Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi (Player Bio) joined HuffPost Live on Monday to discuss his rivalry with fellow American Pete Sampras (Player Bio) as well as debate the greatest players of all time. While Agassi insisted that Sampras was the best player of his generation, he could not place the title of “greatest ever” on his rival.
“I think Federer (Player Bio) is a class above, quite frankly. I mean, you’re talking about a guy who dominated pretty much on every surface, minus one guy on clay. He’s won everything,” Agassi told Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live. “Pete was obviously off the hook on faster courts but during the clay season players wanted to play against him. It was opportunity to get a win over him, it was an opportunity to beat him. You didn’t have that luxury with Fed. He was really the world class, all-around player.”
While Federer is widely considered as the greatest tennis star of all time, Rafael Nadal’s remarkable comeback in 2013, winning a record 5 ATP Masters titles and 2 Grand Slam titles, has brought the Spaniard’s name back into the discussion as the greatest ever. Nadal is closing in on Federer’s Grand Slam title record, is a multiple time Davis Cup champion (which Federer never won), an Olympic Gold Medalist in Singles (which Federer also never won) and holds a 21-10 head-to-head over the Swiss no. 1.
“I personally think that Nadal has an argument to be made 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 ‘well then how come you didn’t beat me because I beat you twice as many times? And, hey, by the way, you know I won everything including gold medal and Davis Cup.’”
Whether fans side with Roger or Rafa, Agassi believes that the ability to have a heated debate about two players from the same generation as potentially being the greatest ever emphasizes this extraordinary era in tennis history.
“At the same token, Federer has separated himself during a few years, like nobody else, and he’s done it more consistently. To be able to make the argument for both guys playing in the same generation is pretty remarkable.”
Agassi was also asked about where he fits in the discussion but was adamant that he was “not even close.”
“It’s not even close,” Agassi said. “I’m way down the list from guys like that. I did manage to win all of them but that’s just the first criteria in my mind.”
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