Analysis: Let Nadal vs. Federer vs. Djokovic GOAT debate go

Now that the 2020 Grand Slam season is over and Rafael Nadal is linked to Roger Federer at 20 major championships, most for a man in tennis history, followed by Novak Djokovic at 17, some might be tempted to start the conversation about that what it is to get going again "Greatest Ever."
The truth is everyone should just let go of this GOAT debate.
Trying to reach a consensus decision is silly - especially now that the Big Three are still active - and, more specifically, unnecessary.
Why insist on choosing one when we should all cherish, admire, and nurture it?
Two weeks before Nadal beat Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 on Sunday to take a 13th trophy at the French Open and catch Federer in the slam rating, Serena Williams was asked to explain the importance of one to evaluate such performance.
Williams owns 23 major individual trophies, most of all in the professional era and the second largest from Margaret Court.
"You can't compare two people who are equally good. Roger - I mean, he's Roger Federer. I think that says enough. You know, it's like I don't understand why people want to pit. "Who is this? Who is this? “Both have spectacular careers that 99% of people can only dream of. ... They absolutely deserve every single loan and thing they get, ”Williams said. "I'm a huge fan of both, to be honest."
There's nothing wrong with that.
There is also nothing wrong with picking one to cheer on and like the best. This is what fandom is all about.
Those facing Federer, Nadal or Djokovic can build a case.
"I'm a man of numbers," said Ivan Lendl, who won eight slam titles from 1984 to 1990. “And for me, the guy who wins the most majors is probably considered the best ever. Who is it right now? ... It is still undecided. "
Nadal has his 20, at least one in every slam and at least one in each of the three decades, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s; His 13 at Roland Garros are more than anyone who has won a tournament. he leads Federer 24-16 head to head; He leads Djokovic 5: 4 in the Grand Slam final.
Federer has his 20 and one career slam; He holds the record at number 1 on the ATP rankings for most weeks. His tour title totals (103) and match wins (1,242) are the highest in the group.
Djokovic's 17 main titles make him the only other man over 14 and, like his rivals, he owns a career slam and like Nadal has won one in three decades. He leads the head-to-head series with Nadal (29-27) and Federer (27-23). He has won the most Masters 1000 and has done so twice in every event while no one else at that level has a title from everyone. in weeks he wins Federer in first place.
Their skills, styles and personalities offer something for everyone.
“They all play differently. They all love their different surfaces, different conditions. Novak is obviously still within reach for the slam count, ”said American professional Jack Sock. "You can't really put a finger on a guy. ... They're all GOATS in their own way."
Federer's serve and net play are outstanding. He was best on Wimbledon's grass.
Nada's left forehand and court reports stand out; He was the best on the red sands of the French Open.
Djokovic's return and backhand stand out; He was the best on the hard courts at the Australian Open.
"These three guys have shown throughout their careers what great champions they are no matter the conditions, the atmosphere or nothing," said Marin Cilic, winner of the 2014 US Open. "They are able to keep things going and trouble overcome what is a great virtue of champions. "
Of course, there are other questions tennis fans should think about in 2021:
- Can Williams, 39, stay healthy enough to continue fighting for Slam success?
- Which of the youngest main champions among young women - Iga Swiatek, 19; Bianca Andreescu, 20; Sofia Kenin, 21; Naomi Osaka, 22; Ash Barty, 24 - will come out on top?
- Can the 27-year-old US Open champion Dominic Thiem continue to part with the aspiring men?
- Will someone else - Daniil Medvedev, 24; Alexander Zverev, 23; Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22; Andrey Rublev, 22; Denis Shapovalov, 21; Casper Ruud, 21; Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20; Jannik Sinner, 19 - be the next to break through?
There is nothing wrong with continuing to focus on the big three, however.
No way of knowing how long Federer - 39 and after two knee operations that got him out of the way for the US Open and French Open - Nadal (34) and Djokovic (33) will face each other and use their special talents for their sport greatest stages.
Be thankful for everything we get the rest of the way. Seems safe to say that nothing like it will ever happen again.
Howard Fendrich reports on tennis for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at or write to him at
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