Poll: Will Novak Djokovic Keep His No. 1 Ranking For The Entire 2015 Season?

by Staff | February 19th, 2015, 10:15 am

With rivals Roger Federer aging and Rafael Nadal returning from injury, Novak Djokovic is primed for a repeat of his 2014 No. 1 ranking finish. But will the Serb do something he’s never done before, that is maintain the top spot for the duration of the 2015 season?

The case for Djokovic staying No. 1 every week this year…
* Rivals Roger Federer (aging), Rafael Nadal (returning from injury)
* Young guns still a year or more away
* Is Andy Murray a real threat?
* Already won the Australian Open
* At 27 in prime of his career
* With 8 Slams, motivation to win more titles the next 3-4 years, possibly closing in on all time greats

The case against Djokovic keeping No. 1 for the whole year….
* Rafael Nadal can always run the table during clay season, putting pressure on at Wimbledon
* Nadal will be aided by the extra week before Wimbledon (as should everyone, including Djokovic)
* Djokovic has not won more than one Slam in the last three years
* Tougher competition this year with Nishikori, Wawrinka, Raonic, Berdych, Dimitrov all playing well
* Family obligations continue to take time from important practice, plus tournament schedule cutbacks?
* Only five players in history have been ranked No. 1 every week during a year
* Injuries always happen
* Does he care about this achievement?

ATP Players to rank No. 1 every week during calendar year:
Jimmy Connors (1975, 1976, 1978)
Ivan Lendl (1986, 1987)
Pete Sampras (1994, 1997)
Lleyton Hewitt (2002)
Roger Federer (2005, 2006, 2007)

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93 Comments for Poll: Will Novak Djokovic Keep His No. 1 Ranking For The Entire 2015 Season?

brando Says:

The ranking always gets lost unless the competition is weak. Fact. Since 2008 every single year it has changed hands. And that’s for a reason. And in those years listed above look at the years some maintained the top spot and how some feel that time was weak due to lack of competition. A vacuum at the top. So if the competition stays weak: yes. If someone steps up consistently as the past 7 years has seen then: no. Right now wawrinka is the number 2 player outside novak form wise which tells you the truth about the competition, the game at the moment.

Okiegal Says:

Yes he will…..me thinks!

Giles Says:


SG1 Says:

Anyone surprise to see Lleyton Hewitt on that list. I know I was.

SG1 Says:

Surprised to Connors there 3 times in the mid to late 70’s with Borg in the mix.

Emily Says:

I assumed at the end of last year that Novak would dominate again, but thinking about the math, I have a few doubts. If Rafa plays well this year, he has a lot of points to gain and only RG to defend. Novak has to match his achievements from last year, which is a tough ask. Andy and Roger are questions marks for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone new/newish wins a slam or makes their way into the top 10.

The top 10 is looking kind of weak right now (not everyone), and some could be replaced by other players. For example, when Monfils is playing is best, he is every bit a top 10 player.

@Brando, that last sentence in your comment was a bit of a low blow

brando Says:

@SG1: no I am not. Hewitt dominated when there was a vacuum at the top post Sampras era so his being there should surprise no one. Ditto Connors: his only rival was Borg- a player who always skipped AO, never won USO and did not win FO in one of those years since he skipped it. So again: there should be no surprise. If one looks at, studies the years in question and observes the competition then they’ll conclude that what occurred is of no surprise since the competition wasn’t great at all. When the competition is at its greatest: fluctuation at the top is the norm. When it isn’t- you’ll see such stats. Hence why novak is favoured this year. Other no.1s are either old or injury prone, the rest just not up to the standard of being a number 1. Hence why he’s favored to pull it off even though he’s no better or worse than previous years. It’s just now the competition is weaker at the absolute top than in recent years. In many ways this year resembles Hewitt years: a former colossal fell then: Sampras. Now its fedal. Their was a period of waiting for the next bunch to develop. Ditto this time with kei, grigor, milos, kyrgios still needing time. Leaving 1 player to rule the field as it’s not at its finest at all.

brando Says:

@Emily: no its not. It certainly wasn’t intended to be at all. I see it like this: the question on hand is number 1 ranking. Now referring to wawrinka as the main competition was because he’s no.2 in the race. And referring to him as being weak competition as a number 1 contender is justified since when you consider what it takes to be number 1- winning titles consistently- and your main rival at the moment is someone who aged almost 30 has just won his first career 500 point title- a level which hardly decides number 1 ranking- then it just states the obvious: the competition is weak. As a number 1 contender wawrinka is clearly a weak contender when you consider what it takes to be top dog,and what wawrinka has shown us in his career. Their is no dig there: just measuring wawa to the top spot yardstick. And if there is any ‘dig’: its not from I. But the reality of wawrinka’s career, his capacity put up against what it takes to be number 1. It’s not my fault that it shows he ain’t upto snuff on that front. Hence why I say: the competition at the top is weak right now. Their is a number 1( novak) and then the rest. A rest that includes a fading force (fedal), and a whole bunch who have NEVER EVER performed like a number 1 for a sustained period of time (Murray, wawrinka, kei). Why? Since they clearly are not on that level. My saying that is just recognizing the brutal truth: if folks cannot stomach it then look elsewhere. As for you Emily: your a nice gal. But more interestingly a intelligent one. By now I would like to think that you can see it as: Brando ain’t being mean. He’s just being brutally honest measuring wawrinka to the top spot yardstick, which we know deep down he’s never been consistent enough of a winner to even be considered a contender. That’s just his reality when measured up to being the number 1 player.

