Rod Laver: Novak Djokovic And Roger Federer Are Equals In The GOAT Debate
by Tom Gainey | May 5th, 2016, 9:19 am
  • 169 Comments

In an interview with ESPN.com, Rod Laver already puts Novak Djokovic on equal footing to Roger Federer in the GOAT debate.

“I don’t think you put one of those two above the other when you look at their performances,” Laver said. “You know what Roger’s record is. But the way that Djokovic has been playing over the last year or so, I would say that Djokovic and Federer are equals.

“When you look at Djokovic’s performances and his results, you just have to say, ‘Hey, this guy’s unbelievable, and how can you look past him when discussing who is the best ever?’”

Djokovic is still missing the French Open and he’s also six behind Federer’s all-time mark of 17 Grand Slam titles, but the Australian great is swayed by how dominant Djokovic has been in recent years.

Laver did add that he thought Federer could still add to his Slam title count. “If he’s going to win another Grand Slam, his best chance is at Wimbledon,” Laver said. “The tournament inspires him a tremendous amount. He can also play well at the US Open. It’s definitely possible he can win another one.”


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169 Comments for Rod Laver: Novak Djokovic And Roger Federer Are Equals In The GOAT Debate

MMT Says:

Nadal and Sampras – who cares about them.


Howard Says:

This is called the bias of present-ism. Djokovic definitely deserves to be in the discussion, and may some day rank as consensus GOAT. But Laver’s means of analysis is deeply flawed. Going by a year or so’s performance, plus a haul of Slams that places a player in the middle-to-upper ranks in Slam wins, Borg would have an equal argument. Nadal not so long ago during his great run would too.


lakie Says:

Agree with Howard about bias of present-ism. In many talent contests there is a distinct advantage enjoyed by those who perform toward the end. One of my talented friends participating in a music contest whose item was scheduled in the middle sent a message to the organizers that her car had a flat and could she be given the last slot. The organizers agreed and she came at the end and won the contest. Later she confided in me that her car was ok but she wanted the benefit of present-ism.


George Says:

I remember when people were discussing Federer as GOAT prior to him getting to 14. I don’t remember that anyone mentioned present-ism or “recency bias” then?

For me, Federer can’t be GOAT due to 11:23. My personal criteria is that GOAT should win 40% or more matches against anyone he played more than 20 times.


gee Says:

Borg didn’t dominate at the U.S. Open & skipped the Australian.
Laver certainly is way better & wiser than phony overrated Fed.
Laver didn’t lose to people 5-6 years younger & then declare himself
worn out & aged at age 34.
Laver didn’t lose 2 match points against Nadal & Djoker.
He didn’t struggle badly against Roddick at Masters Cup, Miami & Wimbledon.
He watched Fed’s so-called opponent
fat lazy thug Roddick vomit & lose at home after holding match point to Pavel at Davis Cup.

Don’t even try to inflate Fed’s talent level after he pretended to
dominate tennis allergic muppets who bended over for him to
make themselves look great.
Fed couldn’t beat Tsonga from 5-1 & 2 set lead advantages.
He declared war on Canas because he lost to him twice.
barely scratched by clay warriors Ramirez-Hidalgo & Volandri.
rule breaking clown Roddick & injured, limited players like Nalbandian, Hewitt & Safin.


skeezer Says:

@11:48
you have set your own parameters in your own box, thus the outcome. Visit Feds wiki. I think Nole will/can be GOAT, but the span of his career is nowhere near complete like Feds. ….yet. Time will tell. I took Lavers comments as this is the way Nole is playing NOW. And what he said about now, I do not disagree.


Green Lady Says:

Seems everybody has an different opinion, some say Roger, some say Rafa, some say Laver himself, some say Novak, IMO its too difficult to determine, as theres too many different caveats to the topic, some say GS, some say other titles, weeks at no 1, Masters, H2Hs, wins on tour like Conners, career titles again like Conners etc etc ???? who knows, a tennis topic that will never go away, long live the GOAT debate, if in fact you care about it?, for me i have always enjoyed the idea that theres a number of greats rather than one GOAT, with their own different areas of greatness, but thats just me, and my two cents, for what its worth ….


Dave Says:

Skeezer,

That’s exactly how I took them. Nice point.


jane Says:

super kind of laver to say: i am glad to see novak getting some respect for his accomplishments.


MMT Says:

skeezer Says: “I took Lavers comments as this is the way Nole is playing NOW. And what he said about now, I do not disagree.”

If that is indeed what he meant, I would agree with him…and you.

I’m just not so sure that’s what he meant.


Okiegal Says:

The GOAT rears it’s ugly head again…..again and again… Maybe Novak will be the real goat, after all his head to head against Rafa is better than Fed’s……should that be the determining factor……but imho….the GOAT issue should be put to rest. Great players in all eras of tennis.


Green Lady Says:

Okie right on sister ;-)) …., as i said too many different caveats anyway, so the whole thing makes no sense ….


George Says:

@Okiegal: GOAT was celebrated by media and many fans while Federer (and sometimes Nadal) was considered to be undisputed GOAT. It would be unfair to stop such discussions now when Djokovic started making grounds.


Margot Says:

If only GOAThood was based purely on number of slams, but alas it isn’t.
And if only it could be postponed till after Nole/Rafa/Fed retire, but alas it seems it can’t.


jalep Says:

hahahaha my sentiments exactly, Margot! Useless topic.
One can completely miss a lot of tennis over the GOAT obsession.


elina Says:

Just one more ex great realizing that roger is not the undisputed GO4T.

It’s the normal way of progression as the game continues to evolve and improve.

One less for The Protector to rely upon.


elina Says:

Fed fans trying to reinterpret Laver’s “true ” meaning is to be expected.

He said in the great debate you can’t put Roger ahead of Novak.

Nothing more. Nothing less from the former great that once put roger above them all.


FedExpress Says:

from which dealer u get ur stuff mate? its deep shiit.


skeezer Says:

This is what I think Laver meant he said. He said it.


jane Says:

agree that GOAT is a whirligig debate that never ends. for me, i was just glad to hear rocket rod speak so highly of novak. :)

as for the real GOAT debaters, here’s more fuel for your fires ;)

https://thetennisbase.com/?enlace=rankings&accion=allTimeTM


MMT Says:

Agree with George: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the GOAT debate – put your reasoning out there and the only most logical should survive. It shouldn’t matter who is currently the best player in the world.

And to say the GOAT debate is useless can be extended to the #1 ranking, and the Wimbledon champion: they are all limited evaluations of who is the best, because sports are discrete competitions with discrete results – no evaluation in tennis takes into consideration ALL variations – that’s absurd.

By this logic, it wouldn’t be fair to consider someone who played all the matches on Stadium Court and against players with 1-handed backhands from Europe the US Open Champion because nobody else had to follow exact same path. It’s just a cop out.

If Djokovic passes Federer in majors, he will be unequivocally the greatest of all time. The same for Nadal, and that kid in Timbuktu who just picked up a racquet. Laver was great at tennis, but the reasoning of his latest statement is murky, unsound and capricious. It doesn’t take anything away from his career and his accomplishments, but an objective analysis of his statement should not take his greatness as a player into consideration.


elina Says:

Not true MMT.

If that was the case, Agassi and Laver would consider roger to be the unequivocal G04T.


Okiegal Says:

@George 1:17…..Whatever….I don’t care who is making ground…I think the goat debate is absurd! I did not intend to pick on Novak…..I was against Goat issue when Rafa was number one in the world……


Okiegal Says:

@George 1:17…..Whatever….I don’t care who is making ground…I think the goat debate is absurd! I did not intend to pick on Novak…..I was against Goat issue when Rafa was number one in the world……


Okiegal Says:

Oops sorry for dubs!!! Lol (tennis lingo)


J-Kath Says:

I’ve never seen a field or small-holding with only one Goat in it. So I keep wondering why there must be only one. Apologies for being so simple-minded….I was born like that.


jane Says:

j-kath, for sure: and why should number of slams be the “end-all” decider too? we can go on and on about it. especially considering that a lot of players didn’t even used to play 4 slams a year, so naturally they have less slams.


