Sorry Roger Federer fans. Sorry Rafael Nadal fans. The debate over the Greatest of All Time in the men’s game is over, it’s Novak Djokovic.
In terms of popularity, Federer is still on top, then Nadal and then Djokovic (though Andy Murray might have a case).
But on paper, it’s over. By tying Roger and Rafa with 20 Sunday at Wimbledon, Djokovic has now firmly established himself as the men’s GOAT… FOR NOW.
Federer isn’t winning another Grand Slam. Nadal could still win this upcoming US Open and another French and maybe Djokovic stays 20, but RIGHT NOW it’s Djokovic’s.
Just look at what he’s done that his rivals have not:
* Won TWO Career Slams
* Won the first three Slams to start the season
* Winning records over Nadal (30-28) and Federer (27-23)
* Defeated both Nadal and Federer in epic matches in their favorite Slams (for ex, Nadal at 2021 French; Federer at 2019 Wimbledon)
* Has record for most weeks at No. 1
* Will have record for most year-end No. 1 finishes
* Has won all 9 Masters events TWICE
What is he missing?
* Olympic gold
I don’t know much else.
If he plays the Olympics he’ll go in as the clear favorite in Tokyo. He’s stated he wants to win both Tokyo and the US Open, but given the choice, maybe the US Open is now more important because it gives him 21 and the Calendar Slam. So does he go to a fan-less Tokyo and risk injury or burn out? It’s a massive, massive decision with so much history at stake. We’ll find out in the coming days if not hours.
Looking far ahead into the crystal ball, I give Djokovic another year to dominate. With the pressure forthcoming, the US Open is no cinch, and Djokovic has had his issues there (one title in the last five years). But he could certainly take home Australia and Wimbledon next year and then Australia in 2023 which in my mind could wrap it up.
I do think after the 2023 French Open, we’ll have a new non-Big 3 guy on top and the Djokovic run will be all but done with maybe another stray Slam somewhere else to get him to 24 or 25.
It is breathtaking to see three guys all tied with 20 when few thought anyone could pass Pete Sampras at 14. And while we all say now no man is going to catch them, I think someone will.
By 2045, some 10 year old kid who right now is sitting at home playing video games, eating ice cream, will emerge as the new star and take over the sport. Where there are Slams to be won, people will win them. Novak Djokovic is living proof of that.
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