Tennis great's shock call in Federer-Nadal debate

Tennis legend Andre Agassi has made a stunning call in the ongoing debate about whether Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal is the greatest of all time.

Many regard Federer to be the best male player ever, given his record tally of 19 grand slam titles.

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However the Swiss maestro has historically struggled against his fiercest rival Nadal, with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head match-up 23-15.

And according to Agassi, that's the very reason Federer can't be considered the 'GOAT'.

Nadal or Federer. Image: Getty

"A player cannot be considered the best of all time if he has been beaten so many times by a rival," the American coach of Novak Djokovic told Swiss outlet Le Matin recently.

Agassi says his vote would go to Nadal in terms of who is the greatest ever, but also made the point that the discussion is rather pointless.

"My choice is purely arbitrary," he added.

"I could just as easily defend the opposite view and prove to you that Federer is the best.

Agassi has been coaching Djokovic since earlier this year. Image: Getty

"The debate has no rational basis, it comes down to ‘and if …’. It’s just a debate."

Despite the criticism, Agassi praised 36-year-old Federer for his outstanding career.

"Federer is unique. In all: greatness, accuracy, ease. He plays tennis so differently from others.

"Federer gives off that feeling of control, of having a solution for every problem.

"We cannot deny that Federer will mark the sport forever."

Federer is 4-0 against Nadal in 2017 and has won the last five match-ups with the World No.1, including at the Australian Open final in January.

And while Nadal secured the year-end No.1 ranking despite withdrawing from the ATP Finals after a first-round loss to David Goffin, Federer was recently honoured with the fan vote for 'best comeback of 2017'.

Nadal's unforgettable season came to a painful end on Monday, calling an end to his year after clearly hobbling as he went down 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-4.

"No, I'm off," the 31-year-old Nadal told reporters when asked if he would be fit enough to play his remaining round-robin matches against Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov.

"My season is finished. I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard.

"I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am really not ready to play.

"I fought a lot during the match, but knowing that probably ...(it was going to be) the last match of the season."

with agencies