J-Kath Says:

Right on Jane.


Wog Boy Says:

For me there is one problem with the GOAT and that is, you are suppose to be better player than your main rivals and your tennis is suppose to be best ever tennis.

Now, if you ask question is Roger better than Rafa, what you will have as an answer?
Or if you ask question, was his tennis at his peak the best ever seen tennis, what you will have as an answer?

Everything depends who do you ask , but I know my answer on both question would be NO.

But, if you say who is the most successful player of all time when you put all numbers together, the answer (mine) is Roger.


BBB Says:

MMT – there’s a mathematical formula for determining #1. There isn’t for GOAT. As such, the debate can’t be resolved. I find it to be increasingly tedious, to be honest.


chrisford1 Says:

Howard – “This is called the bias of present-ism. Djokovic definitely deserves to be in the discussion, and may some day rank as consensus GOAT. But Laver’s means of analysis is deeply flawed.”
=================
Rod is a great champion, bright, and liked just about everywhere…thought well worth naming the AO stadium for. His analysis is essentially that Djokovic is the best player he has ever seen.
So rather than only seeing in the present, Laver can haul up 60 years of seeing ALL the top players in his sport, know how good they were from playing them personally or observing those after he left active player status. Observe the skill set, the champions way, account for training and equipment improvements. And from that Djoker arises. And that is no diss on Rafa, Mac, Pete, Rod himself, Borg, Connors, Fed..Lendl, or Andy for that matter.
Rod is not alone, who talks aside from the present of the past and future, he is joined by the likes of Navratilova, who said back in 2007 that she had no interest in coaching but if the young talent Djokovic wanted a decrepit female, she would really have to think about it. “I see no limit to his potential. it would be amazing to coach someone like that, no weaknesses and a drive to improve. Rafael and Roger will have their work cut out for them soon..”

* I believe in the same interview, Laver said if Djovokic wins France and is the 1st 4-o in Slam trophies, it would help his case. If he got 6 Slams in a row and a calendar year Slam, Laver said few would not say Novak is GOAT.


Jun Says:

I don’t agree with Mr. Laver on this goat topic, but I do respect his opinion, which by the way carries just a little bit more weight than my own. Apparently, he values quality as much as quantity.

I love it! Thank you, Mr. Laver!


Ron Smith Says:

Sampras not mentioned?? I think He would have won about 5 more majors had he known anyone would have threatened his record so quickly….not to mention that he got complacent for a few years there when Rios became 1 for a few weeks. On another note, Djoker pissed away about 5 years early on in his career which shows just how dominant he has been recently. Since 2011 he’s been so dominant.


MMT Says:

BBB: The formula for #1 has more variability in it than the winner of a single tournament but nobody questions it’s validity based on variability of conditions. It is a poor argument against the possibility of a GOAT because it is selectively applied to the GOAT question, and not other measures of competition.

elina: Agassi put Nadal ahead of Federer because of his head to head record but where is he now to do the same for Djokovic? His exclamation was equally shortsighted as Laver’s, which was poorly explained and has no clear reasoning behind it. And conveniently jump-roped his own main rival Sampras…without explanation.

They are great players, but they get asked a lot of questions and some of their answers don’t make a lot of sense. Ask them how to hit a forehand or win a tournament and I’m all ears. But their analysis of the GOAT question leaves much to be desired.


MMT Says:

There is some validity to the concern about era where not all players played all majors, but that doesn’t apply to “modern” players. This also doesn’t consider the toll taken on one’s career by playing a fourth major (halfway around the world in Australia), and assumes that had some of these players would necessarily have won more, but these are all assumptions – and I can argue that they are poor ones.

The GOAT debate is least sensical when dealing with assumptions like these – it is most sensical when considering what is known: actual results.


Matt Says:

Agree, Ron Smith. Tough time discounting Pete in the discussion. Huge game, numbers, etc.

Impossible to determine GOAT, but I think Roger often gets the nod, even from former greats, because of his consistency and success on ALL surfaces. Not to sound repetitive, but could be argued he’s one of the best clay courters of all time.

Either way, dominance on HC and grass is going to carry a lot of weight, naturally. Obviously.


Matt Says:

Wog Boy,

I would say that Rafa’s near incompetence on other surfaces through-out much of his career (while Roger was dominating said other surfaces) pretty much undermines that thought experiment.

Roger loses to Rafa on spring clay and at RO, but Spaniard is no where to be found (for the most part) in other tournaments?

It’s a flawed argument, the H2H


Wog Boy Says:

Matt,

I know, Rafa avoided longer stretches of HC season few times, so yes, you are right there, but still Roger lost to Rafa on grass and HC , and very important matches too. So if we are watching tennis as boxing, or as sport where we have one on one competition Roger is inferior to Rafa, mentally, physically and game (plan) wise. Even if you take clay away Rafa is 9:6 on HC, and he was ahead on that account too from the very firs match on HC in Miami 2004. So if Roger was better player on HC you would expect him to be ahead , at least with young Rafa, but he wasn’t, he was always doing catch up on HC until Rafa finally pulled away from Roger in that department too. The only plays Roger is ahead, just, is grass 2:1 (?).
I am neither Roger nor Rafa fan.


Wog Boy Says:

Even those 6 HC wins against Rafa are very deceiving if you don’t know that 5 of them were indoor (4 WTF, 1 Basel), so yes, Roger was pretty inferior player on every surface, but grass and indoor, I mean only one HC win on outdoor HC doesn’t really make him very competitive, does it?


Matt Says:

I hear you.

But what’s very troubling for me here is that Roger made so many finals, sf, etc., where Rafa wasn’t around. We could suspect that if Nadal makes those deep runs he beats Roger H2H, but Roger always made the finals or there abouts. Think of WB and USO. Roger consistently making and winning those finals with Rafa out in early to mid rounds resonates. Maybe that’s just me. I can’t overlook that.

The numbers are pretty telling.

But I can’t deny the H2H, for whatever it’s worth. Some pretty unbelievable mental collapses or whatever you want to call it.


Matt Says:

Nit-picking the H2H is pointless. Nadal is not in the class of Roger, Pete, nor Novak.

That’s the eye test and then some.

No WTF is a very interesting stat.


Okiegal Says:

@Wog Boy 10:50…..Thanks for your response to Matt….I was gonna say to him that I don’t believe Rafa is that incompetent on HC…You took of that for me….that was very nice of you because you aren’t a fan of Rafa which made your comment even more meaningful!


LaversRep Says:

Here’s what Mr. Laver meant: If Novak and Fed stopped playing right now, both are equal GOATs. He also wanted to say but didn’t get the time to say this that if Novak continues to play like the way he is playing for the next one year, he would’ve surpassed Fed. Further, he wanted to say that Novak doesn’t have to win 17 slams to be considered GOAT. In the end, I would like to remind everyone that Rod Laver is the final authority when it comes to determining who is the GOAT and who isn’t.

Laver out *Mic drop*.


Okiegal Says:

^^^^^took care of that for me…..


Matt Says:

LaversRep,
Well done.

I like thinking of a particular player’s best year, best career form and projecting the comparisons.
FWIW, what do Richard Krajicek and Roger Federer have in common? The two who prevented Pete from winning 9 WB in a row. Pretty much unreal.


lakie Says:

These arguments are truly hilarious. Seriously, Fed inferior to Djokovic??? Fed in his prime never even considered Djokovic as a rival.


Daniel Says:

We can do a reverse thought and ask who can’t be GOAT and add the whys, the one with few asteroid ones and is the GOAT?!

1 – Federer can’t be GOAT because:
- HxH with Nadal
- No Olympics Gold single (although he has double gold and single silver, 2 medals)
- Second Year End #1 record holder (5 to Sampras 6)
- Not Masters Record Holder (third at 24)

2 – Sampras can’t be GOAT
- No RG (not even a final)
- Tied Second Slam holder (14 to Fed 17)
- Second #1 weeks holder (285)
- Less WTF than Roger
- Not significant Masters
- No Oympics

3 – Nadal can’t be GOAT
- Tied Second Slam Record holder (14 to Fed 17)
- No WTF
- Not even top 5 total weeks as #1
- Not even top 5 Year End #1
- Inferior HxH to Djokovic

4 – Djoko can’t be GOAT
- Not Slam record Holder (11)
- No RG
- Not even top 5 #1 weeks holder as of now
- Not Year End #1 record holder (one more to enter top 3)
- No Olympics gold

5 – Borg
- Not Slam record holder (11)
- Slam in 2 events
- Not significant Masters
- No Olympics
- Not top 3 Year end #1
- Not top 3 total weeks as #1

Of this 5, the one with fewer “gaps” or in top 3 in other major categories is Federer, hence by elimination he is the GOAT, because neither of the other 4 of the Open Era can be GOAT compared to him, their resume is more flawed than his, pretty simple actually, either you go by achievement or by lack of achievement. The one you can numbered more achievement and less lack is the GOAT.

Djoko and Nadal can still improve their numbers, specially Djoko (as current #1 and winner of last three Slams) with Slams and Weeks as #1. That’s where Laver is going.

Djoko is already better than Nadal in everything apart from total Slams, once he reaches 14 (if Nadal doesn’t add anymore) Nadal will be out of the picture, because how can he even be consider GOAT if there is 2 other players with better numbers than him in everything with him only having HxH versus 1 to his side? Actually Djoko doesn’t even need to reach 14, if he reaches 12 with RG 4 in a row or 13 having RG in there he will be better already with his other achievements.


Wog Boy Says:

Okie,
Thanks for shouting drinks last night, I thoroughly enjoyed them.


Daniel Says:

^^should be “Few asterisk”, instead of asteroids, damn corrector kkk


jalep Says:

hahaha asteroids…😂 on my phone it might have come out – the one with the least hemorrhoids…


Okiegal Says:

@Wog 11:34…..I knew I could count on you! 🍷


chrisford1 Says:

I think the following 2 guys have it wrong on Nadal:

[Matt - "Nit-picking the H2H is pointless. Nadal is not in the class of Roger, Pete, nor Novak. That’s the eye test and then some. No WTF is a very interesting stat."]

[Daniel - "Djoko is already better than Nadal in everything apart from total Slams, once he reaches 14 (if Nadal doesn’t add anymore) Nadal will be out of the picture, because how can he even be consider GOAT if there is 2 other players with better numbers than him in everything with him only having HxH versus 1 to his side?"]

For starters, Djokovic and everyone else except Federer who was asked “who is the toughest you ever played?”, it was Nadal., they all said. Anyone with eyes can see that Nole v 2.0 was built on Rafa as the prime contributor, he inspired Djokovic the most. Get Nadal’s heart, mental strength , conditioning level or just close to what Rafa had, after the allergy issues were resolved, Novak reasoned, would make himself tough to beat. At the end of 2010, people saw a dominant, peak Rafa charging at Fed’s “Slamcount” record. He owned Fed at that point and everyone else. Then Djokovic stopped him cold when Rafa was still playing at 2010 level in
2011. The only reason Nadal is not considered GOAT now.

But Rafa is iconic, larger than life, an inspiration to future players like Borg, like Michael Jordan in another sport. And the undisputed best clay court player ever. For amateurs Rafa stands for never quitting, and being proof you can be a totally fierce competitor and still a very nice and humble person off the field of play.


lakie Says:

Daniel’s argument is quite good. Actually I do not think the GOAT argument can be settled based on any parameters as the biggest problem is that there is no absolute measure of excellence. But intuitively if I had to crown somebody as the goat it would be Federer. And , no, I am NOT a Fed fan. I have just watched tennis for years and truly no one has seemed more like a GOAT than Fed. But for one player ( Nadal), nobody else could trouble Fed during his prime. Later commentators have tried to discount his achievements by labeling his best years as “weak era” but while this so-called weak era was going on, no one thought it was weak. Everybody was busy rubbing their eyes in disbelief at the display of genius of Federer. In case of Djokovic’s domination in 2015, it felt like a weak era while it was going on. I certainly did not feel Djokovic had suddenly improved by leaps and bounds but rather that his chief rivals were coming back from injury/ were not in their prime. Again I repeat I am not a Fed fan.


Wog Boy Says:

Daniel,

I am having what you are having…I mean, it must be good stuff if you can asteroids..


Wog Boy Says:

” Fed in his prime never even considered Djokovic as a rival.”
He certanly hasn’t, he considered him “a joke”, but who cares when we have likes of Laver thinking differently and “a joke” is kicking his ass since 2007..


lakie Says:

I don’t think the joke kicked Fed’s ass since 2007. Only since 2014. Upto 2009, Djokovic was a bridesmaid thanks to Federer. Between 2010 and 2013, the aging Fed was gradually losing ground but still was a force. I find it weird that I am defending Fed but it offends my sense of justice to have fans claim Djokovic has surpassed Fed merely because Djokovic can beat an old Federer.


Jun Says:

+1 LaversRep
That’s also my understanding of what Mr. Laver said.


Matt Says:

The fan part really complicates this thing.

WB might technically be right with the ~24-20 since 2007 in favor of Djok, but lakie has a point too with Fed playing until he’s 50 and getting beat-up by these younger blokes.

I still think people overlook Pete when there was so much depth then (I’ve actually heard people say technically that was a weak era). Edberg was very relevant, Becker, Agassi is no joke, Courier would spank a lot of guys today, not to mention your Stichs, and Rafters of the world.

Pete was classic and a true gamer (shining under the big lights).


lakie Says:

It also seems strange that Fed fans are silent. Maybe they know that when the current players have retired and time lends proper perspective then the absurdity of the current arguments putting Djokovic above Fed would be patently obvious. A few years ago, so-called experts were clamoring to crown Nadal, now Djokovic. As another poster pointed out, this is the bias of present-ism.


Wog Boy Says:

Since 20707 Montreal Djokovic and Federer were going evenly in beating each other, check your facts andaccording to Roger himself he was playing his best tennis in 2024/15, but what does he know sbout his own game?


Jun Says:

No way in hell I could have mistaken you for a Fed fan. You’re impartiality just cannot possibly be questioned! ;)


Wog Boy Says:

^^^2014/15


Wog Boy Says:

Jun@12:34am

Still loughing, thanks:))


Matt Says:

Wog Boy, he might be playing in 2024.

Roger, like any great athlete, is delusional. Ask Kobe how good he is. And he’s wrong.

It’s impossible (I had this out with Mat4 several times) for Roger to be at his best 6-7 years past his prime. That’s an argument for one fan base and one fan base only. The body doesn’t do that.
2016 consolidates my point. He’s physically half the man he was. Sorry.


Wog Boy Says:

Matt,

If you look that way (old Federer) than we have to discount Nole’s first four losses to Roger due to being to young, that’s just fair, if you give one benefit of the doubt due to his age, you have to give it to other one too and we are back to square.


Wog Boy Says:

Matt,

You might be right about 2024, you never know with Roger.

I think the great 2014/15 took the tool on his body and we see that in 2016. Maybe he underestimated how old he really was in 2014/15 and now paying the price, he pushed too hard.


Matt Says:

Ha. Sounds fair.

