DOHA (Reuters) - There are few more impressive sights in sport than Roger Federer in full flow on a tennis court but the Swiss great cannot compare with Rafael Nadal as an athlete, says former world No.1 John McEnroe.
Debate rages on over who is the better player but McEnroe said Nadal’s only rival in terms of athleticism is his old sparring partner Bjorn Borg.
“The two greatest athletes of all time are Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal,” the American, still playing on the seniors tour as well as commentating, said at a sports conference in Qatar where he was joined by Borg and Romanian Ilie Nastase.
“Federer is one of the greatest players ever, but I don’t think he’s as good an athlete as those two.”
Federer, who has a record 16 grand slam titles to Nadal’s nine, will get the chance to continue his rivalry with the Spaniard in London’s O2 Arena at the ATP World Tour finals which start on Sunday.
Nadal, who is fit for the season finale after missing the Paris Masters with a shoulder injury, is already confirmed as the year-end world number one after winning three of the year’s four grand slams to leave Federer in the shade.
Five-times Wimbledon champion Borg believes the Spaniard could maintain his dominance next season.
“He’s still up there. If he stays healthy and motivated, he can sustain it for a long time,” the Swede said.
World number two Federer won his 65th ATP tournament earlier this month win to move ahead of Pete Sampras, although he still trails Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and McEnroe in overall career titles.
Murray grouped with Federer in ATP finals
Britain’s Andy Murray will face Roger Federer in the group stage of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, it was announced on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old Murray has got the better of the Swiss star in their last two meetings, both times winning in straight sets to capture Masters titles in Toronto and Shanghai.
But he lost to Federer in the Australian Open final in January, a defeat that left Murray still searching for a first grand slam title.
Also drawn in Group B alongside Federer and Murray, who dropped down to fifth in the world rankings after Robin Soderling won the Paris Masters last week, were Soderling and David Ferrer.
Group A will be contested by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick.
Last year Murray missed out on a semi-final spot by one game to Juan Martin del Potro.
The Argentininan was not in this year’s draw, having missed most of the season with a wrist injury, while a similar problem effectively prevented Nikolay Davydenko from defending his title.
Murray’s only defeat from three matches last year came against Federer but wins over Del Potro and Fernando Verdasco were not enough to prevent an early exit.