24/01/2014 08:41 GMT | Updated 26/03/2014 05:59 GMT

Roger Federer Is the Best Tennis Player Ever... Just Not Against Nadal


Unlucky, old chap. It was nip-and-tuck for the first set, and a couple of breaks decided it overall.

Sure, you could have sliced a few more backhands, and made Rafa play a bit more with his dodgy left hand.

But you've had a decent Australian Open, sent Andy Murray packing, and played some exquisite tennis.

Now, though, you know what's coming. It's what happens every time you lose a match.

For some reason, pundits will attach more significance to your semi-final defeat than they will to the earlier ones of Novak Djokovic and Murray.

As long as one of the 'other three' wins the tournament (not to write off your Swiss mate Stanislas Wawrinka in the final), the narrative lives on: Federer is a fading force and Nadal/Djokovic/Murray have taken over.

At times it seems like three against one.

But don't let that get you down. Just keep on doing what you do best, playing the beautiful brand of tennis that has inspired millions of people around the world.

I suspect you've never doubted this, but you remain the greatest player to pick up a racquet.

There has never been, and probably never will be, a player with your range of shots, which make the rest of the ATP Tour look like club players.

You are a one-off sporting genius, and the current generation of tennis fans are honoured to have witnessed you in action.

But, and there is a but, just not against Nadal. It looks like you and your devoted fans will have to accept that.

It doesn't make him a better player, he's not. His sledgehammer forehand aside, your shots are vastly superior.

Anyway, until he reaches your 17 grand slam titles that's a debate we don't need to have.

It's just that he tends to beat you more often. Perhaps you go for broke too much, perhaps you get tempted to take him on at his own game. There seems to be a stubbornness to your approach when you play him - who knows.

There we go. Hopefully this tournament has persuaded you that, at 32, and after spanking Murray and Tsonga the way you did this week, you have plenty more to give.

Stefan Edberg - another man who played tennis the proper way - is a great addition to your camp.

Don't listen to those who want to write you off for a quick headline. You're fitter than most of your rivals, who take time out injured while you battle on.

And your fans need you. Some of us are also 32, and you are our last sporting hero before we become mere observers for the rest of our adult lives.

Frankly, Roger, I'd be happy to see you in 10 years' time, still doing your thing. Maybe on the doubles tour, alongside Wawrinka.

Just don't stop any time soon.