Tennis

‘If I beat Roger Federer, it’s Roger who played badly,’ says former ace

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic rewrote the record book by dominating the men’s circuit for a decade and a half. The Spaniard leads the all-time Grand Slam rankings at 22, having won the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.

The Serb won his 21st major by winning Wimbledon for the fourth time in a row, the seventh time in his history. The 35-year-old Belgrade will try to catch Nadal as early as the 2023 Australian Open, where he will go hunting for his tenth seal.

Nole had to skip the 2022 edition of the Happy Slam due to the well-known vaccination issue. Federer, for his part, retired on September 23, 2022 at the age of 41. The King played his last match with Nadal in the Laver Cup, receiving a splendid tribute at the end of the match.

The Basel Master did his best to take one last walk, but his right knee forced him to say enough. In a lengthy interview with the FFT’s YouTube channel, Gilles Simon examined the media’s focus on the Big 3.

Gilles Simon on the Big 3

Officially retired since his loss to Félix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16 at Paris-Bercy on November 3, Gilles Simon, still so talkative and open to debate, spoke at length in a recent interview with the Youtube channel of the FFT.

And after having evoked the career of Richard Gasquet and the discrepancy between the career that was predicted for him and reality, this time Gilou addressed a precious subject for him: the idea that the general public and the media have of a style of play, and more particularly his style of play.

Extracts. “When Djokovic made 100 unforced errors against me at the Australian Open (in 2016), it was very easy for me to explain because he made them every time we played against each other. Why the players made 60 errors or made 20 more against Andy (Murray) or Gaël (Monfils), it is very easy to explain when you know what you are looking for.

But this is where media representations sometimes come to block things that are ultimately quite simple. I play Novak in Australia, he just won all the Grand Slams, he’s number one, everyone asks me before the game: ‘Why are you going on court? You have absolutely no chance.

You can’t do anything, the guy is unbeatable. Me, I’m here, I want to go anyway, because it seems to me that I know him and no, he doesn’t know how to do everything, and no, there are things that he struggles with, and I feel too. Well I want to see what happens.

And I manage to do it (compete, editor’s note) and it gives that (loss in 5 sets after 4h30 of play, editor’s note). But we say, ‘that’s it, he drove him crazy’ But we don’t know how to explain it.

That is why I have always said that when Jo (Tsonga) plays well, and there is also an impact, when Jo beats Roger Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, he is the one who beats them. Because with his game they tell you: ‘Jo had a great game, he took out, sent aces, rights, got in’

If I beat Roger, it’s Roger who played badly. I made him outwit, I made him play badly, I never played well in fact, I was never stronger than the other. It’s always: I got into his head, suddenly he just made mistakes, suddenly he missed things he would never miss.

And I always found it to be a very pejorative way of rating one style of play over another and also ‘stealing’ your win.”

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