Unfair advantage: Tennis great's crazy claim about Federer and Nadal

Andrew Reid
·2-min read
Pictured here, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with one of their 20 career grand slam singles trophies.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have the most men's grand slam singles titles in tennis history. Pic: Getty

Tennis great Gustavo Kuerten says the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have an unfair advantage over players from previous generations.

Nadal's extraordinary 13th French Open title saw the Spaniard equal Federer's record of 20 career grand slam singles titles.

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The pair are regarded by many as the greatest tennis players of all time, with many also believing that it's just a matter of time before Novak Djokovic overtakes their career haul.

However, Kuerten says Federer and Nadal owe as much to scientific advancement as they do to their undisputed talent, when not comes to measuring their trophy hauls.

“The fact is that life is going to change a lot over the next 50 years, and this is a reflection of what is to come,” Kuerten said.

“The human being is different, one is born to live 150 years. Sport, and tennis, are on the crest of that wave.

“Nadal and Federer have five or eight years of extra tennis life compared to previous generations.

Kuerten points to the fact that the 39-year-old Federer is still competing for grand slam titles and 34-year-old Nadal has just won his 20th.

Seen here, Brazilian former tennis star Gustavo Kuerten.
Gustavo Kuerten says scientific advancement is an advantage that current players have over former tennis stars. Pic: Getty

Scientific advancement gives current stars the edge

The 44-year-old Brazilian - a three-time French Open singles champion - suggests that the advancement in areas like medicine and sports science gives the current stars an advantage over the former greats of the game.

“They are from a generation that has science at its disposal, they have the physical capacity to do things much better for much longer. And their time is decisive.

“If you think about a 15-year career, it’s 50 percent more than a ten-year career. They started before us and will finish later.

“Tennis players will play for 20 years and will still be competitive at 40. And that’s when they have to try to play well at 35, at 38.

No one can dispute how far the world of medicine and sports science has come since the days of Aussie legends Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.

However, one only has to look at the fact that Rosewall won an Australian Open title in 1972 at the age of 37 to see the holes in Kuerten's theory.

Federer only comes in second on the list of oldest major winners after claiming the 2018 Australian Open as a 36-year-old.

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