STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Roger Federer is ranked third in the world and has won only two titles in 2010 but nine-times men’s doubles grand slam champion Jonas Bjorkman has no doubts about who is the best player in the world.
“There’s a difference in class and Federer is a much, much better player than (world number one Rafael) Nadal at this point in time,” Sweden’s former world number four told Reuters.
Bjorkman’s assessment may raise a few eyebrows considering Nadal has won seven tournaments this season, including the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open crowns.
However, Bjorkman was adamant that nine-times slam winner Nadal could only be compared to the Swiss maestro once the Spaniard had matched Federer’s staying power at the big four events.
Not only has the 29-year-old won a record 16 majors but he also reached an astonishing 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals -- a record many pundits believe is unbreakable.
“Nadal has to come up to the same level when it comes to grand slam titles before it (who is the greatest among Federer and Nadal) can even be discussed,” said Bjorkman, who is now the marketing director for the Stockholm Open.
”It’s a question of injuries and motivation and how long he (Nadal) can continue, but the big difference is that Federer is such a great ambassador. He does so much to market tennis.
“Nadal will need to stay healthy for a long time and break all of Federers records before it’s even worth discussing.”
Even though Federer has endured a lean season, by his own high standards, Bjorkman was delighted that he managed to pursuade Federer to compete in Sweden.
“He missed the tournament once before and he said that he wanted to make it up to people. He’s a fantastic ambassador, he doesn’t usually miss tournaments and he really felt that he wanted to come back here,” Bjorkman said as he watched an amateur player hit forehands on the center court of the Royal Tennis Hall.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar