To read Emma's side of the story, where she is opposing me (?!), click here . (Now did you do that?)
There are essentially three questions that humankind spends most of its time pondering over:
1. What is the meaning of Life, Earth, Universe and Everything else?
2. Which was invented first, the racquet or the ball?
3. Who is the Greatest (Tennis) Player of All Time?
The answer for the first has sort of been found out to be 42, and now it seems the meaning of the question is not being understood correctly. For our present discussion, the matter is sub judice and won't be taken up.
It cannot be said that the last two questions are totally unrelated, though the exact nature of this relation is right now being explored. But the acute reader would have already figured that out, to the extent that it of course has something to do with the fact that racquets and balls are used in playing tennis.
There have been lots of froods in the history of the game for whom strong cases have been made for question three. These cases, originally made by logicians, are pretty difficult to understand in the nascent form for the casual tennis fans, and hence "fan" versions are made popular.
These are nothing but oversimplifications. Nevertheless, they help keep the game interesting with debates.
Surely one would not call these debates healthy, since many a time a brave man has found the same spot on the pavement with his nose or teeth or other relevant parts of the face that protrude outward.
At the same time, some people claim that "healthy" here has been used in too literal a sense and that one need only look a bit deeper to see the truth.
It is said that the average tennis fan exercises his brain cells the most in a day when he is debating on the "GOAT" subject. The "GOAT debate" is now being considered the ultimate exercise for the gray matter. Surely healthy for the mind.
Based on the syllogism, "A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body," it follows that a Healthy Body is a pre-requisite for the existence of a healthy mind. Hence, if the GOAT debate is healthy for the mind, it must by the laws of logic, somehow make the body healthy too.
The apparent paradox here—the fact about the tooth and nose opposing the fact about the syllogisms and health—is referred to as the Great GOAT Paradox (or the Greatest Paradox of All Time, or the GOAT among Paradoxes).
It was definitely not the author's intention to digress here, but the GOAT debate is so powerful that it takes possession of whoever tends to write on it.
Well, the thing is this: Once upon a time, there was a man called Rod Laver. People called him "Rocket" Rod Laver, for obvious reasons (and for the umpteenth time, it was NOT because he was the first man on the moon; that was Roscoe Tanner). He won two calendar year Grand Slams, something which no other man has ever done. The thing looked pretty “neat”—winning all slams in a year and that too twice. So they simply called him the GOAT.
Then came a lot of people who could not win two calendar year Grand Slams or 14 Grand Slam titles.
Then came Sampras, who won 14 Grand Slam titles.
Since till then people had witnessed the winning of two calendar-year Slams, but not seen someone win 14 Grand Slam titles, they decided that for a change they would call Sampras the greatest of all time.
Not everyone, mind you.
Some still thought that two calendar-year Slams were simply "neat." Of course the other camp could not find an adjective for "14 Grand Slam Titles," so they simply kept calling it "14 Grand Slam Titles."
Then came the man Federer. He was initially given to a lot of violent tantrums as if he was involved in one of those GOAT debates, but then he simply decided to calm it down and be awesome instead, and then started winning everything.
This accentuated the debates more. They started becoming more physically violent and at the same time more medicinal for the mind and hence body—in short, more "paradoxical."
No one understood anything that the other person was saying. But then they started thinking on the lines of "there are more complex things in life which we live with without understanding, like relativity for instance."
But many of them who actually knew relativity felt a cold fear darting through their spines, from the realisation that relativity was peanuts to the GOAT debate.
Matters came to a head when the guy Nadal came in. He too started winning stuff, and more importantly defeating Federer. Now people started throwing him into the debate for good measure. "Well..er...yea, this is the first time someone is dominating a GOAT candidate."
The rate at which Federer collected Slams, which once was more than the rate at which bacteria multiplied in a conducive environment, started dipping. Many simply decided that he would not get more than 14, and some even postulated that 14 is a universal constant, like the speed of light.
Since 42 was the solution to the question "What is the meaning of Life, Earth, Universe and Everything else?" it seemed that 14 being the other number of significance in the (their) universe meant a lot of new possibilities, like 14 x 3 = 42 for instance.
But then Federer won the French Open - the only thing that Sampras didn't win. So now he had won "14 Grand Slams," and that included everything that was there in Sampras' collection and the French Open.
Not content with this, he went on to win another one. But by now "14" had a special place in everyone's heart, whether they liked it or not.
They couldn't call it "15 Grand Slams" since it would sound condescending to 14. So they decided to call it "14 Grand Slam titles and then some."
Now, inexplicably, this new incident has, instead of stirring up more debates, sort of settled the question for now. It seems Federer is the "official" GOAT.
There are of course a few people who are not yet satisfied with the arguments, but they are a minority like 1 in 6 billion. (That one person is suspected to be Sergei Zikov, Rob York, or antiMatter).
This cooling down of things and the onset of relative peace—and, in many ways, boredom—has led people to question the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that Entropy (disorder) cannot decrease. That is when "Chaos," the "thermodynamics of instability" was discovered.
What was the title again?