tennis

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal: Who's the greatest of them all?

18 Comments
By Dave JAMES

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In my opinion, this obsession with who is the goat is quite moronic. All three are great, have three different and exciting styles of play, and we are lucky to be contemporary to their great battles. Achievements-wise, Djoko will probably surpass Federer and Nadal, but that's just one dimension of "greatness".

Comparing with other generations is also pointless, tennis was much different 50 years ago, and competition was also different.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Always the one with the most wins.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Djokovic. Federer was able to beat him regularly, when younger. Federer will be 40 in August.

Djokovic has profited by being younger than Nadal & Federer. Nadal has pushed his body to extremes and plays such a physical game he is older than his years and well past his prime.

Being dubbed the greatest, in tennis, is not simply a matter of total Grand Slam wins - it is the measure of a career and performance during peak years. Nadal is the greatest ever on clay. Federer, the greatest all round player and played an elegant game with feats of athleticism executed with ease & grace.

Within this year or next, the young Turks will begin to take Djokovic down. Djokovic happens to be operating at time when the two greatest players are well into their twilight and the young talents are just that, but on the rise. Though a great tennis player, he has been gifted with a period when the competition is reduced. A prime Federer, reigns supreme to all but his genuine rival, Nadal.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Djokovic

Federer

Nadal

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I know one thing - Djokovic is the greatest Covidiot of them all.

He will end up with more wins than the other champions, no dispute about that, but he will never be loved and respected as Fed and Rafa are.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Richard Gallagher: Djokovic has profited by being younger than Nadal & Federer

This is probably true regarding the head-to-head record among the Big Three, but it does not tell the whole story.

When Fed and Nadal were younger and (more) dominant, they really only had each other as competition. For much of their period of greatness, the rest of the field was quite weak. Who else was going to challenge them - Nishikori? Tsonga? Berdych? Cilic? Those were the names at the top of the rankings behind Roger/Rafa during much of reign. Not very impressive. Murray/del Potro/Wawrinka would've made the field more formidable had they been healthier.

On the other hand, Djokovic (being younger) has more directly had to deal with the rising stars of the Next Gen group - Thiem, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Zverev, etc. That's much stiffer competition than what Fed/Nadal had to deal with in their primes. And Djokovic is still winning Slams regularly despite the higher-level competition.

That's not to minimize the accomplishments of Rafa and Federer - they would've been great regardless of the competition. But I believe it is incorrect to say that Djokovic's (projected) better career numbers are due to his being younger.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Richard Gallagher: Being dubbed the greatest, in tennis, is not simply a matter of total Grand Slam wins

I completely agree, yet I often see the media pushing this angle. During every Slam, every article and TV broadcast loves to mention who's winning or trailing in the career Slam race. As @Richard Gallagher said, it's just one piece to the puzzle.

For example, we can talk about Masters 1000 events. Djokovic is the only player in history to have won all of them. And he's won all of them twice. (This proves a point about Djokovic vs. his contemporaries, but not about comparing players from past eras, as the Masters series is a fairly modern creation).

Djokovic is also the only player among the Big Three to have held all four Slam titles at the same time. That's a monumental achievement.

And as was mentioned before, Djokovic does hold the edge in head-to-head vs. both Federer and Nadal, but their respective ages do skew that statistic a bit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've always liked Federer, a tremendous champion and what a class act of a guy. Nadal also an absolute stud and for the most part a class act, Djokovic on the other hand, is a faker who can't control his emotions and while trying his best to hide it, arrogant. One of the all time great tennis players no doubt and probably going to surpass the other two in grand slams eventually but as far as having class and being a role model for the game, I'll take Federer or Nadal any day. I'll take Conners over McEnroe too.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Federer 2. Djokovic 3. Nadal, but there's still time for this to change as they are all still playing at an elite level.
-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Heart says Federer

Mind says Djokovic

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My comment is Nadal, is the best clay court player of all time. Who can really say who's the best tennis player of all time?

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It'll be either Nadal or Djokovic by career's end.Both Nadal and Djo have beaten Fed in a final on grass,his favorite surface.Fed has not been able to return the favor on clay to Nadal.Plus in head to heads,including Grand Slams,both of them have winning records over Fed.There you have it. But if you like one player more than another,your vision will be tinted.My favorite male player is John McEnroe.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Great guys. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer bring joy to lovers of tennis worldwide. May the trio go on and on. Reports say the three legendary tennis stars have several platforms and ways of serving needy fellow human beings through their works of charity and kindness.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a tennis player I enjoy and understand the priviledge we have by watching any of them playing. Currently Novak seems to have the edge over the other two, but he doesn't have Federer's classic tennis elegance or Nadal's extreme force. That being said I think Novak has the best balance of skills and is the best overall.

Oh - and mentally Novak is by far the better player - he has this amazing ability to turn adversity to his advantage - something very Balkanic (East European) about that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Federer is the first GOAT but he helped make Nadal and Djokovic become greats too. All three of them pushed one other to reach new levels. For all round greatness, it looks like it will be Djokovic (at least until the next GOAT comes along!).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't find Federer to be the GOAT as of a large chunk of his wins were before the other two matured, and he faced little opposition then.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He will not win another 25 titles. Nor will he win Wimbledon. Let alone the Grand Slam. There are young players, more than capable of defeating Djokovic. Next year, he will be 35 and it will show, injuries and stamina will begin to wreak havoc.

The three top dogs, at their best, Djokovic is third and not close to second, let alone first.

Federer is going to be 40 years old and still a threat.

Only one year separates Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal, however has punished his body with his athletic, full tilt play and sustained numerous injuries. He is, aged beyond his years. But still pushes his body beyond its bounds.

Djokovic is operating in a gap between two players well into their twilight & on the cusp of retirement and the young talented players who are nowhere near maturity. This is Djokovic's final big year. Next year, there are players who will grind him down. Federer destroying Djokovic:

https://youtu.be/eDszwSMbeh8?t=14

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

As a former top amateur/college tennis player, I would say Djokovic is the more complete player compared to Nadal and Federer.

To put in perspective, if the 3 of them played each on clay, grass and asphalt an equal number of times, Djokovic would have a better record than Nadal and Federer; meaning, he would beat them more than they would beat him.

And Federer would top Nadal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

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