Andre Agassi is one of my favorite athletes/human beings.
But, on this topic, somehow he got it galactically wrong.
Recently, Agassi came out with an opinion. He said that Roger Federer is not the best tennis player of all time.
He said that Federer can’t be the greatest of all time because he has a losing record to his rival, Rafa Nadal.
Unfortunately, Agassi isn’t alone. There are others who make this same, ill-fated argument.
For them, and for you, the reader, I’m going to debunk this argument once and for all. By doing so, I guarantee the light of truth will shower over you, bringing unending clarity and joy.
Admittedly, the head-to-head record seems like a decent argument. After all, if Player A beats Player B more often than not, Player A must be better. That seems logical, right?
Here’s a quick quiz. Who’s the better player? Andre Agassi or Andres Gomez?
Agassi won 8 Majors, won the career Grand Slam (Australian, French, Wimbledon, US Open) and was #1 in the world for 101 weeks.
Andres Gomez only won 1 Major, only reached #4 in the world, and you’ve never heard of him.
That’s a no-brainer. Clearly it’s Agassi.
Not so fast, my friend!
When looking at their head-to-head record, Gomez leads 3 to 2.
According to Agassi & Company’s argument, Gomez is the better player. They played in the same era, and Gomez won more matches head-to-head. Gomez is the best!
Let’s do another one.
Who’s better? Rafa Nadal or Dustin Brown?
Nadal has 16 Majors, the career Grand Slam, and has been #1 for 154 weeks. Dustin Brown has no Majors, no Major Finals, and has a career high ranking of 64.
Another no-brainer. Except that Brown is 2-0 versus Nadal.
If two players play in the same era and one has a better record head-to-head…
Saying Gomez is better than Agassi and Brown is better than Nadal is utterly ridiculous.
Which is why saying Nadal is better than Federer is also utterly ridiculous (as of November, 2017).
In the previous case studies, what easily won the argument? TOTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS! Not head-to-head.
It’s the sum of all the parts that makes something logical. To look at an arbitrary, misleading, single fact leads only to heartache and despair.
So, considering the logical big picture, let’s now look deeply at Federer versus Nadal.
Federer has 19 Majors while Nadal has 16. They both own the career Grand Slam. Federer has been #1 for 302 weeks while Nadal has been number one for only half that (154). And Federer has 6 (going on 7) year-end ATP World Championships while Nadal has none. That's 25 major titles to 16.
See? No contest.
But it doesn’t end there. Federer has actually won his last 5 matches against Nadal. Experts have said that both Federer and Nadal are playing their best tennis right now in 2017, which means that Roger has beaten the best version of Nadal 5 times in a row.
One last thing. Federer has an 11-9 lead on hard courts and a 2-1 lead on grass courts. That’s a 13-10 lead on faster surfaces.
The entire basis of Agassi and Company’s argument is the lopsided record against Nadal on clay. On one surface that Nadal is freakishly suited for, Nadal leads.
How about one more fun fact? Since 2004, Nadal has won only 1 title after the US Open (between September and the end of the year). One! Federer has won 22.
It's not logical to make a best-of-all-time argument using only head-to-head. And that's important.
It's important that you don’t fall for bad opinions based on bad logic.
No, to live the best life, use sound logic that always looks at the big picture.
And never, ever say Nadal is better than Federer again.
My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.