Tennis: Is Novak Djokovic better than Federer and Nadal?

PostedJanuary 31, 2023, 2:33 PM

TennisIs Novak Djokovic better than Federer and Nadal?

Statistically, the Serbian is the best in history. Enough to make it the “GOAT”?

Djokovic, crowned in Melbourne for the 22nd time in Grand Slam. But in the firmament of tennis, which star will always shine more than the others? That of Djokovic, that of Nadal or that of Federer?


Endless, the debate fuses like a tennis ball, wherever it bounces: from Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, who is the best player of all time, “The Greatest Of All Time”, the “GOAT” according to the established formula ? The numbers are stubborn. Since his victory in Melbourne on Sunday, they put Novak Djokovic back at the top of the hierarchy, considering successes and records (see below). On this level, there is no longer any debate, at least not until Roland-Garros while waiting to see if Nadal can still push his limits.

For the rest, Djokovic is in the lead everywhere. “He is the best tennis player to have held a racket in history,” summarized Stefanos Tsitsipas, just after being beaten in three sets in Melbourne. Debate closed for the Greek.

We can understand. And if we cannot tamper with the past, twist it at will with “if”, we must recognize that if the Covid had not been there, Djokovic might already be alone in the lead in the victories in the Grand Slam, the Serb having been expelled from Australia last year and also banned from the US Open when he outrageously dominated the circuit.

If he hadn’t persisted in his antivax stance, where would he be today, not to mention the unfair disqualification he suffered at Flushing Meadows in 2020? You have to be honest. In terms of results, there are three monsters that have raised tennis to unbreathable heights for the rest of the players for a long time and still today, but there is one that is even more monstrous than the other two and , in this field of pure performance, it is Novak Djokovic. Who will have achieved the unthinkable feat of becoming world No 1 the first time in 2011, when no one would have bet a penny on this earthquake, while Federer and Nadal were at their highest level and seemed literally untouchable or almost, in everything unbeatable cases of the first two places.

On the other hand, if there is one area where Djokovic will always remain behind the Swiss and the Spaniard. it is that of popularity with the public. Here, there is no photo. Federer is forever at the zenith and he remains so even since he retired from competition: he arouses boundless admiration. Nadal arrives behind, with great benevolence from the supporters towards him. And Djokovic, hero of Serbia, is the ugly duckling, the one that many hate. His divisive personality, some of his attitudes in matches, some of his esoteric outings, even suspicions about certain practices: all this does not please. Or maybe this lack of love is the consequence of the crime of lèse-majesté: having too often upset Roger Federer?

Unbeatable Federer

The fundamental question remains: who will leave the greatest legacy. This may be where the three monsters share the throne. Each being the GOAT in their field. Djokovic for his performances. Nadal for his resilience, his combativeness, an example of relentlessness for generations. And Federer.

For revolutionizing tennis. Without Nadal and Djokovic, the virtuosity of the eternal genius of tennis would have been the same honey, the same fascination for the fluidity of his drawings would have enveloped each of his successes, in an elegance and ease that never betrayed the hours. of work to achieve this perfection of movement. But without Federer, would Nadal and Djokovic really have been what they have become? We can doubt it. This doubt is the legacy of Roger Federer. Unbeatable.