Federer says Nadal not the best ... yet

Sat Sep 4, 2010 7:26pm EDT
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By Simon Cambers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer has warned Rafa Nadal that he must win the U.S. Open to stand any chance of being labeled as the greatest to ever play the game.

Nadal has captured eight grand slam titles and time is on the 24-year-old Spaniard's side as he bids to catch the record total of 16 won be Federer.

But Federer, who has won each of the grand slams at least once, said Nadal would have to complete the full set before he is included in the discussion about who is the best ever,

"Clearly he has a chance because he's young enough," Federer said on Saturday after he cruised into the fourth round of the U.S. Open with a 6-4 6-3 6-3 victory over Paul-Henri Mathieu of France. "Having so many French Open titles to his name, let alone at his age, is an amazing accomplishment.

"Then again, obviously I guess he would need to win the U.S. Open, to put himself there. He's won the Olympics, done some amazing things. So he'll have a shot at it, I'm sure."

Second seed Federer and world number one Nadal could meet in the final in New York and the Swiss maestro reiterated that he has become a better player because of the Spaniard.

Nadal has won five French Opens, two Wimbledons and one Australian Open, but has yet to go beyond the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Federer, who completed the full set of all four grand slams when he captured the French Open in 2009, said he saw some similarities between his quest and Nadal's bid.   Continued...

<p>Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return during his match against Paul-Henri Mathieu of France at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, September 4, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>