‘Roger Federer is Lionel Messi, Novak Djokovic is Cristiano Ronaldo’ – Peter Crouch and Jermaine Jenas on GOAT debate

‘Roger Federer is Lionel Messi, Novak Djokovic is Cristiano Ronaldo’ – Peter Crouch and Jermaine Jenas on GOAT debate

Peter Crouch and Jermaine Jenas both view Roger Federer as the greatest men’s tennis player of all time despite believing Novak Djokovic will end his career with the most Grand Slams.

The GOAT debate has long featured in tennis across an era where Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have taken the game to new levels.
Federer was the first man to reach 20 Slams, but the now-retired Swiss maestro has since been overtaken by Djokovic and Nadal, who are tied on 22 majors apiece.


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Djokovic looks on course to pick up more Slams this year, while an injury to Nadal could make 2024 his final year on tour, but despite their battle it is Federer who shines brightest for Crouch and Jenas, who were talking ahead of the Champions League final – which is live on BT Sport.

“It’s got to be Federer, surely,” said Jenas, to which Crouch agreed, saying Federer was “a beautiful player to watch”.

Jenas went on: “Djokovic has the numbers and that athletic ability, but for me when you’re looking at sport, that element of grace and what it looks like when you do it has to come into it a little bit. The way Federer played, that backhand…”

Crouch then added: “Federer is Messi, right? Djokovic is Ronaldo.”

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“It’s exactly what it’s like,” replied Jenas. “[Djokovic] is the numbers, robotic, relentless, and he’s definitely going to finish his career with way more Slams than anyone that ever has. But there’s something about watching Federer… elegance… the geezer didn’t sweat!

“Nadal is one of those players who you can’t not love. He fights for every single point and you’d have his forehand. It was like he hardly held onto the racket. It was mad Djokovic was able to wedge himself in there [between Nadal and Federer].”

Crouch: My serve… it was a gift!

Jenas revealed he first discovered Crouch’s tennis prowess during England’s 2006 World Cup camp in Baden-Baden, Germany.

And when reflecting on one particular match as a kid, Crouch said he had to stop “raining” aces down on his opponent due to his own mum’s embarrassment.

“I grew up a little bit on grass. I played on hard and grass, hard in the winter. I used to love playing on grass because of Wimbledon,” Crouch said.

“I feel my game would have suited the hard courts. My serve and volley, I had the height from a young age. I remember playing other kids, same age, and I’m just so much taller!

“One time I was so competitive, I used to bang these serves down and wouldn’t let them even get a point. My mum had to pull me and say ‘You’ve got to let them get a point’, because his mum was going mad.

“There was only two mums, because it’s not like football. My mum was so embarrassed, and I was raining bombs on him.

“Because I was so tall, it was just a gift. I wish I had kept it up.”

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On June 10 and 11 strap yourself in for a live sport rollercoaster ride. With the finals of Roland-Garros, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Speedway Grand Prix, the UCI Mountain Bike World Series, the Criterium du Dauphine, MotoGP and the Champions League final, it’s the Weekend of Champions live on Eurosport, discovery+ and BT Sport.


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