as far as racking up titles goes.
Then you have to look at all the other achievements of Federer’s: the years at number one, the consecutive Slam semis streak, all the finals played … I mean I could go on and on.
But … (come on, you knew that was coming!)
He doesn’t have a Davis Cup title. Nor does he have an Olympic Gold medal in singles. Nadal has both of those—and more ATP 1000 tournaments won, too. Plus, we all know how the head-to-heads have gone between Rafa and Roger.
So, as we head into the World Tour Finals (the only big singles title Nadal is missing; Federer has four of those, by the way) who has really had the better career?
I just serve up the questions: It’s up to you to make the returns!