Imagine how poor 2015 would have been if Novak was beating Andy or Ferrer in those finals, ha ha ha. I was happy for Novak to beat a great and add to the pageantry.

Now what? The ATP is a roll of toilet paper.


Michael Says:

It is really unfair to compare Roger and Novak at this point in time when they are so much separated by age. Novak is still only 28 and has atleast three good years of Tennis left in him. While, Roger is well past his prime and is in the twilight of his career.

In terms of Grand Slam numbers, Roger’s record looks phenomenal and Novak still has some catch up to do. Also, Novak is yet to win Rolland Garros to complete the haul of Calendar Grand Slam which Roger has managed to achieve. But in terms of Master Series titles, Novak has gone well ahead of Roger and is still going strong. At the World Tour Finals too, Novak’s number almost equals Roger.

The silver lining for Novak is that he has age with him and another two years of good Tennis, it would be easy for him to overhaul Roger in Grand slam count too. Another area where he goes high above Roger is the way he has dominated his rivals who have been almost made inconsequential and irrelevant thus asserting his supremacy and real Class. Roger on the other hand, we know found it difficult to solve the Rafa puzzle.

In another three years, we will know where Novak really stands and justifiable comparisons can only be made then. At the moment, all we can say is that Novak is right there in that illustrious list of All time Greats which includes Rafa too.


lakie Says:

Djokovic did not make his rivals inconsequential. If Djokovic had met these chief rivals in every important title match and defeated them in 2015, such a conclusion could have been drawn. But Nadal was losing to every Tom, Dick and Harry and Djokovic was not the one who made him inconsequential. Federer was old.If Rafa’s body was not already battered by the earlier years starting in 2005, Djokovic too might have been in Federer’s shoes regarding the Rafa puzzle. Murray is hugely talented but without Lendl plus his surgery and readiness to be distracted, he has rendered himself inconsequential. Djokovic had nothing to do with it.


Green Lady Says:

Rafa isnt in the same class as Roger, Pete, Novak ? because hes never won the WTFs ?, even though he has the career GS, and multiple GS on all surfaces, Novak and Pete dont have that, and havent won the French, but hell yeah whatever works, when it comes to peoples emotional prejudices i suppose ….


lakie Says:

Why are Fed fans keeping quiet?
1) They think time will lend perspective. Yesterday “experts” were claiming Nadal is the GOAT, today Nadal is forgotten and “experts” are claiming Djokovic is the GOAT. Tomorrow Djokovic would be forgotten. But Fed would remain the GOAT standard forever against whom many pretenders would be compared.
2) Many Fed fans jumped on the Djokovic bandwagon in 2011 under the policy of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. They don’t quite know how to react now.
3)They think Djokovic is the GOAT so would rather keep quiet.


Van Persie Says:

Well, Fed fens were not so quiet at the US Open 2015 final
Perhaps they gave their best there…


Van Persie Says:

^^ or some of them


Green Lady Says:

I always found as successful as he was, Samprass brand of tennis quite boring, and left me feeling quite cold, all booming serves, that W final against Goran was one of the most dull finals ive ever seen, Andre wasnt as successful but IMO him and Pat were more exciting to watch ….


Wog Boy Says:

Here is something for lakie, or her another moniker she is using too…or her previous one…or previous previous one…once Roger fan , always Roger fan, even if she says (under different moniker) that she is Nole fan;)

http://metro.co.uk/2016/01/28/why-novak-djokovic-has-overtaken-roger-federer-as-the-greatest-tennis-player-of-all-time-5649557/


Michael Says:

Lakie @ 3.28 AM

But Nadal was losing to every Tom, Dick and Harry and Djokovic was not the one who made him inconsequential

What about 2011, when Rafa lost only to Novak and nobody else in the circuit and Novak beat him what by an unbelievable and amazing streak of 7 consecutive times during that year.

It was Novak who brought about the downfall of Rafa and the slide started in 2011 with the inimitable domination of Novak and the hang over Rafa had over him.

And you have excuses for Andy’s defeat too that he was divested of his Coach, surgery, distraction et al. Will that cut ice !? Definitely not. Period. The truth is that Novak is dominating Andy at his prime.

However, as regards Roger, you have a point when you say he is past his prime. But then it is not Novak’s fault that Roger should be playing at this age without hanging his boots. If you step onto the Court and get beaten, there is just no room for excuses. You have to accept that you have been excelled by a better guy.


Green Lady Says:

Michael how many more times do we need to here about those 7 defeats, its not as if Rafa hasnt beaten Novak since, although granted not since 2013, gets quite irritating been reminded ad nauseum ? ….


Michael Says:

Alison @ 3.52 am,

I would say it is unfair to compare Novak and Pete’s performance at Rolland Garros.

Common, Novak has made 4 semi finals and 3 finals at the Premier Red courts and how can you compare such an incredible performance with Sampras who made just one semi final appearance at the French Open ? Apart from that, Novak has won many Master Series tournaments played on Clay beating the undisputed and inarguably the GREATEST ever player on this surface namely Rafa. And so, he is just poles apart from Sampras and I would only say that he is trifle unlucky in not winning Rolland Garros so far.


Michael Says:

Alison @ 6.26 am,

I was compelled to point that out to Lakie although it was not my intention. The way he undermined Novak’s dominance was certainly not to my liking.


Michael Says:

Alison @ 4.47 am,

You are right. At that time, in the early 1990s, the boom boom serves and volleys which winded up every Game in pretty reflex fashion definitely seemed boring. At that time, like a weave of fresh air, we had Agassi at Wimbledon as a sole exception playing from the back of the court with his brilliant shot making abilities and that was a great attraction then, since his game was unique and exceptional different from the field.

However, now-a-days, with players reluctant to approach net even at Wimbledon and contend in playing from the back of the court, I am yearning for those serve and volleying days of Sampras and Ivanisevic to return to the stage again.

This I would say is something related to human psychology.


Green Lady Says:

Michael you missed the point, i wasnt comparing Pete and Novak, i was merely putting my point across when some said Rafa was crap in comparison to those two players, as for the GOAT debate i dont know and i dont much care to be perfectly honest, i just get irritated when people diminish one players achievements to make them feel better about anothers ….


Michael Says:

Alison @ 6.37 am,

GOAT debate is merely a perceptional battle and nothing else. It is not a title you can confer on anybody. However on Clay, you can clearly tick on Rafa as the GOAT considering his insurmountable achievements.


Jun Says:

Silent?
Mr. Laver may have something to do with it. He is known to have a silencing quality.

Though if you open your eyes and ears and just happen to hear yourself, you would not think there is silence at all. I suggest you take the matter directly with Mr Laver himself. He was the one who said it. Why do we have to suffer for it?


Green Lady Says:

Michael thanks and thats all true, but i still dont think you get it, never mind ….


Daniel Says:

Also, the Slam metric is still the most validy one.

I mean, why Nadal is even considered amongthe greats? Because he has a HxH woth Fed? No. Because he has 9 RG, unprecedent but alone wouldn’t put him in the discussion.

He enter the diacussion because he won all Slams and has 14, tied at second.

I myself still consider Sampras better due to #1 records, but you take 1 Slam out of Nadal (1 less RG wound’t matter as he will still be record holder in Slam with 8) and he is 13. 13 pits him
Behind Sampras.

In the end, we only start getting into the conversation once a player reach a “minimim Slam” count. Once Djokovic became sexond digit after 10 last year, suddenly he reache top 5 GOAT material and now trully has the potential to be “the one”.

But he got get there first. I beleive he has a better case and chance than Nadal.

I always saidon the past, qould Nadla be considere the GOAT if he has 10-11 RG and only 5 of the other Slams? Balance count as well.

Who knows, things can change pretty fast.


