The idea of a “GOAT” debate is something that fascinates everybody and likewise entices them to have their say. In football, you could say Messi or Ronaldo for example. In Rugby union Richie McCaw, Dan Carter or maybe even Jonah Lomu.
As Novak Djokovic dismantled Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to claim an 18th Grand Slam crown he may have just opened up the door for the best conversation yet. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
With a combined 58 Grand Slams and over 200 career titles between them, there is a lot of room for debate and in the end, it may just come down to personal preference. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the factors as to why Djokovic may be the greatest to ever do it.
Time is on his side
Ironically born just a week after Andy Murray, Djokovic is currently 33 years old and shows little signs of deteriorating just yet. That, in theory, leaves him plenty of time to only amass more to his résumé while Federer and Nadal, a year and five years older than him respectively, presumably start to decline. Djokovic’s latest title actually ties him directly with Nadal for the most championships won after the age of 30 at five apiece, given Nadal’s lengthy injury history and the Serb’s current form, that could well be advantage Djokovic going into the near future.
In addition to this, Djokovic still appears to have the edge over some of the games rising stars such as Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev for the time being. Novak’s first title came in 2008, but it wasn’t till 2011 that he truly began to breakthrough. To date, none of the chasing pack have really managed to stake a claim to threaten any of Tennis’s elite icons.
311 weeks a counting
The Serb’s title combined with Nadal’s slip up in the quarter-finals means that mathematically Djokovic cannot be replaced as the World No.1 before he reaches the grand total of 311 combined weeks at the top of the standings, therefore displacing Federer’s previous record of 310. Considering how dominant the Swiss was, winning sixteen grand-slams between 2003 and 2010, at just the age of 27. This ongoing record at a later age only highlights the fine wine element of Djokovic’s ongoing legacy. How far he can push this could be a causal link to how highly he is regarded when it is all set and done.
Djokovic will likely be heavily favoured in Wimbledon and the US Open to add a further two titles alongside the competition of Nadal on the French clay in between now and Wimbledon. This record has potential to stand for a long time and blow Federer’s record out of the water.
The last and best throw of the dice for the Serb may be that he actually has better head-to-head records against both of his competitors, the only man in the trio that can say that.
Djokovic holds a narrow 27-23 lead over Federer and an even more slender 29-27 advantage over Nadal across the length of his career. Again given his form and age he could go on to stretch these personal records further and make the margin less exciting than it already is.