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United States’ Cori “Coco” Gauff celebrates after beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on  July 5 (Ben Curtis)
United States’ Cori “Coco” Gauff celebrates after beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on July 5 (Ben Curtis)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis - Mims Picks His Mount Rushmore

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

I am never one to compare eras or players that never played against each other. If they did not square off in their prime, then any conversation is based on who you grew up watching and your affinity to their team. But after Coco Gauff grabbed my attention this week, I saw that four of the greatest players in tennis were at Wimbledon and still forces over the past 10 years or more.

My Mount Rushmore of 2019 has Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.

Federer has 20 Grand Slam wins. Nadal has 18 to his credit. Djokovic has won 15 so far. Serena has 23 Slams and is the standard for that the men and women look at for her level of play and domination.

Each of these players are in their 30s. Serena and Roger are closing in 40. But no player takes any of them lightly and the odds when they play in the early rounds are astronomical so making a wager on them does not get much of a return.

What this quartet does give is a piece of history that will not be matched. Four players that have a combined 76 majors between them. Each recognized by just part of their names globally. They have made strong impressions in the world of fashion. Every member of this foursome has appeared multiple times on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated. Serena has graced the cover of Vogue, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Federer and Serena won their first slams before Coco was born. Serena’s first came in 1999 and Roger capture his initial slam in 2003.

So, this week belongs to Coco because she beat Venus Williams in the opening round and came back from a match-point deficit to force and win a third set to advance into the second week of Wimbledon. Gauff is the youngest player ever to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw. Serena gave strong praise to Gauff. “I think there are some 15-year old’s, like me, who wouldn’t know what to do at Wimbledon” said Serena. “Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do.”

But the last 20 years belongs to my Mount Rushmore of 2019.

My question to all of tennis fans. Who is your top four players ever? We may disagree but that is what makes sports so cool. When you start talking GOAT or Greatest of All Time, it’s all speculation. Share your thoughts with me on Twitter.