John McEnroe: Rafael Nadal is the best ever, even with a first-round Wimbledon loss

“This guy is to me, I think you can make an argument right here and now, the greatest player that ever lived. If you look at his record against [Andy] Murray, [Roger] Federer, and [Novak] Djokovic, it’s way better than that. He won the Olympics. He’s got Davis Cups, which Roger doesn’t have. I have always said Roger Federer to me was the greatest player that ever lived, certainly the most beautiful player. But I’m going to tell you right here and now there’s a definite argument, I’m starting to lean toward Rafa.”

John McEnroe


  1. The whole discussion of who is the GOAT in tennis is a bit foolish. Let us look at it from another angel.
    Take all the slams Nadal has won 9 of his 14 slams at Roland Garros.
    Federer has won 7 of his 17 slams at Wimbledon (not including this year).Even if he wins this year the percentage of wins on grass in comparison with other slams is not as high as that of Nadal on gravel. Taking into account that there are more tournaments on this surface than grass, this gives an interesting perspective.
    McEnroe likes to add the Davis cup and Olympics as parameters. This only shows how strange the man is (and was). In Davis cup you’re talking about a team of players, not individuals. In the Olympics Nadal has indeed won gold. So has Federer although this was in the doubles. Something his nastiness doesn’t value highly (why does he play it at all then?).
    Let’s add the “ATP World Tour Finals”, how many has Nadal won? None. Federer has won this tournament of the best 8 players of the year six times.
    I would like to say this on the whole argument. Federer is a gifted technical player who is more all-round and will be around more years than most players. Nadal is mentally tough with loads of stemma who will self-destruct due to his playing style. He is defiantly the GOAT on gravel. This leaves the other surfaces to Federer. ATP World Tour Finals

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  3. Nadal is better than Federer . I believe it. No matter what the stats are. No matter what the surface is. I bet if the number of tournaments played on hard and clay would be equal , rafa’s stats and winning percentage must have been way higher than what it is . But yeah still his winning % is the best ever.

  4. what an beautiful champion ! no matter this loss at the first round! who cares? He is still the best and he has nothing to prove to no one !

  5. Reblogged this on Project 55 and commented:
    Yes, I’m still devastated as f*ck. Rafa’s unprecedented first round loss last day in Wimbledon put tears in my face, no, the journeyman Steve Darcis was honestly the one who broke my poor heart. It is sad to see Rafa get knocked out by players sitting outside ATP’s top 100. Rosol last year then Darcis this year. I don’t want another dejavu in 2014, Rafa pretty please? But for one, I still want you to win in Wimbledon to silence them haters. Anyways, I’m done with Wimbledon. I know I have to suck it up but at least I don’t need to stay up late again and frazzle over Rafa’s campaign on grass and will have much time to finally read the football books I bought some tad weeks ago. 🙂

    Anywaaaaays number two, thank you so much Mr. J-Mac for sticking with your words and for letting me feel again how much Rafa means the world to me. I don’t care about his knee problems anymore. Tennis is so much more about confidence than we even realize and talent matters over all. His amazing power, talent, confidence after a 7-month layoff from injuries and his adorable humility are pretty much what it is. The numbing reality will always be there but if you would only focus on those things about him, the shocking losses will do no more than that and as Rafa reminds us: “At the end, is not a tragedy. Is sport.” 🙂

  6. estoy contigo Mr McEnroe Rafa es el mejor jugador de todos los tiempos lo dice la bisabuela de ALBUQUERQUE NM

  7. Well, that panned out didn’t it John? ha ha..

    The metrics by which tennis players have always be measured show that Federer is far ahead of Nadal in the greatness stakes. Any particular head to head between players is irrelevant. John talks of the Federer-Nadal head to head but omits to mention all those dozens of times Nadal lost early and Federer won a tournament. Beating the draw is the true aim – not any particular player.

    As great as Nadal is, it’s not even credible to claims he’s a greater player than Sampras yet, let alone Federer. Sampras’ key metrics still trump Nadal in almost every corner.

  8. Statisitically he has a better winning record over all of the top 30 players on tour. Also he has a better career match win to loss percentage than all the top players including Federer. He has won more Masters 1000 tournaments than any other player and despite been called a clay court specialist has won the US and Australian Open, 3 Indian Wells titles, Tokyo, Canada, Madrid, Beijing, Dubai and Olympic Gold all on hard courts not to mention 2 Wimbledon titles out of 5 finals and a Queens title on grass – pretty impressive and definitely worthly of best ever as a player and person. It’s a no brainer!

  9. I agree with you Sir McEnroe, Nadal is the best of character and a player. Win or loss hes always cool and friendly.

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