Gilles Simon says he is rooting for Novak Djokovic to win more Grand Slam titles than Roger Federer so tennis can ‘no longer pretend’ only one player matters.
Simon, who was writing in his new book This Sport That Makes You Crazy, admits that Federer’s game is probably the most attractive to the eye, but he also insists it is no less effective than what Djokovic produces.
Furthermore, he thinks tennis is in danger of limiting itself to a single false ideal if the perception that Federer is the greatest of all time is allowed to go unchallenged.
“If Roger Federer keeps his records, that will allow us to say that, of course, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are good players too, but above all that they are less strong,” Simon said.
“That’s why this GOAT story has been gaining such proportions for years, because there are many who believe that Federer’s records will never fall.
“But if Novak Djokovic overtakes him when he hardly makes any volleys, it will break the thought patterns of a lot of people – because we just don’t like him as much as Roger Federer.
“[But if] Federer’s records fall, then we will no longer be able to pretend, we will no longer be able to limit tennis to one player.
“We agree that the game proposed by Federer is without doubt the most pleasant to watch, but it is not necessarily the most effective.
“Novak Djokovic – it may be less dreamy, but it is no less effective. And if he exceeds him in terms of Grand Slam victories (because ultimately that’s what counts), then we will no longer be able to hide our face.
“If Federer keeps his records it means that for generations to come, they will put him in all the sauce. And I don’t want that.
“I would like a kid who is forced to play like Federer (to be able to) answer: ‘Yes but Novak and Rafa have won 21 titles by playing differently'”
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