Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have changed the history of tennis. They have created a small world of their own in the sea of players who have constantly been trying to end their dominance over the last couple of decades. With only several players to have managed to win some majors while all three features, we can’t really compare anyone to them.
Tennis had been played before these three likes were born, but the numbers posted by the dominant players in the past are nowhere near the numbers of the current trio. The fact they have achieved so much while constantly having to compete with each other in the finals makes their careers even more impressive.
Nadal, Federer, & Djokovic versus predecessors
Just for the context, NewJerseySafeBetting.com have collected the numbers of Grand Slam titles to see where the current leading trio stands when compared to the earlier players. Grand Slams are the biggest tournaments the sport has to offer which is why these numbers are likely going to be the most relevant in the “GOAT” discussion.
Rafael Nadal claimed his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open 2022. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have won 20 each. The Serbian has a much bigger chance to add more majors to this tally. Now, next up is Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam titles. The list then includes Roy Emerson (12), Rod Laver (11), Bjorn Borg (11), Bill Tilden (10), Fred Perry (8), Ken Rosewall (8), Jimmy Connors (8), Ivan Lendl (8), Ivan Lendl (8), Andre Agassi (8), etc.
You can easily notice the difference, meaning there are only three men who can earn the privilege of entering the “Greatest of All Time” discussion. What does separate them from one another, though? Stay tuned and enjoy the article.
Novak Djokovic is such an interesting character. He is so simple, yet one of the most complex players on the tour. Novak has a unique background. Unlike his main rivals, Djokovic was born and raised in a war-torn country. His childhood and everything he had gone through it has definitely made him so tough and mentally strong in the decisive moments. When it comes to mental strength, there is nobody capable of beating Novak. When you are against a match point and your life depends on whether you’ll save it, who is the player you’d rely on? The answer is Novak.
If we are to look at things by statistics and numbers only, Novak Djokovic is already the best player in tennis history. The Serb has spent most weeks as the World No 1 (and by quite a distance), he has a better head to head record than both Federer and Nadal, he has become the first man to win all Grand Slams multiple times, he has won the most Masters 1000 titles, etc. There is just one piece missing in the puzzle, Grand Slam titles. Nadal currently has one more than him. If Djokovic finds a way to surpass him, we will really not need to call this a discussion anymore.
Roger Federer has been the face of the sport for quite some time after emerging on the big scene and ending the dominance of big servers in the 1990s. He earned enormous popularity across the globe thanks to his unique playing style. Nobody has ever played tennis as beautiful as Federer, and nobody probably will.
This is why Roger has to be in the “Goat” conversations although the numbers do not speak in his favor. He has the least chance of clinching another Grand Slam trophy of the three men remaining in the battle and Novak Djokovic has already taken all of his previous records down. However, some people will argue that “how you have won something” matters more than “how many times you have won it”. For them, Federer will always be the No 1.
Rafael Nadal is a perfect blend of his two main rivals. Rafa has always been less popular than Federer, but people love him much more than Djokovic. Also, the Spaniard has much better numbers than Federer (including the H2H record), but is worse than Novak in so many parameters). Nevertheless, he currently stands alone as the man with the most Grand Slam titles in the history of the game after winning 2022 Australian Open following an amazing comeback in the final against Daniil Medvedev.
Rafa has now won all Grand Slams are least twice, such as Djokovic. More than half of his majors’ trophies have come at Roland Garros where he has won as many as 13 titles. Since the general consensus is that the number of Grand Slam titles plays the biggest part in determining the “Greatest Player of All Time”, we have to give a slight advantage to Nadal over his main two rivals. However, Federer will always be synonymous with tennis, while Djokovic is yet to say his final word in this battle.