Hippy Chick Says:

At a guess i would say pretty likely,disagree with Brando though,i believe the ranking changes because the field is strong not weak,anyway aside from 2011 Novak has only been dominant away from the GS,add to that Rafa will be favorite at RG,but wont gain points there,Novak has to win there to gain points,Rafa has performed teribly at W but with an extra week can gain if he performs well there,Novak has good numbers at W but Andy and Roger have games better suited to grass,so IMO it will be difficult for him to defend W,he can gain at the USO but its the most open GS of the 4 with no repeat champions over the last few years,he is pretty dominant at the MS titles,and other smaller tournies and he needs to be if he is to end the year as number 1 again,but with no injuries or physical problems its probably more likely he will rather than not….

chris ford1 Says:


1. Djokovic’s real competition is Rafa. We all know that. Sure, it is not inconceivable that Roger, Stan, Andy, a young gun or even Ferru or Berdych (stop laughing!!) could reach in and grab a trophy…but Rafa is the only one I see having the tools and long haul consistency to take #1 from Nole. I don’t think he can do it. If anything, for a few weeks. Then Nadal will have his usual issues with 2nd hardcourt season and Nole finishes #1.
2. Yes, it is possible we will see a miracle transformation in Murray to become a rival on the level of Rafa or Fed in his prime, but I doubt it.
3. Fed had his chance last year. Alas, he couldn’t get past Nole’s wedding and baby distractions with Rafa gone. Now Nole is refocused and Rafa is back and we all know what that means for Fed.
4. Like SG1, I am befuddled Jimmy Connors was #1 for 3 complete years. Especially 1978.
1978 records show Borg like Connors, skipped the not yet a Slam AO. Then Borg dominated clay season, won the French Open, won Wimbledon, was a finalist at the USO.
5. There seems to be truth to the weak era theory. A lot easier to be #1 for a solid year when there is no strong competition, or competition that is erratic in performance (here’s to you, Marat Safin!) Many , many statistics get “padded up” for a top player when they have a relatively free reign to the trophy stand.
6. Regardless of maintaining #1 status all year, Novak Djokovic will pass Rafa’s 141 weeks in weeks at #1, then may have a shot at McEnroes 170 weeks towards the end of this year. That would put Djokovic as the 5th longest duration #1 player in the Open Era. If so, Nole enters the caliber of play and the consistency of Sampras, Federer, Lendl, McEnroe and Connors. Too much focus on Slamcount!! means things like this get overlooked. That Djokovic and Nadal will end their careers as the winners of the most Masters 1000s. That Djokovic is now trying to match Lendl and Sampras with 5 year end championships, and may match or exceed Federer’s 6.

dryeagle Says:

Agree with former Celtics and 76ers coach Chris Ford, Rafa is the only real competition with Novak for #1. And I don’t think its a priority anymore for Rafa.

I think Rafa’s only goal at this point is catching and passing Fed’s 17 grand slams. At 14, that will be tough to do. Can he scratch out 2 more French, 1-2 Aus or US? But 10 French Opens will be an unbelievable achievement, I think it comes down to another epic French battle with Novak in 2015.

For Novak, I think he as at least 4 more grand slams in him to reach 12. If he can do better, that puts him in Federer-Nadal conversation.

One more slam for Federer will be icing on the cake, and he can do it at Wimbledon if things break the right. He’s done it all, but the one thing missing is beating Nadal at Roland Garros. I think Novak may be able to do it, but not Federer.

Hippy Chick Says:

I wouldnt write of Andy when it comes to winning Wimbledon again,Rafa might benefit with an extra week after RG?Rafas best GS away from RG now is the USO and he has good numbers there now,with two titles from three finals….

Emily Says:

@brando, thanks very much for a very interesting post. There are posters w/ cruel intentions, but that was not one of them. All your points are very valid and I agree w/ many of them, even when my heart wishes otherwise. I can handle the brutal truth.

It is not your fault that Stan has decided to reach his full potential at age 29. It’s crazy that he only just got his first 500. Looking at his previous finals, he was stuck in that no-man’s land of players who couldn’t get past Fedal and then Novak/Andy. In 2003, I loved watching players like Ferrero, Agassi, Roddick, Safin, who were all at the top. After then, titles seemed to go to either Roger or Rafa. It was a fascinating rivalry, but probably frustrating for the other players.

Novak has seemed to peak at this sweet spot where the fedal era is coming to a close and there’s no-one else in his way. The “best of the rest” like Stan, Berdych, Tsonga have so many peaks and valleys that they can’t seem to get the consistency of a no.1, or they don’t believe they can. I never bought into the Novak/Andy rivalry since Nole was always one step ahead of him, titles and confidence wise.

It has been an interesting beginning to the season, but I think we might be able to see the year-end rankings a bit better once the clay season really gets started. Novak doesn’t quite seem as scary as Roger in his prime, based on some of his, albeit few, losses.

Ending on a positive note, Stan just won in Marseille and Raonic lost, so here’s hoping for another title. It’s not a 500, but it’s ranking points.

Emily Says:

In a parallel universe where Delpo doesn’t destroy his wrists, he would have been a serious contender for no.1. When I saw him win the UO in 2009, I was convinced he was going to be at the top and he’s around the same age as Novak. He also has had success against him, when he was healthy, and that could have been a great rivalry. They have had some epic matches that eclipse any between Novak and Andy.

Sadly, doesn’t look like that is going to happen and I think Novak got a bit lucky there. I really don’t see any of the younger generation doing much this year and the only scenario seems to be whether Rafa can do a 2013. I still think he’s the favorite at RG and it depends if the no.1 ranking is something he will fight for. I’ve heard him say that he wants it and somewhere else, he said his real priority is winning RG #10, so maybe he’s not sure if his body can hold up for an entire season.

brando Says:

@Emily: brilliant post! Your a nice poster, but anyone can spot that. But more relevantly and interestingly, your a intelligent one whose contributions have great merit and are a poster with enough character to handle the truth: even if it maybe of the kind one dislikes. I applaud you immensely for that Emily since the simple truth is: only a few-if that- can handle the truth as it is around here! It’s a rare quality to possess-genuinely- and you have it for sure. Bravo to you for that, retain it, nourish it: as it is a rare quality.As for wawrinka: be merry I say. Don’t measure him to others but just muse over HIS own journey. To me it’s clear that stanimal has achieved far more than it seemed likely he ever will only a mere 18 months ago. He’s progressed immensely, has risen his game to height few would have imagined. He could have easily settled for being a journeyman player. But he wanted more. And at a late stage in his career he’s pulled off what few would even dare dream of doing let alone achieve. Be proud of him and more importantly: enjoy it since he looks like he can achieve alot more yet.

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer. 2:55

Thanks for that link……

Okiegal Says:

@Emily…..I too was looking forward to more of DelPo. But after watching him all through the USO that year, being amazed how hard he could hit the ball, I thought to myself, he will have wrist problems, and sure enough he did. It’s akin to baseball pitchers having a condition called “rag” arm…..he’s got “rag” wrist, so to speak. I hope he can get back to normal, tennis needs him….but can he refrain from hitting like he always has?? I seriously doubt it.

KatH Says:

Don’t laugh folks – but I believe Andy Murray will be No. 2 at end of year and will take No. 1 spot in 2016. Don’t think it will last long but for Andy it will be important. We all know when he plays at his best he is VERY hard to beat. Oddly enuf I believe he is the best all-round player – it’s his mind-set that’s the problem. Maybe after April when he marries the beautiful KIM with the astonishing in your face language he will begin to kike himself better.

KatH Says:

Sorri about typo “kike” should be like—-U smart guys will have got that already.

Emily Says:

Some commentator last night was saying that Delpo was thinking about switching to a one-handed backhand b/c he still can’t hit his regular backhand. I don’t know what this person was talking about or if they have any understanding of what an impossibility that would seem to be. His one-handed backhand slice is not great and he won’t be able to compete at the elite level w/ that.

In fact, I just googled Del Potro and one-handed backhand and he says he would never switch in an article on tennis.com. Who are these people I’m listening to?

Daniel Says:

Of the topic news. Just saw an interview with Gustavo Kuerten (Guga) in Rio Open and it’s 90% certain that the surface for Rio 2016 Olympics is not going to be clay but hard courts. They are thinking of a training facility for the future and not on clay which is already spreader in Brazil.

As the Olympics began few weeks before US Open they will choose for HC as a more suiting prep and relevance.
Thought this decision was coherent and is going to be good for Rio and Brazil long term but it kind of surprised me because here is basically all about clay.

Went to Rio open yesterday and it is nice but really hot and humid. Several players withdrawing due to heat including DeBakker last night who felt sick against Ferrer. It’s going to be survivor of the fittest out there. This is the worst (meaning hotter) summer in Rio in ages, 2 months with above 104F feels like temperatures.

Daniel Says:

Agree that week competition is one of the facts but we have to see beyond just the players and see the titles won.

For example in Fed’s 3 years he won 10 plus titles minimum 2 Slams in each of this years. So even if some say lack of competition some may say total dominance.

2010 and 2011 Nadal and Djoko won more than 10 tiles so did Nadal in 2013 (think 10) but not dominated the whole year as they got on a tier and replaced the other at the top.

This year everything is set for Djoko. Fed aging, Nadal still finding back his form and older and the others, there just doesn’t seem we have a #1 potential for this year. If Murray had won the AO maybe but now…

Also what matters is points this year. If Djoko win one of IW or Miami he will enter clay as #1, if he finishes clay season still at #1 can’t see him losing it as usually his second half of the season is his forte last years, even better than Federer.

So Nadal has the best chance and it all depends on his clay results and if he will be a factor in HC again. He is laying Rio will play Buenos Aires (skip Dubai where all the top dogs will be), than play IW – Miami and back to 5 tourneys on clay again. So for his next 9 tournaments, 7 are on clay and this will be the bulk of his points as usual. If Djoko keeps winning the main titles (as is the case since US Open), he is set to retain #1. He just have to win 1 every 3 tournaments he play, he normally play 15-17 tourney per season so winning 5-7 titles will do. He already have 1 Slam so is up to the others to win a Slam to catch him. And if he wins 1 more this year than he is safe at the top. On paper looks good for him but the beauty of this sport is that they will have to play the tournaments and anyone can get hot for 3 or 4 tournaments: Fed did it in 2009 from Madrid to Wimbledon, winning 4 of 4 titles, 2 Slams; Nadal in 2010 from Monte Carlo to Wimbledon, winning 5 of 6 tournaments, 2 Slams; Djoko in 2011 from AO to Wimbledon winning 6 out of 7 tournaments with 2 Slams; Fed in 2012 from Madrid to Wimbledon winning 3 out of 4 tourneys, 1 Slam; Nadal in 2013 from IW to US Open winning 7 out of 10 tournaments, 2 Slams; Djoko 2014-2015 from Wimbledon to AO winning 5 out of 10 tournaments with 2 Slams. But basically looking at this stats is only 3 players who have the ability and consistency to turn the tables…

brando Says:

Andy Murray being number one? Would love to see that happening! But reality is: IF he wins neither Indian Wells or Miami then provided his first career clay title is a master series: he will go to Wimbledon having gone 2 YEARS without a grand slam, wtf or master series title! 2 years in which all he’s won is one paltry 500 point title. That too after Robredo had match points. And he turns 28 in May. Needless to say: that is nowhere near number one ranking form. Truthfully speaking: it ain’t even top 4 form. He needs to start performing NOW not later on since he’s lost a lot of time a lot. All the momentum he created circa 2012/2013 has now gone and he’s lost alot of ground on the top players. IF you throw out his record and focus on what he’s done in the last 14 months, can you honestly say that is a number one in the making? Honestly: nowhere near number one. For me: he needs to win either Indian Wells or Miami otherwise he’s in for another long season.

