• Tennis

Federer is the greatest ever, says Nadal's uncle

ESPN staff
December 3, 2014
Roger Federer holds a record 17 grand slam singles titles © Getty Images

Toni Nadal, lifelong coach and uncle to Rafael Nadal, has risked his nephew's wrath by saying Roger Federer should be considered the best player of all time.

Federer has won a record 17 grand slam singles titles and finally ended his wait for a Davis Cup earlier in November. Nadal is currently three behind his great rival with 14 grand slam crowns to his name, but his uncle is of firm opinion that Federer is "the best in history."

Nadal Sr told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE: "I think he is [the best of all-time], the numbers say so.

"Federer is the best in the history of the game alongside Rod Laver and, unfortunately for us, it is like that."

Despite Federer's grand slam dominance, Nadal has often come out better when the pair have met on court; Nadal holds a 23-10 record in his favour.

But his uncle said: "I don't know why that is. Federer's game doesn't affect Rafael as much. In any case, one is the best for the titles they win.

"Federer has won 17 grand slams, Rafael has won 14. He was number one for five years, Rafael for three. Therefore, there is no discussion, he [Federer] is the best."

Novak Djokovic is currently the man to dislodge from top spot, having ended the year as world No.1.

Djokovic claimed his second successive World Tour Finals crown earlier this month. While Federer and Nadal have dominated the sport for so long, Nadal Sr says Djokovic is beginning to close the gap.

"Djokovic is a great player, for me he is almost at the level of Federer," Nadal Sr said.

"He is very good, I don't know if he is better or worse than Rafael. In titles, Rafael is better than him. In terms of how they play, I don't know. At the end of the day everyone is free to have whatever opinion they want."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close