Green Lady Says:

He might not be the GOAT, which is fair enough, but 14 GS still make him an all time great, we dont take out surfaces for any other player, so why do we do it when it comes to Nadal, take out the FO, and he would still have 5 GS, good enough for any other player so again why not Nadal, so hes not the GOAT, but still isnt even aloud the luxury now of being regarded as an all time great, right OK then ??….


Green Lady Says:

BTW Im perfectly cool with the idea of Novak surpassing Nadal, records are made to be broken, as Tennis Vagabond said, i just dont get why people become so vitriolic, just a game when alls said and done ….


Giles Says:

Do not understand Daniel’s waffle at 8 07 am. Does it even make any sense?


Dave Says:

I don’t understand why Nadal’s 4 davis cups and singles Gold metal don’t seem to count for anything. Or his 28 masters 1000′s. Everyone on this forum knows that Nole is my favorite player. So when we are talking about WTF’s and Nadal not having any, he has other numbers that Federer doesn’t have to balance things out more. The only thing Rafa has against him that he probably won’t be able to improve on to much, is his weeks at number 1. He will need to somehow overtake Nole, which he might be able to do, but if he does, I think it will be shortlived, like the last time.


Daniel Says:

Giles, GL,

My point is that Total Slam was aleays the main metric and still is. The Career Slam start to cound really big latelly because Federer and Nadal did in in a Spam of 6 majors and Djoko was innpostion to do it a few times.

Nadal is an all time great and is in the diacussion because of his total Slam numbers, which right now stands at 14. Ge was so good on clay that even now he still feels “one dimensional”. He isn’t but his clay resume outshines evrything else.

If he did not have 14 slams (let’s say 12 or 13) he wouldn’t be in the discussion as potentially GOAT, he would sill be with the greats.

But as he is the second record holder of total Slams some consider him tbe best die to his HxH with Federee which is still the most acomploshed player to ve regardes as goat.

Nadal creates this dicotomy towrds Federer but only because he back up his wins with total Slams.

I used his exmaple to valodate MMT’s point which always was Total Slams as the more importabt stat.

Take GL, how many times does she include Nadal’s 14 Slam whenever some putt him down. Because that is what matters in the end.

Nadal’s 14 also overshadow his #1 recorda which is poor and he also is the only top 5 all time great who is yer to win year end final event when all top 8 play. All other players with more than 8 Slams have won it.

Djoko is amassing a complete body of title but he has a lng way to go and say him os GOAt with just 11 Slams is ridiculous when you have at least 3 other with better numbers than him.

The 2 main aspects for Nadal’s case is hos 14 and HxH with Federer (who most consider the GOAT).

Masters is gone now that Djoko is almost cetain to surpass him and Djoko already is getting the upper hand in HxH with Nadal. Once Djoko reaches 14 (if), there will be no argument for Nadal anymore. Unless he wins more majors.


Daniel Says:

Dave, all others have Davis Cup and is a tem efforr, Also Olympics only started couting last 3 editions. It wasn’t ever a metric at all in the past bit nowadys in the body of work for
Modern players it is taken in account.

Actually once Federer burat the scene amd Nadal following and they started winning several different tourneys, the “range” of achievement we evaluate grown biggger. Because they are so complete. As if we are always increase the bar.

But even so, anyway you spin it, Federer has more achievements and less gaps.

Only one Nadal can compensate is win more majors (maybe by doing so) getting back to number 1. Because the only thing for sure Nadal will have when all is said and done is positive HxH with Federer, that won’t change. All other main criteira the other also have or Fed, Smapras are superior or Djoko will be.


MMT Says:

Giles: I think Daniel’s point is in his first sentence: “…the Slam metric is still the most valid[sp] one.” Everything else speaks to this – namely, we don’t even get to the GOAT conversation unless someone has won a lot of majors. My point is, that being the case, why reach around your elbow to scratch your @$$ when you have “majors won”? To me, the argument that “it’s too complicated” is the worst: a perfunctory analysis reveals that almost any measure of competition in tennis is as complicated as the GOAT debate. It’s a selective disqualifier.


Giles Says:

Daniel. Thank goodness you will not be counted when the careers of fed, Rafa and joker are over. Nobody will even consider listening to your biased opinions especially where Nadal is considered as you are a self confessed hater. You can blow your trumpet all you want on Tennis X and make yourself heard. It does not count in the grand scheme of things!
🎺👎


Wog Boy Says:

Who evere follows formula one knows that winning most year end championships doesn’t make you best ever, and actually more often then not you will find out that the man with most titles (Schumacher) is not considered the best ever. It is just opinion and not the fact, same as in tennis and the most annoying thing is when “knowledgeable” people are trying to present their opinion as a fact, on what basis?
Where is The Rule Book for the GOAT?


J-Kath Says:

WogBoy

I’ve got it—but by accident it got used to light the fire…!!!!


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

Ahh, those harsh Scotish winters..


elina Says:

If slam count was the definitive metric, most wouldn’t consider Serena the female GOAT.

Dave, four Davis Cups would only count more if they were won by Roger and not Nadal.

The poster who claimed Nadal was cr@p on anything but clay must have missed his five Wlimbledon finals including a win over Roger on his blessed grass in the best match of all time. Had he not tightened up, Nadal would have won in straights.


J-Kath Says:

WB: U R a clever wee laddie.


RZ Says:

@J-Kath – good one!
@Wog Boy – I should write “The Rule Book for Tennis GOAT” just to see if I could get any sales from the Tennis-X crowd. If nothing else, people could use it to light fires. :-)


Matt Says:

Wow, the beat goes on over here with GOAT debate. We can agree this debate is GOAT in the sport of debate?

All the number crunching and qualifiers get you about to the same place as when one simply “blinks” at it, thinks about the arch of the sport, those who of have dominated.

In the end, the names that will come-up about GOAT will be Federer, Sampras and probably Djokovic with Nadal and Borg getting some love and a few nostalgic votes for Laver. That’s how this generally plays out. Why? Because of majors AND time at #1. That’s what we remember. That’s who’s at the top. That resonates and speaks volumes.

Nadal, for all of his H2H, Masters, GS, etc., has been so inconsistent it’s unreal. He has rarely defended other than at RG. He lacks that critical criterion that those other three have. Borg and Sampras are getting overlooked here.

Who is the best in the sport at their prime? Sampras, Federer and now Djokovic. Nadal has been an enormously successful champion, but he’s not in that same “paragraph” as those other three. Period. The fanaticism doesn’t change that.

And yes there is something to say about surface. You can fight that fight if you want, but that matters.


elina Says:

And that age old one sided comment about Nadal not making it deep in slams to play Roger on other surfaces but clay is some serious wishful revisionism.

Where was Roger when Nadal made finals or better at 2010 Wimbledon, 2011 Wimbledon, 2011 USO and 2013 USO not to mention when Nadal was there to beat Roger at 2012 AO and 2014 AO.

Love the one sided arguments.

And just who are the all time greats that still consider Roger to be the definitive GOAT. Laver was the last wasn’t he? Regardless, that list continues to get smaller and smaller.


Matt Says:

Ha. Where was Roger? That’s ridiculous, elina. What major did Nadal defend other than RG? What’s your point? Nadal is GOAT? People see players consistently dominating and aside from the record books, this absolutely reinforces perception and reality.

You’re saying the all time greats think Djokovic is GOAT or Nadal?

You can do better than that.


elina Says:

Agassi does.

But that wasn’t my point. My point was the one sided arguments of Nadal not being there on surfaces other than clay and the age difference. Both two sided as Roger once had the age advantage.

Seriously Matt I’m not sure you can do better.

Answer my question.


Dave Says:

Elina,

Just to help you out a bit, Nadal is 3 and 0 against Federer at the Australian Open (hard court) And Elina don’t forget, where was Federer in the 2010 U.S. Open Final?


elina Says:

Exactly Dave. All good points comveniently ignored.

As a matter of fact, Nadal has won last five slam meetings between the two on all three surfaces.