Patson Says:


Nole’s in for the top spot for a long time. He’s able to play consistently well throughout the season; that’s something very important to remain world no. 1.

Hippy Chick Says:

Personally i dont give a monkeys about my two favorites Rafa or Andy gaining the number 1 ranking,i would just love to see them both bagging a GS or two,and some other titles here and there,the number 1 ranking is fantastic and Nole really deserves it,but its not the be all and end all for me as a fan….

Gee Says:

His son will see him play til 2026. The luckiest Stefan.
Nole will finally reach 17 slams, maybe more if he’ll be hungry to win (especially French open & wimbledon).

He faltered in the most embarrassing ways at the us open, so he won’t let nishikori & nadal demolish him again.
The stubbornness & resulting chokes will not happen like in 2012-2014. No marriage certificate and pressure to have a baby affect his result anymore.

Wog Boy Says:

I am just trying to go back and remember posts from last year before and just after USO, from the same poster’s (not Nole fans) about how Nole is done and dusted because he got married and waiting for the birth of his first child, no more GS titles, no more #1…and what do we read now? Keep them coming, please, I love it:)

Sidney Says:

Novak has a very good chance to stay at no. 1 for the whole year. It would be a nice achievement, but I’d rather see him win a second slam and Cincy this year. Don’t care which slam, but a 2nd USO would be nice.

For Novak fans :)

chris ford1 Says:

Slam counting aside, other things mark a successful player. Only 9 players have reached over 100 weeks as #1, a mark of consistent excellence and sometimes a sign of playing in a weak era. Djokovic appears to be on a path to become the 5th most weeks at #1 player.
One interesting new measurement is a combined score – add up the YECs, Olympic Gold, Slams, and Masters wins.
The top combined score since the Open Era started is Roger Federer’s at 46. Next is Rafa at 42. Showing why Rafa is an all-time great. Pete Sampras was tied for 3rd last fall at 30. Pete is now 4th as Novak Djokovic has moved past him with another YEC and the AO to have 32 “big” trophies.

This stuff, H2Hs, Davis Cup exploits will be factored in future measurement algorithms. There will be some pencil-whipping to factor in players that left earlier than expected. Recognizingd how some players were in an ultracompetitive time and others faced no significant opposition for years and used the time well to pad their resume. Time passes, the Pete Sampras /Roger Federer fan and worshipping writer group that only went with Slamcount because that best served their God will be corrected. Only Slamcount!! mattered because one stunk on clay and the other wilts when the name Rafa is whispered these days.

Okiegal Says:

@Chick…..Rafa to serve this one out?? I sure hope so!! VAMOS!!

jane Says:

“possibly closing in on all time greats” i will weigh in on this later, but jeez staff, i thought he’d already “closed in” on the all time greats with 8 slams. ;)

Okiegal Says:

@Jane……Try to remain calm…….after all
Tennis X is “All about dat Fed, bout dat Fed, no Joker……you get my drift?? Yes, I think you do. I agree with your comment whole heartedly. I don’t get their staff writers…..they’re way off sometime.

SL Says:

@Brando hit the nail on the head, and …

Nadal is not the player he was, has not been after 2013 USO to be honest. He made the most of it for a while in 2014, and then crashed and burned after the FO once motivation went. His major winning days may well be over, as they surely are for Roger, great though he is. That really leaves Novak a class apart from the rest. He will be disappointed if he does not go through the year as No. 1 and win at least 2 (he already has the AO) if not 3 majors.

jane Says:

cool article sidney; thanks for sharing it!

i already mentioned on another thread that nole probably has a good shot, but a lot depends on nadal from wimbledon onward. so it’s difficult to say. daniel’s post points out the many possibilities.

okiegal, when nole matched the total of people like agassi, connors and lendl i guess it just felt like he’d already reached a special place with some of the “all time greats”.

but i really like how this article lays out the pros and cons and gives us some good stats too. i was wondering how many people had held the #1 through a calendar year. mostly i very much enjoyed the writing but just didn’t have time to comment earlier.

skeezer Says:

would never place Rafa above Sampras in who has the better record or achievements atm, but yet rafafantics continue to use illogical arguments to say he is the better. LOL….infatuation leads to delusional thinning of the brain snd love stuck starry eyes that wrongs the heart.

Don’t know about the Nole “as one of the greats” yet, but if 2015 is a Nole year for sure we all will be talking about it…
“Slam counting aside…”
Ahh. then the argument dies.
Slams is the historical benchmark that ALL agrees. Then you go from there…

ty Says:

Love you Lleyton

Hippy Chick Says:

JMO But i think Rafas 14 is slighty better than Petes,sure Pete has superior numbers at W,AO,USO weeks at number 1,but Rafa has what Pete never achieved a Career GS,and multiple GS on all 3 surfaces,if Rafa wins another GS then he will have 15 GS and there will be no question about whos the greater,and nothing left for him to prove on that score anymore,not a fanatic,but all greats want to win GS on all surfaces,which is something Rafa has done,but Pete has not….

Michael Says:

Although Novak has a huge point lead right now, he is still vulnerable considering that last year he won the fantastic double at Indian Wells as well as Miami and then had a great run at the French as well as Wimbledon. The only big tournament he can do better right now is at the French where he could become a Champion and that will earn him points, but the rest he has to defend. Nevertheless, the advantage rests with him and he can sure about his No.1 ranking atleast till Wimbledon where he needs to do very badly if he has to be dislodged from his high pedestal. The threat to his ranking right now comes from Rafa and not Roger although he is placed at No.2.

Novak has such incredible consistency over the years that he has always been in the top three for numerous years and that is notable. Even in the Roger/Rafa era, he was always there hanging although he might more often than not stumble at the last hurdle. But it was the year 2011, which redefined and reshaped his career where Novak reinvented himself and became a force to reckon with. It was the year also where he beat Rafa six times a row and he gained so much confidence in his abilities that he could never lose when at the US Open semi final almost on the verge of extinction, he hit a blinder of a return stumping Roger and that proved to be turning point of the match. He went on to win that US Open and from there it was no turning back although he did suffer from loss of form in the interrugnum which fortunately never lasted long and he managed to strike back.

