The Debate Over Men’s Tennis GOAT Appears to be Settled as Djokovic’s Dominance Continues
By Kevin Palmer | November 18, 2023
The debate over who will end this golden era of men’s tennis with the most titles appears to be over, with Novak Djokovic’s relentless winning form ensuring he will finish ahead of his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
While some argue that statistics alone cannot settle the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate, Federer’s enduring popularity and his success in elevating the game to new heights have earned him support in the discussion over who is the greatest.
Meanwhile, Nadal’s remarkable 14 wins at the French Open stand as one of the greatest achievements in sport. Despite a year on the sidelines due to injury, the Spaniard still poses a threat and is expected to make a comeback soon.
Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, now working as coach to world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, has shed light on why Djokovic has solidified his legacy as the greatest player of all time. Ferrero echoed Nadal’s views, suggesting that Djokovic’s desire to rewrite the history books has been a key factor in his sustained success.
“With Djokovic’s numbers, there is no debate,” Ferrero told Marca when asked about the GOAT debate. “You may prefer Rafa or Federer’s style, but in terms of numbers, Novak is the best in history.
“I’m not surprised. He is a player who lives and breathes tennis, always striving to achieve results at the highest level. Everything he does, from his diet to his rest, is geared towards physical perfection.”
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“To excel in something, you have to dedicate a significant amount of time,” Ferrero continued. “In today’s world, it is challenging to balance personal life, training, and professionalism while dedicating just enough to tennis. Djokovic excels in finding that balance.”
Ferrero also shared his thoughts on Nadal’s imminent comeback. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is set to return to the court in 2024, although he has downplayed expectations by stating that he is back in tennis to “have some fun.” However, Ferrero believes that Nadal’s competitive nature will drive him to seek more success once he gets back into the swing of things.
“He will surely return with a burning desire to compete because he has a competitive animal inside him,” added Ferrero. “It’s understandable that he doesn’t see himself currently competing against Djokovic or the best players, given his long absence from the game. Starting again is always challenging.
“However, once he is back on track, his mentality of competing at his best will not waver. In the 2022 Australian Open, it was thought that he had fewer chances, but he defied the odds and emerged victorious in both tournaments.
“Those who are truly exceptional always find a way to stand out from the rest, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nadal back at the highest level. The duration? It depends on his physical condition, but I don’t think he’ll be satisfied with just winning a couple of matches.”
Nadal has confirmed his readiness to return to action in 2024, and his team is expected to announce his comeback event soon.