Roger hasn’t beaten Nadal in a slam since Nadal had just turned 21!!!


Dave Says:

It seems like the debate is going to get even more debatable in the next month, because most likely either Nadal or Djokovic will be adding another major to their career total. Unless Stan or Andy spoil the party.


elina Says:

The same “logic” tries to equate a 25-23 record to a 23-11 as equally “dominant”.

That’s some serious rounding going on.


Dave Says:

Ya, It’s not even close. That 25-23 also has a major flaw in it which doesn’t really give Nole the upper hand. What is Nole’s record against Nadal in majors? Better than Federer’s against Nadal, but still not that great. Not even close to even.


Dave Says:

But because Clay doesn’t seem to count as a surface and seems to get cast aside, everyone will say, it’s because they played more times on clay. Clay counts just as much as hard courts or grass courts. They are ALL TENNIS COURTS with the same rules.


Matt Says:

Agassi. Bravo.

What question? Where was Roger when Nadal made a few finals? You have to be kidding.

Explain the inconsistency of your guy. Explain having NEVER defended a major title other than RG.

Pete, Roger, and Djokovic all have dominant runs at different majors.

Clarify your question. And what’s your beef, that I’m harsh on Nadal?


Matt Says:

Where was Roger in 2010. Lol.


Matt Says:

They’re all tennis courts. . . sounds like we’re in the land of social sciences. You’re advocating for clay courts?

Why was Sampras considered GOAT by everyone until Roger “eclipsed” him? Why is Roger considered GOAT having only won one RG? Why is Nole considered GOAT having never won a RG?

The answer is pretty obvious.


elina Says:

Except you comveniently avoid my question.

As for kidding about Rogers inability to go deep in slams where Nadal was waiting, facts don’t kid but one sided arguments delude.

Cmon Mart. Try harder. Too easy.


Matt Says:

What’s your question, eloner?


elina Says:

You stated earlier above that most tennis greats give Roger the nod as the definitive greatest.

Who exactly are these greats? The list gets shorter every year and laver was one of the holdouts.


elina Says:

Inadvertently clicked on matts blog that to no great surprise dismisses clay calling it dumb.

Here’s an article from someone with a superior understanding of the intricacies of the game not blinded by a single player.

http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2016-04-22/surface_issues_in_praise_of_the_clay_game.html


Matt Says:

Most of the discussion I’ve heard from JMac, Laver, Sampras and even Borg have recognized Federer. Most recently I remember seeing Sampras (whom I thought liked Nadal at one point) talk about what Roger can do on all surfaces. But that’s been the general consensus. Who are you saying they are turning to (Laver being one of the last)? Djokovic?

Djokovic is on that arc, destined to be considered and Laver can say whatever he wants (like the rest of us). But I think we can ALL agree that Djokovic has work to do.

That’s not an indictment of Novak. It’s common sense.

As for clay, look at the winners of the French prior to Nadal’s run. The surface has never really facilitated the best game. And if you pull Lendl and Borg from the list, those really are exceptions to the rule.

Again, not sure why this needs to be explained, defended. Though TennisX might be a little more enlightened. The clay is not considered on equal terms with grass or HC. This is not a controversial statement.

Again, if you think clay is as legitimate, how in the world can you say Novak is GOAT without a RG?

Sampras was considered goat until Roger came along. One RG between them.

Are you deciphering a fanaticism here with me, a bias? I’m talking about facts and the perception derived from those facts.

This is not controversial. It’s common sense.


elina Says:

No Sampras said difficult to call Roger definitive goat with such a poor h2h saying that you have to dominate your competition. Borg hasn’t said anything in years.

Fed was goat before he won the French.

Hope this helps.


Matt Says:

Hope this helps? Not sure what you mean.

You take issue with my position on clay and yet. . .your point about Fed very emphatically says all there needs to be said about the French. Well done. Ha.

You’re all over the map.


J-Kath Says:

Rome Draw on other thread…I think.


elina Says:

no. Wouldn’t matter if it was grass. You don’t get it. Tignor does. Have a read and get back to me.

Most greats have a solid foundation on clay.


Matt Says:

No thanks, elina.

Clay is inferior and the only people that disagree with that are folks like you and Tignor, for obvious reasons.

TennisX strikes (out) again.


elina Says:

Agree to disagree then Matt. Anyway that clay article on your blog was seriously the dumbest I’ve ever read.


Daniel Says:

Giles,

Not having you in agreement with me is a compliment on this forum. Thanks😜


Matt Says:

Lol.

Good luck.


Green Lady Says:

Clays an inferior surface, cant really see much point in Novak wanting or trying to win it then ….


Green Lady Says:

Meaning RG that is ….


MMT Says:

Wog Boy: I think your F1 argument doesn’t translate to tennis because they all have access to the same equipment in tennis, but that is not so with F1. A great driver can toil in inferior cars for years before they have a chance to compete for a title. The team limits the driver in F1, but that’s not the case in tennis, where a player is on his/her own.


MMT Says:

Just read Wog Boy’s link to an article by Will Giles on why Djokovic is the GOAT. My rebuttal is below:

1) The weak/strong era is contradictory: for an era to be stronger, the best player in it has to lose more. How can that be evidence of greatness?
2) One great season does not encompass a player’s career – the GOAT is not a snapshot – if is, then whoever is the current champion of the biggest tournament is the goat: that’s not substantive.
3) The big four are the big four because of the majors they’ve won – why reach around your @$$ to scratch your elbow when you use majors won in the first place?
4) His potential is pure speculation and will be borne out in retrospect – that argument can be argued for anyone playing tennis professionally today or in the future.
5) Being a “complete” player is a means to an end of winning more – if you can win more without being “complete”is entirely overrated. Nobody plays to be a complete player – they play to win, so that’s what counts, not some arbitrary and subjective evaluation of completeness.
6) And always being the villain has no bearing at all whatsoever in how good of a player one is. 20,000 can bay for your blood – not one of them is holding a racquet, so it’s irrelevant.


Jun Says:

I am enjoying all of these back and forth.
Keep it up folks!

Some people trying really really really hard.

Again, thank you, Mr. Laver!


MMT Says:

“elina Says: If slam count was the definitive metric, most wouldn’t consider Serena the female GOAT.”

I’m no fan of Serena, but even I concede that if she gets to 23 she’s the undisputed GOAT. The same goes for Djokovic, if he gets to 18.

Majors won is not a perfect measure, but it’s (by far) the best one we have. It is limited, but so is every other measure of competition in tennis.


MMT Says:

“BBB Says: MMT – there’s a mathematical formula for determining #1. There isn’t for GOAT. As such, the debate can’t be resolved. I find it to be increasingly tedious, to be honest.”

The formula for #1 ranking, which has changed frequently since its introduction in 1973, was not brought down on a tablet from Mount Sinai – it was simply arrived at by the ATP leadership.

Majors won has the historical advantage of being based on the most coveted titles in the history of the game, which have always been the most coveted titles in the history of the game, and certainly so for anyone playing since 1925.


Wog Boy Says:

Serena has to get to 24 to even the record that is more than 40 years old. If we accept Rod Laver’s records, there is more reasons to accept Margaret Court records, and they are impressive, no male or female player achieved what she achieved. She was and is role model for every young person, you can’t quite say that for Serena.


MMT Says:

Wog Boy: I stand corrected – with all due respect to Margaret Court. Although it could be argued that 13 of them were amateur majors, the amateur/professional schism doesn’t really exist in women’s tennis so I agree that her record is the record to beat.


elina Says:

Incorrect MMT that Novak will be undisputed go4t if he wins most slams because federer is not undisputed goat. Laver, Sampras, Agassi and most greats dispute it.