So, I would say it is advantage Novak to finish No.1 in 2015 too unless major surprises are in store in the form of a Rafa’s revival which is a distinct possibility. The rest of the competition, Novak can well take care.

Michael Says:

Rafa or Sampras – Who is the greater player ?

I would unequivocally vote for Rafa considering his all round performance as Sampras was just a push over on Clay. He didn’t make even one final appearance at Rolland Garros. All that he can show on Clay is just the Italian Masters.

One can argue that Rafa’s record is over loaded with Clay titles, but still his record on other surfaces too is pulsatingly impressive irrespective of the way you dissect and analyse it. To win 9 titles in a Grand slam tournament is something you need to deal with and it is simply a ridiculous record by any stretch of imagination. He has consecutively won 9 titles in a Master series too. I do not expect any player to surpass such records even in the far future and the important thing is that Rafa is still not finished and fighting. We can only just conjecture as to how much more he is going to amass in the future to add to his illustrious collection which is already looking mighty impressive. So, right now concluding apruptly that Sampras is better than Rafa is premature and isn’t a fair judgement. Rafa deserves much better.

Hippy Chick Says:

Michael please do we have to have endless reminders of the 7 defeats Rafa had against Novak in 2011,it was 4 years ago now?Rafa has actually beaten Novak plenty of times since then,and shock,horror even on HCs too remember Toronto Masters 2013,USO same year?all those titles Rafa won 2013,in finals that Novak wasnt good enough to make,Novak will as you say probably go the whole year as number 1,but hes not unbeatable even on HCs….

abuya Says:


Emily Says:

I was impressed by Carreno Busta yesterday who many seem to predict will be the next great Spaniard. He didn’t seem nervous or intimidated and made Rafa work for the win. They mentioned that if Rafa wins in Rio, he will have the same amount of clay tournament wins as Vilas, which will make him indisputably the king of clay, which he really is already.

Hippy Chick Says:

Emily when he won his 7th FO,he was already the KOC/CLAY GOAT whatever?surpassing BB with FO titles,since then its its all as Skeezer would say gravy….

Emily Says:

@HC, no argument from me as to the identity of the clay GOAT. I actually thought it was bizarre that they even brought up that Vilas record, but maybe it’s the only one left Rafa hasn’t beaten? They’re scraping the barrel at this point since Rafa’s KOC status has been a well established fact for so long.

Hippy Chick Says:

Emily exactly great post,it was as you say the worlds smallest argument,agree with Brando your a great poster,i always enjoyed reading your posts and im glad you stuck around ;))….

Emily Says:

Did I go away? I’ve been visiting this site for years, but have only been posting regularly for the past 6 months I think. I like having discussions w/ posters like you, Brando, jane and some others. There is just some bickering I try to avoid.

Hippy Chick Says:

Emily i thought you took a break,but maybe it was another poster with the same name?anyway agree about the bickering,and some of the nasty comments,and GOAT talk bores me to death now….

Emily Says:

Think I’m the only Emily, hope so anyway. I didn’t really post during the off season as that is when the GOAT talk reaches its height and I don’t really have a strong opinion when it comes to that debate, as bored as you are by all of that.

Hippy Chick Says:

Exactly Emily we are on the same page….

chris ford1 Says:

Skeezer – ““Slam counting aside…”
Ahh. then the argument dies.
Slams is the historical benchmark that ALL agrees. Then you go from there”

No, how well people did at 4 of 14-16 major tennis Tournaments (add 2 year end finals, Davis Cup, then Olympics) always mattered. It was Pete and Fed fans that hyped the Slam Count as the only measure of “Greatness”.

Slam Count fails on these hard facts:

1. For the 1st 10-15 years of the Open Era, the Australian Open was a quasi-Slam at best. Something the Aussies and about half the other pros bothered with. Connors showed up once, won, went back the next year, lost the Final(1974), then decided the travel and low prize money weren’t worth the bother. 2 times, and he never went back. Same with Borg, only worse. 1 year, made 3rd round, never bothered after that. Connors also skipped the French Open in his tennis prime for 4 years. Lendl missed Slams cause he felt like it.

2. Slam Counting does not reflect a player’s luck in landing in a perfect time with weak competition for 4 years and padding all his or her numbers. Or having the bad luck in terms of collecting easy wins of a Courier or Rafa or Djokovic. They faced fellow Greats or a Great they couldn’t beat while beating everyone else – for almost all their careers.

3. Slam Counting elevates longevity and perfect health and no off court issues -and conflates that with “Being a Great Player because X Slams achieved”.
On the women’s side you also have the issue of women like the Williams Sistas that forgoe families to play into their mid-30s and people like Evert and Graf who stopped at or before 30 to raise a family.

4. Slam Counting is a rather useless metric to assess the rest of the Tour pros who don’t win the 3 and now 4 adding the AO…It’s like assessing US “football” quarter backs based on number of Superbowl rings and no other factors, or B-ballers on number of NBA Championship rings. How do you judge Michael Russell as being a better player or not than David Ferrer if both have never achieved (by Pete and Roger fans and lazy writers) the only metric that counts – a holy Slam??? Or is Marin Cilic an indescribably better player than Ferrer on his holy Slam trophy???

5. It is rather ridiculous to argue that gold medals, Davis Cup wins, other major events wins (YEC and Masters 1000s) don’t count at all.

