Tennis has been played since 1873, giving the sport almost 150 years to debate the identity of its greatest all-time player.
If you compare Novak Djokovic’s career to that of Kevin Anderson, you’d assume the Serb should cruise to victory in tonight’s men’s singles final at Wimbledon.
Djokovic has won 12 slam singles titles, 68 tournaments, and banked a tick over $111 million in prize money.
Anderson has never won a Slam, has only won four tournaments, and banked $11 million prize money.
On the debit side, Djokovic must face the bazooka serving of the lanky South African that can pin him to the back wall, so breaking his serve will be extremely difficult.
Especially as Djokovic’s break point conversion isn’t too flash.
In his six rounds Djokovic has converted only 22 off 55 break points, at a lowly 40 per cent. With Anderson likely to serve a large number of aces and unplayables, Djokovic must make the most of any break points that may come his way.
At 40 per cent, that won’t cut the mustard, so he will have to rely on tie-breakers to win – and that’s fraught with danger.
Djokovic’s third problem is a day’s less rest than Anderson after their epic semi final successes.
Anderson took 6 hours 36 minutes to dispose of another bazooka server John Isner in five sets with the deciding set a marathon 26-24.
That forced the Djokovic-Rafael Nadal semi into darkness, and play was stopped at 11pm with the Serb leading two sets to one.
Nadal won the fourth on resumption the next day, with Djokovic taking out the decider 10-8 in five hours and 15 minutes.
That clash was virtually the final, as with all due respects to the South African he doesn’t make the adrenalin pump as Roger Federer, Djokovic and Nadal do.
Effectively it’s those three and daylight when it comes to talent – with 49 Slam singles between them.
Tired legs could yet decide tonight’s final.
Anderson has been on court for a total of 21 hours one minute through 24 sets, and 320 games.
Djokovic has got off lightly by comparison with 19 hours and three minutes on court through 22 sets, and just 204 games.
But there’s a coveted trophy up for grabs, so the adrenalin will be pumping both ways.
Having said that, there’s every chance the decider could turn out to be as boring to watch as the Anderson-Isner bazooka serving bash, with so little tennis to be seen.
To paint the picture, Anderson has served 174 aces to Djokovic’s 41,
So what Kevin Anderson does tonight could well decide the outcome.