David Says:

Criticizing Federer’s head-to-head record as a way to undermine his GOAT argument is absurd. Akin to saying that Joe Montana’s 4-0 Super Bowl record > Tom Brady’s 4-2. So because Fed is playing at an unprecedented high level, but his regressed state isn’t as good as Djokovic’s prime he should be punished? Using this logic, his legacy would be better served by early exits at major events because that way he can’t lose to a prime Djokovic. The fact that he stays competitive with Djokovic and has been more consistently successful against him than anyone else since his ascension is all the proof you need that he’s the greatest considering he has a more dominant stretch and more grand slams under his belt.


Alexandra Says:

This whole GOAT debate is pointless. There is no GOAT. There are a lot of great players, some better than others. That is all.
And putting Novak as Fed’s equal is wrong on so many levels. What about others? Seems this is really about who is great right now in the moment. In ten years, some else will be made the GOAT.


Alexandra Says:

Rafa is not in the same class as Sampras, Federer, Djokovic? What a joke. He is clearly up there with them. If you can’t see that, I can’t help you.

Oh, and the usual clay doesn’t count arguments. Think of something new for a change. Do people ever complain of too many wins on hardcourts?

Rafa also had to battle injuries, something Fed and Djoke never had to do. So it’s even more amazing what he has achieved. He gets absolutely no respect.


Jun Says:

Alexandra,
You first have to get familiar with TX’s tag line, and with that in mind, read the poster comments and you’re on your own.

The X Blog – Dysfunctional Tennis Blogging at its Finest


MMT Says:

“elina Says: Incorrect MMT that Novak will be undisputed go4t if he wins most slams because federer is not undisputed goat. Laver, Sampras, Agassi and most greats dispute it.”

If Laver, Sampras and Agassi said the sky was red it wouldn’t make it so. What have they offered in the way of reasoning? Very little. I use my reasoning – it works a lot better than parroting the irrational musings of someone else.


MMT Says:

“Alexandra Says: This whole GOAT debate is pointless. There is no GOAT. There are a lot of great players, some better than others. That is all.”

By this logic, there is no reason to keep score. By what basis do you assess that some are better than others? It is by that SAME basis that you would evaluate one to be the best – just like with the #1 ranking, or the winner of a tournament.


Jun Says:

Yes, GL. Clay tournaments are less prestigious.

And Cincy Masters is the most prestigious of them all, for the sole reason it is the only Masters I’ve ever been to. Therefore it’s got to be the one.

Any other dysfunctional and high-value ideas I can share?


Jun Says:

In the meantime, the co-GOAT is playing Madrid Masters final today. But it’s on clay, so it doesn’t count.


Jun Says:

Mr. Laver is a 2-time calendar Grand Slam winner ONLY. His opinions are as good as anybody else.

What I don’t get is why ESPN and other media outlets readily publish Mr. Laver’s opinions on anything. I haven’t seen mine ‘published’ anywhere but here on TX.

I just don’t get it.


Margot Says:

If everyone is “great” then no-one is “great.”
But I refuse to enter GOAT enclosure anyway. My favourite players, and therefore my “greats” are Andy, Mac and Fabrice, but no way will I make a claim anyone of them is GOAT. Nor do I care.


Margot Says:

@Jun
Change your agent, that might work. On the other hand……..;)


lakie Says:

To mimic some of the arguments here, titles on hard court do not count as it is not a traditional surface. Deduct the hard court slams and Djokovic has just 3 slams. Not fit to figure in the GOAT debate.


Green Lady Says:

Jun i repeat in that like Margot, i dont really care about GOATs, i only care about greats, what i dont get though, is if clay is so inferior, why on earth is Novak trying to win RG, or any other CC titles for that matter, doesnt make any sense, and is all rather contradictory, LIKE HELL YEAH RG IS SO INFERIOR, BUT ILL STILL TRY TO WIN TO COMPLETE A CAREER GS, EVEN THOUGH I DOESNT MATTER, JEEZ ….


Green Lady Says:

Take out clay Rafa would still have 5 GS, take out HCs, and Novak would have 3 GS, but we dont take out surfaces for 1 all time great, yet we seem to do it for another, and still 5 GS, or 3 GS would still be a fantastic achievement for any player ? ….


MMT Says:

Jun: Lavers reasoning is flawed – it doesn’t matter how many titles he’s won, it has nothing to do with the reasoning behind his contention, which is flawed. The same for Agassi and anyone else who values something other than majors won in assessing a players’ greatness. The only arguments against majors won can be applied to any other measure of greatness, and there are many more problems with other measures of greatness that don’t apply to majors won. The measure that makes the most sense is majors won.


BBB Says:

MMT – you’re missing my point. Whatever the #1 formula is, there is an accepted formula. That does not exist for GOAT. The problem with the discussion is that people act as though there is a definitive answer, and they have it (and coincidentally it’s their favorite player). Not too long ago I was told that Federer is the GOAT because Laver said so, but I don’t see any revisions in light of Laver’s more recent comments.


skeezer Says:

“That does not exist for GOAT”
Yes it does. Majors count has always been the primary accepted benchmark for GOAT. There has been no doubt historically that these two were in sync with the greatest ever. That said, Fed has accumulated many other record book titles that are still above and beyond the field.
Using a Laver quote while not looking at the stats to back it up as a benchmark is ridiculous reach.


BBB Says:

Ugh, so much wrong with your post. The ATP has agreed on a formula for the #1 ranking. Has the ATP agreed on one for GOAT? No? Ok, so as I said, it does not exist.

As for “always been the primary accepted benchmark” – going back to when? Was Henry VIII the GOAT? In any event, it’s not accurate – as others have mentioned, players routinely skipped the AO, and the emphasis on majors won increased when Federer got to Sampras.

Speaking of which, a knock on Sampras as GOAT was that he never won the French. How does that square with number of majors won as the only benchmark?

Why is so hard for people to admit that this is subjective? It’s bizarre.

And you, my friend, were the one who quoted Laver in defense of your argument that Federer is GOAT. I’m sorry Laver updated his views and they no longer comport with your argument.


skeezer Says:

^I never said Laver was the benchmark for calling a player GOAT, but his comments obviously added validity to the conversation.
“a knock on Sampras as GOAT was that he never won the French. ”
Ah, but they also said back then IF he had won the French, he would have been.
You need to spend some time on Feds wiki and compare it to the field of all time greats, then come back and talk.


BBB Says:

If I need to spend time on Wiki, then you’re agreeing that we should be looking at more than number of majors? Because I don’t need to look at wiki to know that Federer currently has more than anyone else.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

True that Slams have not always been thought of exactly the way they are currently: Australia has gone up and down in importance, but French, Wimbledon and USOpen have been THE events in tennis for over half a century, and Australia has always been the ‘next’. Its nonsense that this was somehow made up to suit Federer’s storyline.

I could name how many slams Emerson won, Laver, Connors, Borg, etc. back in the 80′s. When Sampras broke Emerson’s record, it was a very big deal. It was also always a mark against Lendl that he couldn’t win Wimbledon. Because even among slams, Wimbledon is historically THE Major. It was certainly a slight against Sampras that he couldn’t win the French, but it wasn’t the hole in his resume that Wimbledon was to Lendl (even though Lendl came much closer!)

The four slams were the benchmark at least as far back as the 60′s. Borg skipping the Australian Open was the exception to the rule. If you read about any player’s career from at least the 60′s on, its pretty clear that the major events have always been, well, the Majors! When the tour was split into pro vs am camps in the 60′s it was a big deal precisely because it was upsetting the accepted order of the Grand Slams as the pinnacle of the sport. And when the pros won out, we went back to that standard – with the exception of Borg.

There are other metrics by which to measure greatness: weeks at #1, titles, winning %, but number of Grand Slams is certainly the foremost. Weeks at #1 would be second, and the rest are really small potatoes compared to those two.

The first thing anyone says when discussing a player is number of Slams, or # of specific Slams (in the cases of Rafa and Borg especially).