6. Sports Science – It is no secret that powerful software prograns used by very powerful and rich agents and sports management and even players – to assess value and weaknesses of current multimillion dollar players. or go into bookies odds – are being retroactively applied to judge how good past players and teams were.
This sports science, with weighing of multiplicity of inputs and vetting by running “Models” like Nicklaus 1976 vs Woods 2003 can be very useful and replace simple low reasoning, low information judgments like “Championship rings, Golf Major Count”. Such algorithms are coming to the tennis table – much to the chagrin of many fans, writers, and announcers that have rested on Slam Count the last 20 years.

SG1 Says:

Michael Says:
Rafa or Sampras – Who is the greater player ?


There’s no answer to this one if Rafa gets stopped at 14 slams (very unlikely). Sampras is my favorite player of all time but I’ll give Nadal the edge not only over Sampras but I consider him the GOAT with 15 majors.

At 14 majors a piece, some of it comes down to personal preference. As several here have said, Rafa has won slams across all surfaces. He’s owned his competition (some very elite competition in certain cases) in a way no one else ever has. He’s won the FO 9 times. No one has ever won a slam 9 times. All great arguments.

Sampras came from a very different generation. For Sampras and American players in general, it was all about winning the US Open and Wimbledon which he did better than anyone except Roger. The back ends of his years are better than Rafa’s (7 W’s and 5 USO crowns…8 USO finals). But I digress because numbers are really just numbers and they can be disputed this way and that way. What I think puts Sampras in the discussion is how he won. He won all those majors playing high risk offensive tennis. That’s a feat that sometimes gets lost. When Laver won his 11 slams, pretty much everyone S&V’d. When Sampras won his 14 slams, there were only a few left with the skill set to win slams as a Serve and Volleyer. And none of Sampras’ Serve and Volley peers have slam numbers anywhere near his.

Sampras was (at least in my mind), the best athlete to ever walk onto a tennis court. Yes, there are better strikers of the ball. There were players with bigger first serves too. But it was complete package that he presented that made so difficult to play.

So, while Rafa and Sampras are tied at 14 majors, I don’t think it would hurt anyone to give Sampras his props because when Rafa hits 15 majors, the discussion will be moot.

SG1 Says:

And there’s something else worth considering. Sampras had a blood disorder that robbed him of energy. Without that issue, he might have another 2 or 3 majors. Maybe even that elusive FO which for him, was the most physically challenging slam to win. I think it deserves to be in the equation when evaluating Pete. He didn’t ask for the condition. Nothing he did brought it on. It was just genetically there. And he won most of (if not all) of his slams while having to deal with it. Overcoming this to win 14 majors…well that’s pretty compelling statement for how great a player he was.

the DA Says:

@chris ford1

+1 Agree with your case 100%. It does not start or end with slam count – unless one is a lazy thinker.

JokerMan Says:

Joker will never be in better position to keep #1.
His antics, stupid UE’s, and weird priorities in life, will cost him the top rank, and slams (just look how he lost all finals, by the way, he’s going down in tennis history as the biggest loser, sadly).
Me thinks of 2015:
Rafael is taking Roland Garros (he looks decent in Rio, and will get better).
Roger or Andy is taking Wimbledon (good game, both).
Flushing Meadows is unpredictable these years.
I can see Joker/Rafael final there. Joker will repeat good end of the season in some way, he will bag 3 titles minimum, and I think he takes WTF again.
I believe these 4 guys will dominate tennis next 3-4 years. ‘Young guns’ will just get old in the meantime, and there will be huge vacuum around ’18-20′, everything will be up for grabs.
Good luck and injury free to all.

Andrew Says:

I think so. I see him taking the French Open this year which would put him too far ahead in the rankings until the end of the year when he’s virtually unplayable on the indoor hardcourts.
I see Federer fizzling out again this year and Nadal can’t really gain on points until the end of Summer and because he didn’t play the end of the year and started this one poorly he won’t be able to gain fast enough to take #1.

skeezer Says:

What does every player think is THE most important Tournaments within the year?
Which Tournaments carry the most points awarded, thus validating their value?
What is the most coveted tournaments to win in a players career?
What Tournaments have the most grueling physically testing of others?
What Tournaments have only 5 set formats?

Chris Ford, Shall I go on? I never said “nothing else matters”. #1, masters, a compilation of one’s accomplishments and achievements matters also, but it starts with Slam counts, and then you talk…..
You may try to convince yourself and others otherwise but you will not convince the majority of Pro Players past and present.

Hippy Chick Says:

^I guess its the slams then?^….

SG1 Says:

Like it or not, Open Era slam count is what it’s all about when tennis legacies are forged. Federer would never shed tears if he lost a Series 250, 500 or even a 1000 event. No one else would either. But, you see the real emotion come out when players lose slam finals. I’ve never heard a player get emotional about “weeks at number 1” or “number of year end number 1” stuff either. When tennis resumes are summarized, it’s always slam count that’s first up.

Borg knew it. Lendl knew it. Tiger knows it. Jack Nicklaus and Pete Sampras practically invented it. It’s all about the majors. It doesn’t matter what you and I think. Only what the players think.

Simplistic as it may appear, majors are the toughest ones to win and therefore mean the most to the players.

Wog Boy Says:

“and weird priorities in life,”

Can you list them, please?

chris ford1 Says:

SG1 – Not all players, some, consider Slam or Major sums or Superbowl rings or World Cups to be the be all end end all – usually the ones with many of them proclaiming their rivals aren’t shit. Ditto fans and at this time, Fedtard writers that worship him and can’t see anything else ( because you know where their heads are lodged).

No such thing as GOAT either, just best of era.

As is, I would not argue with a Rafa fan that Rafa isn’t the best already, based on missing 7 Slams in his prime and his h2h dominance over Federer and just about everyone else. The ONLY defenses Fed have is he has 6 YECs to Rafa’s zero and he lived half his career in the day of the real Giant Rivals like Hewitt and Roddick and never thrived and piled up cheap and easy Slam wins for that half his career. Nope, wins eked out against the best!

