Simon Reed

Who’s the GOAT? 3-Borg v 14-Rosewall

Simon Reed

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Bjorn Borg

Nationality: Swedish

Seeded: 3

Grand Slam Record:

Australian Open - 3R

French Open - Winner (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)

Wimbledon - Winner (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)

US Open - Finalist (1976, 1978, 1980, 1981)

Ken Rosewall

Nationality: Australian

Seeded: 14

Grand Slam Record:

Australian Open - Winner (1953, 1955, 1971, 1972)

French Open - Winner (1953, 1968)

Wimbledon - Finalist (1954, 1956, 1970, 1974)

US Open - Winner (1956, 1970)


1-0 to Borg. Despite the Australian's amazing longevity, the two greats met only the once, in a last 16 encounter in the Canadian Open in 1973. Youth triumphed over experience with the Swede winning 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Simon Reed's verdict:

This is a classic case of how difficult it is. It's like trying to marry chalk and cheese.

Rosewall was a lovely player and if there hadn't been the stand-offs between the pros and the amateurs, he would've won many more grand slams than he did.

But to be honest, he was a player of his own generation.

You just have to see the footage of Rosewall playing and then see the footage of Borg playing. And if we're saying Rosewall at his best and Borg at his best, I'm afraid there's no contest.

Things had moved on. Borg was a much bigger guy. The game was a totally different pace and I think Rosewall would struggle to win games against Bjorn on any surface.

That's not to belittle what Rosewall achieved. If you put him into the current generation with all the training techniques and the racquet technology, Rosewall might nick it on hard courts. But you can't argue against all Borg's successive French Opens and successive Wimbledons.

Borg was a combination of an extraordinary physiology. He never got tired and could run and run. He was phenomenal - with total dedication.

Subsequently, he became a guy who enjoyed the social side to extremes, but when he was on court, he was like a block of ice.

May be he wasn't the most exciting player in the world.  Who would you rather watch, Borg or Rosewall? I'd rather watch Rosewall.

He had such a canny way around the court. You'd see him working out points many shots in advance. He was a delight to watch.

Borg - not so fascinating to watch, but the results spoke for themselves.

Incredible determination and incredible resilience. You never sensed he had any nerves at all.

The bigger the occasion, the tougher the points, it was Borg who came out on top - he would win the match 6-1 (clay), 6-7 (hard), 6-2 (grass).

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