BBB Says:

I’m not saying the number of majors isn’t important – I’m saying it’s not necessarily dispositive of who’s the greatest of all time.

No idea why such a simple concept – that this is not a scientific exercise but a subjective one – is so difficult to grasp.

I’m only commenting on this because the argument has taken on the flavor of a theological debate, and it’s absurd. If you want to think number of majors is dispositive, go for it. If someone else wants to say it’s Borg because he was Borg, go for it. No one’s right or wrong. It’s an opinion.

Who holds the #1 ranking is not an opinion, so that analogy holds no water for me.


skeezer Says:

“Who holds the #1 ranking is not an opinion, so that analogy holds no water for me.”
How many majors a player has, is not an opinion.
Nor how many weeks @1 a player has, is not an opinion.
Nor how many all-time record a player has is not an opinion, its a fact.
etc, etc, etc,,,
Its’ simple, not subjective, the facts are there.


Markus Says:

skeezer, thumbs up to you. Objectivity is forever because it is irrefutable. Opinions only matter to those who cannot back them up with objective reasons. 17 is the only thing that matters. Unless you support one who has less and therefore has to resort to “opinions”.


Wog Boy Says:

BBB,

Let me guess what is your point, “the GOAT” as such doesn’t officially exist nor there is a rule book how to determine who is the GOAT, therefore it is an opinion, regardless of some blabbing it is fact, since it is not, does not exist as official category with ATP or ITF.

On the other side, #1 exist and there is system in place of how to determine who is #1, therefore it is s fact, recognized by ITF and ATP, fact.

If that’s your point, I agree, since we can see on yearly basis that people like Rod Laver, J Mac …are changing their opinion or adding possible GOATS, but I would leave those TX dinosaurs to enjoy their opinion since they don’t hava much time left for it if any, their man is on his way out of stage, the curtains are falling down.


Jun Says:

“Lavers reasoning is flawed”

Thank you, Mr. Laver!

Mr. Laver obviously recognizes the difference between quality and quantity. To blindly take the numbers without considering the story behind those numbers is, I guess, not Mr. Laver’s style. Probably because he’s ‘been there and done that’ and knows that there’s a difference.

Me? what do I know? (I’ve never been there).

But Mr. Laver apparently knows something. He was just being truthful and shared his ‘opinion’.

Now do I think there are other greats who share Mr. Laver’s opinions? … you wouldn’t want to know. it is scary…


jalep Says:

Just to say, BBB, I completely understand what you are saying and agree – have for years. Greatest Of All Time is inherently subjective…not scientific, impossible to prove, based on the shifting sands and measures of ‘all time’, relies on a consensus and agreed opinion, requires suspending disbelief in favor of satisfying ego need…

😯 of course it’s NOT a useless argument 😂☝👌🏆😅😉🐐🐒🦄🐩

Laver’s opinion is just that: opinion/ his opinion. Until it changes to a different opinion and so on…ad infinitum


MMT Says:

“BBB Says: MMT – you’re missing my point. Whatever the #1 formula is, there is an accepted formula.”

The #1 ranking has almost no historical context, and all the same flaws (and then some) cited for “majors won”, but you accept it, not because it is a superior measure of greatness, but because it has been imposed by the ATP tour. That’s an indication of the current power of the ATP.

There is nothing subjective about majors won, nor that the majors are the most coveted titles in tennis. It is only by the introduction of selective disqualifiers, uniquely applied to “majors won” (and no other competitive evaluations in tennis) that one can begin to question it as the measure of all time greatness. That is selective, prone to bias, and ultimately not informative.

By the way, let me dispel the convenient myth that the majors haven’t always been majors – the grand slams have been codified as such by the ITF since 1925 (and that happens coincide with birth of de facto professional tennis). For 91 years, and to this day, the most coveted titles in the game, are the majors. It is only logical that he who wins more of those titles is the greatest of all time. I don’t need someone to spoon feed me a computer-generated ranking to reach this obvious conclusion.

Laver’s analysis, which lacks consistent reasoning, previously insisted there could be no GOAT, only greatest of their era – but suddenly when he assesses Djokovic as a co-GOAT, it serves an edict written in stone. Both assessments were equally flawed, and I have never simply accepted his opinion as a substitute for history and reason.


MMT Says:

Wog Boy: “… we can see on yearly basis that people like Rod Laver, J Mac …are changing their opinion or adding possible GOATS…”

If you don’t agree with John McEnroe’s opinion just wait a few minutes…it’s guaranteed to change.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

BBB,

I think you are right to the extent that there can be multiple definitions of greatness. If greatness is defined as he who succeeded the most, then it is objective, and it is Federer.

If greatness is defined as, who would win a tournament of champions all at their peak, then who the F knows?

For those who would argue that ‘objective’ success is all that matters, how would you look at, say, sprinters? Is the greatest the one who won the most races? The most Olympic golds? Or the historic world record holder? This last is the parallel to the ‘champion of champions’ idea. But in tennis we have further complications of match-up issues. Rafa’s record against Federer is irrefutable: but tennis is not about beating one opponent, it is about beating the field. Something Federer was better at than Rafa. So, when we look more closely at who would be this putative champion of champions, we have to further ask, well, whats the draw?? And that gets kind of weird. Like, “let’s imagine we can put Roger and Rafa in a computer simulation of a tournament with equal opponents and see who would win it more often”

I have no beef with those who say Rafa at his best is BETTER than Roger at his, or Novak. I disagree, but to BBB’s point, this particular measure of greatness is subjective.

But we have another definition of greatness that is objective: who has been the most successful. If your GOAT is shorthand for that, then your answer is Roger (for now). If your GOAT is NOT defined that way, then you argue…


skeezer Says:

“Rafa’s record against Federer is irrefutable: but tennis is not about beating one opponent, it is about beating the field.”
Thank you thank you thank you. I remember another wise one saying this years ago……;)

I have been reading for years here a fan just discovers their fav has one better “stat” against another player then all hell breaks lose. He is the best! He is the best!
That is not how the game of tennis works.


MMT Says:

“For those who would argue that ‘objective’ success is all that matters, how would you look at, say, sprinters? Is the greatest the one who won the most races? The most Olympic golds? Or the historic world record holder?”

That’s a great question: in the “majors won” argument, the answer is: which titles are the most coveted and who has the most?

A random assortment of disconnected meets/races? World Championships which occur every year, and for which there are numerous champions? The world record, which changes like the windd?

Or olympic gold medals?


Drew Says:

Now where do you all stand? I’ve been saying for two years that Novak is the “best player I’ve ever seen”–emphasis on SEEN–in that he has no weaknesses and is the first player I feel deserves the adjective “indomitable ” that I’ve ever seen. (I’ve been watching/playing tennis since 1969.) Novak’s only obstacle between now and GOAThood is health.


Dre Says:

@Drew- Good joke. Sam Querrey apparently didn’t get your memo. How about that 772 ranked beer drinking tennis instructor winning his first round match in this “strong era?” Novak is a joke, always has been and always will be. Roddick has a winning h2h versus him, and Davydenko has a winning h2h versus Nadal. So for all you h2h idiots go ahead and chew on that for a bit. Novak’s achievements are coming at the expense of Nadal’s injured body and a 5 year past prime Federer. He did not dominate until past 2012, and Fed ended his great run at the 2011 FO. To this day, a 34 year old tennis player has more wins against him that any other player, and has so each year for the past 3. Novak can reach 18 Slams, until he faces a rival with the athletic ability that Nadal possessed towards Fed then his titles are crap. There has been a generation gap, and nobody is stepping up. Fed wasn’t afforded that luxury, and would have completed 3 consecutive Golden Slams if a guy named Nadal wasn’t around. Enjoy your meaningless titles and wins against the current crop of tomato cans and cab drivers.

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