Roger Federer made it to the finals of the Australian Open today, so I was checking out his wiki page. And it really leaves no doubt that he is the best tennis player in history. Consider:
– Most Grad Slam titles in history (15)
– Longest helm at world #1 ranking (286 weeks)
– One of six players to capture the career Grand Slam
– 23 consecutive appearances in at least the semifinals of a Grand Slam
– 19 of last 20 appearances in at least the finals of a Grand Slam
Those stats are individually ridiculous, especially the last two. Together, I hope they convince you that Federer is the best.
And yet, Federer has an overall losing record (7-13) in his career against Rafael Nadal. Obviously Nadal has the advantage of being superior on clay, and many of his victories over Federer were on clay (including all those finals at the French Open.) But still, Nadal also won against Federer in the finals of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
None of this takes away from Federer. And Nadal’s recent woes and injuries only serve to further highlight Federer’s incredible consistency and longevity. But still, has this been seen in any other sport (or even non-sporting events?) That one person can so clearly be the best in history at something, but still consistently lose to someone else? Pitching matchups? Chess games? It seems unique to me, but I’d love to know other examples if they exist.