I think Sampras was a monster no one could hold in check, and someone says for his Time, Sampras was better than Connors or Federer in his era…I wouldn’t argue.

There are arguments for Bjorn Borg done at 26, for Rod Laver, and probably will see arguments for Djokovic if he has 3-5 more great years.

Sidney Says:

@chris ford1,
+1 Agreed 100%

For me Rafa is GOAT as of end 2014!

Wog Boy Says:

For Nole fans and others, from the other forum, Boris talks about AO and Nole and some other things, I like it:


Wog Boy Says:

@Sidney @7:33pm

You better take cover and get ready for a onslaught mate, chris ford1 too:)

skeezer Says:


And I am not putting a tagline after it like Rafa is #1 in of 2014 (sure you didn’t mean 2015? lol) nor based on if Fed, Rafa, or Nole is my fav. This base standard has been here for decades, and it is not changing anytime soon. There is no lazy thinking here, and if all of you think that it is way more than Slams, you’re making Fed look even better :)

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I think Sampras was a monster no one could hold in check, and someone says for his Time, Sampras was better than Connors or Federer in his era…I wouldn’t argue.

Who were Sampras’s main rivals. How many slams does he have to go past them?

Sidney Says:

Sampras was a more consistent version of Roddick. A big serve and not much else. In my mind tennis is much more than a serve. He was a great player, but hardly the greatest. Too much hype by US media so not his fault.

Sidney Says:

Borg quitting early means his results for ‘greatest’ consideration is also limited. Could/would/should have doesn’t count.

Sidney Says:

A good number of Roger’s slams were won against players I wouldn’t consider as great. Not his fault, but it carries weight in the consideration.

Sidney Says:

@WB, thanks for the links. Did Boris just reveal some of Novak’s secrets there? Shit.

Now others might start being more friendly in the lockers. Shit. :)

Sidney Says:

I knew that Boris guy was not good for him! :)

That this team would end very quickly! :)

Wog Boy Says:

There is one person who agrees with you about Sampras and his name is Jim Courier. I qouted him before but I’ll do it again. When during the commentary of one of Nole’s matches in first week of AO he was asked to compare Nole with dome other great players, Jim picked Sampras and said:
“Take servis game away from Sampras and he is NOT the best player in the world, take servis gama away from Nole and he IS still the best player in the world!”
Before some posters that know more about tennis than Jim Courier jump on me, I am not saying Nole has better results from Sampras but yes, Nole is far more complete player than Sampras or to qoute another person that knows little bit about tennis, Nick Bollettieri, “Nole is the most complete player ever, that I have seen.”
Just to finish, Rafa should be ranked above Sampras.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ “quoted” not “qouted”, “”some” not “dome”, “”game” not “gama” …

Brando Says:

LOL: leave TX due to a few busy days and all hell breaks lose in the meanwhile!

My take on the matter of debate in brief points:

1. Slams matter above all else. Period. The mattered most in the 10’s,20’s,30’s,40’s etc. You get the drift. They tower above all and it really starts and end with Slams.

They are the deal breaker: IF Nadal had 12 Slams he would not be compared with Sampras. But 14 Slams initiates that question. 15 Slam wins would end it.

Slams > everything.

2. Novak is all time great. This ain’t a question or a debate. IF he ended his career today he’d easily be a top 10 player of all time.

I’m a harsh critic and I say: IF your top 10 of all time with ease- you comfortably are an all time great.

So there is no debate on this.

3. Nadal or Sampras? Again being very harsh:

I’ll say Pete Sampras.

Rafa is a active player so he can change this, but for let’s respect the Pistol and hand it to me.

4. All time list? Without going into a great analysis I see it as:

1. Federer
2. Sampras
3. Nadal
4. (tie for a vairety of reasons I won’t go into)


Most current, former players, critics, commentators would agree that’s the all time top 5.

Skeezer Says:

@wog boy,
If Nole had a Sh!tty serve he would not be the best player in the world. Would like to know the full context of the discussion that Courier is quoted, but if that is flat out what he meant, he is wrong.
And put it another eay, what if Nole had Roanics serve? He’d have more Slams by now, no doubt.

Many here don’t even know Sampras’s game, probably something they just read about or were in diapers at the time. Sampras had a great FH, in fact the best running FH in the game in his era. His transition game was superb. His game was well suited for a majority of the surfaces except Clay.

Wog Boy Says:

You should ask Courier,not me, if you think he is wrong, I leave that to you to sort out with Jim. The context was that Jim was asked the question and he answered, that was the end and that was his opinion. Question was very clear, same as the answer, if you read it again.
I’ll leave it to you to sort that out with Jim Courier, I have nothing to do with his comment, I am just a messenger.
If we don’t know much about Sampras game, as you said, I guess Courier knows, though probably not as much as you do.

Skeezer Says:

If Nole didn’t have a great return game, would he be so goood?

Skeezer Says:

Its just such a loose argument to say and hang your hat on about an all time player. I actually liked to watch Agassi better, wo had a better ground game. But then Pete won a lot of GS battles as well.
I am sure most other great players have a different opinion.

autoFilter Says:

“A big serve and not much else.”

I have trouble believing that someone who has ever watched Sampras play could earnestly say this. Pete was an exceptional athlete with an absolutely phenomenal ability to finish a point.

Also, when considering his status among the greats, it’s worth recalling that he finished as year end number one for 6 straight years. To my mind, that standalone record more than offsets his missing FO, so I can’t easily put Rafa above him with both at 14 slams. Honestly, though, I can’t even compare the two because they are both so awesome in such different ways.

autoFilter Says:

Wog Boy,

Perhaps I missed something here (wouldn’t be the first time), but I don’t think Courier’s comment is sensible without some kind of context. Otherwise, let’s say: Take away Nole’s return game, and he’s no longer the number one player in the world. Take away Sampras’s return game, and he’s still the number one player.

