The debate rumbles on about who is the greatest men’s singles player of all time in tennis. Three of the leading players in that discussion are still playing today: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
By the time those players retire from the sport, their numbers may be enough for them to stand out as the best in the men’s game to ever pick up a racquet. Here is a look at who is currently leading the way out of those trio of stars in the respective tallies.
Grand Slam Wins
This is the one that is the most important. The four Grand Slam events are the ones which tennis players focus on much more. When a player retires from tennis, their career is defined by how many Grand Slam titles they won.
Djokovic is two behind Federer and Nadal on 18 Grand Slam wins. The world number one is the most dominant player in the sport at the moment though, and at the age of just 33, he will fancy winning more than 20 before he ends his career.
The next opportunity for the three all-time greats to win a Grand Slam will come at the French Open in June. The King of Clay, Nadal, is the odds-on favourite at 5/6 in the tennis betting in Paris. A 14th win in the tournament could prove a big step towards separating himself from his two rivals.
World Number One Spot
Current number one Djokovic has held the top spot in the ATP rankings for the most time in history. The Serbian has been there for 317 weeks and that number should extend this year as he has some distance between himself and the pack in the list.
Federer has had the number one position for 300 weeks. He is now down to number eight in the current rankings and at the age of 39, it is hard to see the Swiss legend climbing back to the top again.
Nadal has been world number one for the least amount of time out of the three players. He has been there for 209 weeks. Injuries have hampered the Spaniard at various stages of his career, otherwise that number would most likely have been much bigger.
The other big event outside of the four Grand Slams in tennis is the Olympic Games. Tokyo is the chance of all the leading men’s and women’s players to experience stepping up on the podium receiving the gold medal.
Nadal is the only one of the trio of legends who has won singles gold in the Olympics. He achieved that feat in 2008 in Beijing, beating Fernando Gonzalez in the final. Federer does have a gold medal following doubles success. He partnered Stan Wawrinka in 2008 to victory in the event.
Federer and Djokovic will be desperate to prevail in the singles tournament in 2021. It will be played on a hard court at the Ariake Coliseum.
Although tennis fans may continue to have their own opinion around who is the best ever in the men’s game, there is no doubt we are unlikely to see an era like this one again any time soon.
With the Euros just around the corner and set to take place in the summer, there is a lot of talk about who the standout players of the tournament will be. When assessing whether anyone will be able to go down in history, though, it is wise to look at the greats from the past to see where the benchmark has been set. Here are a few players to watch out for in the tournament, along with the legends of yesteryear they aim to displace.
Players Looking to Make Their Mark This Summer
Many people are looking forward to watching the Euro Cup live using online streams that play all the games available. Viewing it this way means that there is little chance of missing any of the action. The alternative method would be to watch what the television networks in your location are showing, but then you’d be at the mercy of scheduling as to which games you’d be able to watch.
Whichever way people choose to watch the games, it goes without saying that all eyes will be on the star players from each country to see what they can do on the world stage. There is likely to be a lot of attention focused on players like Harry Kane for England, Kylian Mbappe for France, Bruno Fernandes for Portugal, and Romelu Lukaku for Belgium. All of these superstars are going into the tournament in red hot form for their respective clubs, but which one is going to set the world stage alight with their performances?
The Greats They Need to Live up to
There have been 15 European Championships to date since the competition began in 1960, and in that time there have been some memorable performances from some of the world’s best players.
One player that many will agree has left his mark on the tournament is Andres Iniesta. The Spanish midfielder won six Man of The Match awards during the 2008, 2012, and 2016 competitions. This is more than anyone else in the tournament’s history. He was an integral part of the Spain team that won back-to-back competitions in 2008 and 2012, and he was named Player of the Tournament in the latter.
It should go without saying that Cristiano Ronaldo has also left his mark on the tournament, and could still go on to be the best player in its history. Since 2008, the Portuguese has been named Man of the Match in five games, and he helped push his country on to victory in the last event. He earned the Silver Boot that year and was also named in the Team of the Tournament.
Some other players that are worthy of mention here include Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, and Mesut Ozil. One thing that is noticeable is that a lot of the players considered to have been among the best in the tournament have played in recent years. This suggests the likes of Kane and Mbappe will be thinking they have a good chance to ignite the world stage this year.
With the Aintree Grand National just around the corner (10th April) I’m sure we’re all starting to put thought into our selections. It’s a race that grabs everyone’s attention and whether you’re picking through skill or gut feeling, we’re all in with a shot of our selections winning over such a challenging and unpredictable course. Despite there being a 7/2 favourite this year (Cloth Cap) there are no guarantees in the Grand National.
There’s often so much more to a race than the event itself though. Katie Walsh in partnership with Betway, offers an illuminating take on the challenges faced by female jockeys over the years. We all like to think (naively perhaps) that people are recognised solely by their merits, but that is often not the case and sometimes even getting a foot in the door to begin with is a major hurdle. Considering the long history of the Grand National it’s actually rather shocking that it took the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 before a female even took the reigns in the event.
The very first women jockey in the Grand National was Charlotte Brew in 1977, with Geraldine Rees becoming the first woman to actually complete the race (in 1982). Visibility in the sport eventually led to greater achievements. Success followed for both Rosemary Henderson and Carrie Ford in the 90’s and 00’s, both placing fifth. Indeed it was Walsh herself who took these achievements to the next level in 2012 by finishing third on Seabass.
Three women jockeys are taking part in the 2021 Grand National, demonstrating that there is no turning back the tide now. Perhaps not this year, but it is surely now only a matter of time before we have our first female Grand National winner, in this, the ‘sport of kings’.
As oft repeated, boxing is the most unpredictable sport, so it is no surprise that fighters who finish their careers as undefeated world champions are a rarity. Rocky Marciano did so in 1956 but, at the time of writing, the retired former champion who holds the record for the most fights without losing is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired, for the third time, in 2017 with a career record of 50-0-0.
In fact, Mayweather Jr., who turned 43 in February, 2020, is threatening to come out of retirement yet again, if his Instagram feed is to be believed. He retired for the first time in 2007, before coming back, with no little success, in 2009, and retiring again, with a career record of 49-0-0, in 2015. In 2017, Mayweather Jr. was tempted out of retirement, once again, for a one-off contest, aptly dubbed ‘The Money Fight’, against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. won, courtesy of a tenth round technical knockout, taking his career record to 50-0-0, and banking $275, in the process, but looked poor against a highly inexperienced opponent.
Mayweather Jr. Has been widely criticised for ‘diluting’ his legacy; in his heyday, he won fifteen major world titles, in five weight divisions – super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight – and, granted his recent insistence that he is retired from boxing and would only consider ‘entertainment’ fights in future, he may be boasting that he is ‘The Best Ever’ for a while longer.
A celebration of sporting history, and the iconic moments that define it. All of your favourite sports are featured including athletics, football, horse racing, rugby, tennis, and the various US focused sports. Enjoy this trip down memory lane.