Andre Agassi: “Until Nadal, you would say Federer was probably the best of all time.”

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Andre Agassi was out promoting education, his foundations and his new kids snack food line called “Box Buddies”. He gave an extensive interview with Marc Lamont Hill of Huffington Post live touching on his foundation, his work with children though education and his future plans away from tennis. He also talked about Rafa and Roger.

“Pete was the best of his time. I think Federer’s a class above. Pete was off the hook on the faster courts but during the clay season players wanted to play against him. You didn’t have that luxury against Fed. Until Nadal, you would say Fed was probably the best of all time.”

Agassi also gave his take on the raging “Roger vs. Rafa” debate.

“I personally think that Nadal has an argument to make for the best of all time. If Nadal is sitting at a table with Federer and Federer says I’m the best ever, my first question would be, ‘How come you didn’t beat me?’ I beat you twice as many times and by the way, I won everything including the gold medal and Davis Cup.”

“But at same token Federer has separated himself for a few years like nobody else and he’s done it more consistent. To be able to make the argument for both guys playing in the same generation is pretty remarkable.”



  1. Roger Federer the greatest ever without a doubt! Remember his 5 years older than Nadal. If Nadal ever met Federer when federer was 18 to 23 he would have ripped Nadal apart!

  2. I think RAFA is the best ever. If Fed is the best, how come he can’t beat Rafa on clay?Consider the years that Federer was winning when Rafa was not in the picture yet. Players then were not as good as the players we have now and, and so of course Fed was winning all the time. No competition at all. But then comes Rafa and to my thinking tennis became very different. There were longer rallies, better serving. better forehands etc…Even younger players now are better, yes, Fed is graceful , but is tennis supposed to be graceful and does that make you the greatest? Even women players now are not graceful…..

    • If Rafa is the best ever, how come he can’t beat Federer – and everybody else – at ATP Tour finals? You say Fed ‘is’ graceful! I think Fed ‘may look’ graceful, but don’t make the mistake, he is not! If Nadal is the best of all time, how come he held the # 2 ranking longer than the # 1 ranking? At one point, Nadal was behind Fed for some 150 + weeks. Nadal can be 56-2 against Fed. But the real problem for Nadal is himself. Nadal may have a winning record against everybody, but he couldn’t beat his injuries. Listen friends, Nadal has ranked himself as # 2 on the all time list. Can you name a player other than Nadal that spent more time at # 2? By the same token, can you name a player other than Federer that spent more time at # 1? If H2H record argument had been true, Nadal should have established a new weeks-at-#1 record long ago. It’s not the H2H record that makes the cut, otherwise Davydenko would be better than Nadal and Murray better than Federer. It’s the overall accomplishments and how they have been done.

  3. But is not Nadal’s advantage in head-to-head based almost entirely on clay matches? Could it not look very differently if clay and grass switched places in terms of what tournaments were played on what surface?

    Time spent as number one and grand slams won are more telling; in particular, as most of their careers have over-lapped.

    Nadal’s ace in the sleeve: He still has the chance to over-take the older Federer in some significant statistics.

  4. I think that there comes a point with any player that all you have left to argue are the numbers because the current number one is clearly better than this player ever was. Of course, age, equipment, sports medicine etc. can be hypothetically updated (Borg with today’s strings and racquets etc.). However, Don Budge on his best day with his racquets etc. could not win a match at the US Open this year despite his historical and numeric significance being better than all but two players entered in this US Open. Federer numerically is still ahead of Nadal, but if one can’t see a path to 16 or more majors for Nadal is blind (I know Fed has 17 but head-to-head has to be worth 1 major at least). Fed has the numbers, but the level of play Rafa has achieved in 2010 and 2013 has been higher than any Fed achieved as far as I can say. Of course, consistency records (weeks at #1, consecutive weeks at #1, consecutive Grand Slam finals, semifinals and quarterfinals) are something Federer will likely hold for a long time, but all-time records are within Nadal’s reach and the all-time highest level is Rafa’s right now. 6 Year and titles and a silver medal in singles at least equals the gold medal in singles and masters 1000 record. Especially given that Roger is second in the 1000 series standings and Rafa has yet to win a single year end title. Still, Rafa has one third of the GOAT criteria (level of play) and has a real shot at another third of it (all-time records). Consistency is the only 3rd that looks out of reach.

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