What is the point of this? I don’t understand.

Wog Boy Says:

By the age of 28 Rafa won 14 GS, beating the GOAT on regular bases from the age of 18-19, Nole, Andy and the rest of the field too. By the age of 28 Smpras won 10 (or 11) GS titles. I think the real question is whether Rafa will catch Roger rather than whether he is better than Sampras, but what do I know anyway.
If it wasn’t for Nole, Rafa would be the GOAT by now, at the age of 28! Nole deserves drink from Roger fans, you can buy us, Nole fans one too:)

Wog Boy Says:

You didn’t miss anything, it was simle question by second commentator to Jim, between two points, what does he think about Nole’s game and to compare it and that was stright answer in one sentence and they continued watching and commentating the match. I didn’t post it as my opinion though I firmly believe that my man is the most complete player, probably ever.

Wog Boy Says:

Just to back myself up with what Nick said:

“Let me start out by saying there is never anything that is absolutely perfect. However, as I go back in time (60 years) and think about all of the players I’ve had the privilege of watching, I believe Novak’s overall game, including the mental and physical parts, may be as perfect as I’ve seen. I will explain why.”


skeezer Says:

Wog Boy,
What are you drinking? Nole has the most complete game? I woul love to see him pkay serve and volley with afed, even at 33, every point, and see who wins. His transition game is weak. Complete? Maybe later, for sure not now.

“If it wasn’t for Nole…..”
Uh? If it wasn’t for Fed, or Rafa, how many more Slams / Titles would Nole have niw? These arguments are getting funnier and funnier. Whats next? Nole creates global peace?

Nick akso conviently plugs ; visit us @ imgacademy.com and just says he is a good volleyer, does not mention transtion game.( ok his volley is good, but not great. )
Wog boy if you want have a link fight of all the great cosches and players who have said this and that about Nole vs Fed, bring it.
Fed helped Nole BE great, without Fed, who would Nole really be? Fed set the new standard and raised the bar in todays game.

Wog Boy Says:

Not drinking anything, too early, Nick is not the only one that said that Nole has the most complete game, but if that makes you happy I’ll change it to “Roger has the most complete game”…”Roger is the Goat”…”Sampras is better than Rafa”… if there is anything else you want me to tell say now because I am about to go out to watch some footy and have a drink with my mates, it is Sunday afternoon.
BTW, you really have to sort out those differences with Jim and Nick, I am just a fan not tennis expert like those two.

skeezer Says:

Don’t need to sort out their differences, there are plenty of other writers, coaches , pro players past present who can take down that. Wann start with Laver?

skeezer Says:

Nole is a great great player, he may wind up being greater than Fed or Rafa when his career is over. What will be interesting is if he dominates his year like he did in 2011. Now THAT will make interesting talk ;)

chris ford1 Says:

2015 is shaping up to be a huge year for Rafa, Nole, Fed, and Andy. What they do matters. Somehow, the stakes just got high.

*Yes, Roger has already crossed the finish line and has nothing to prove, but the guy is #2 through hard work and gave Nole a supreme battle at Wimbledon and beat him at Dubai and Shanghai last year. 2015 may be the last time at something big…beyond lauded senior statesman stuff. He takes #1, just for a little bit…he wins a Slam. He plays spoiler and takes Nole down in a match that matters. Even…dare I say it?? Beats Rafa! And the end of the year championships? Roger has a shot there. Anything can happen!

*2015 is Andy’s year to reaffirm he is deserving of being included in the Big 4.

*A year to show Nadal is not yet broken down and on the decline. Another year where Rafa again will battle to win the Euro clay season, as he always has. Once upon a time, Fed was the 2nd best player, but Rafa never feared him on clay. He fears Djokovic. Wherever they play, likely another year in the amazing Nole-Rafa rivalry maybe the last year they are equals, with an equal shot.

*Djokovic will never beat Rogers “Slam count” because of timing and having two all-time greats blocking him. As he said, in another time, quite possible he would be well into double figures at 4 events…but he wouldn’t have become as good a player. There are things Novak can do in 2015 and beyond that will seal him as an all-time great. Even when he is done be considered a player with a career that equalled the best in several eras and maybe just put him in the conversation as the best player at his very best on his best day…not Roger, Rafa, Pete, LAver….but Nole..

autoFilter Says:

Wog Boy,

Novak seems like a good pick to me, although I’m not sure he’d be mine. I agree with Skeezer that his transition game has room for improvement, but everyone’s got some weaknesses.

I still get nothing meaningful from Courier’s comment.

SG1 Says:

Jim picked Sampras and said:
“Take servis game away from Sampras and he is NOT the best player in the world, take servis gama away from Nole and he IS still the best player in the world!”


Wow. I thought Courier was smarter than this.

How about we take away Nole’s forehand (or make him a very weak returner)? Best shot to best shot. Nole doesn’t win squat and Sampras without his serve wouldn’t win much either. An apples to apples comparison would be nice. Come on Jim…wake up!

SG1 Says:

Sidney Says:
Sampras was a more consistent version of Roddick. A big serve and not much else. In my mind tennis is much more than a serve. He was a great player, but hardly the greatest. Too much hype by US media so not his fault.


LOL! This is like saying Steffi Graf is a better version of Sara Errani. Sampras was:

1) Even at age 31, a much more talented athlete than Roddick ever was in his prime.
2) Had a better all around ground game than Roddick.
3) Had a better forehand than Roddick
4) Had a better backhand than Roddick
5) Was mentally tougher than Roddick.
6) A better net player

…so in conclusion let’s just call Pete a serve and nothing else. Sad when people who know nothing about tennis put down players they’ve likely never seen other than on a YouTube video.

SG1 Says:

And Sampras wasn’t hyped by the US Media. He was largely ridiculed for being boring.

skeezer Says:

Came back to this thread to see if anything was added and saw yours. All I can say is you nailed it!

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