Rafael Nadal was asked by David Letterman on his CBS show whether the Spaniard and Roger Federer made each other greater. Nadal did not agree.
He agreed he would probably not have been as good if Federer had not been around, but he said it would probably have been better if the other one hadn't been around.
Although Nadal's English language skills are supposed to be poor, he has the ability to zero in on the correct meaning.
Greatness as perceived by the public depends not on a person's skills but on how many Grand Slam titles he accumulates, how many weeks he retains the No. 1 ranking and similar other statistics that are supposed to be a measure of greatness.
Is Andy Murray considered great even though he is hugely talented? He may be a better player because of the presence of Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but can we say their presence makes him greater?
Had Federer and Nadal been the same age, how many Grand Slam titles would the Swiss have? Probably fewer than 10.
Federer benefited by having no rivals in his age group between 2004 and 2007.
If Federer hadn't been around, Nadal would have had two more Wimbledon titles (and a total of 12 Grand Slam titles).
While Letterman stated what is the common view, Nadal spoke from experience as one who had to fight Federer for most of his Grand Slam titles, which were won with blood, sweat and tears.