Much has been written about whether Roger Federer is the greater tennis player of all time. But is Serena Better than our own Margaret Court? Is Cameron Smith better than Norm Provan? And was King Wally as good as everyone says he was?
These arguments rage in pubs and workplaces around the world. Are the best sportspeople in their field the ones with the most titles, or is it more than winning that makes them great?
Federer and Rafael Nadal are now on 20 men’s tennis grand slam titles each while the younger Novak Djokovic is not far behind on 17. To be blessed to see the top three of all time in the same era is one thing.
But for a generation everyone who has a voice has said there is no-one better than Roger. This must be correct given he has the most tiles, right?
But over time others catch up, and Federer may well be overtaken. Would that mean he will then no longer be the best of all time?
Do we place too much weight on a players achievements without taking into account that they may have changed the game they play and the rest follow in their footsteps?
The king of rugby league, Wally Lewis, never won an NRL grand final but won finals in Brisbane before he entered the Sydney competition with the Broncos and later the Gold Coast Seagulls.
At Origin level Lewis dominated and was regarded as the greatest Origin player ever. He was the face of the series until he retired.
Does not having won the domestic club showpiece diminish his standing in the game even though he is an Immortal?
We tend to anoint a greatest-ever tag upon the player of that generation in all sports. While the titles they win may statistically place them in the higher echelons of their sport, does this take away from the deeds of generations past?
Tom Brady has won numerous Super Bowls but he hasn’t had to go to work on the building site as Ray Price did his entire career. There is something to be said that being a full-time athlete has pushed the skill level of all sportspeople to another plane.
While there cannot be any argument that Don Bradman is the greatest to ever take the middle, he did so while coming to the ground after doing a shift at Mick Simmons Sports Store in Sydney. In Mumbai, Sachin Tendulkar lived cricket 24 hours a day and needs security to get into the ground.
Both are clearly outstanding, but is the Indian little master better than the Don because he scored more runs? Both careers were 20-odd years in the spotlight but Bradman’s was interrupted by World War II, during which time he never picked up a bat.
Resilient chap, our Don.