Controversial as this may be, the greatest tennis player of all time could very well be Djokovic, if we look from another angle of argument. The reigning GOAT in tennis by convention is Roger Federer, when measured by the conventional absolute metric of total number of grand slams won so far. This is not an entirely accurate assessment in our opinion. Read on to find out!
A thought experiment
Let's indulge ourselves in this thought experiment. Imagine Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, all being of the same age. Who would come out on top over the rest? There is a high probability that Federer will be the weakest among the three.
Federer's skewed winning record
Such opinion of ours could be made clear when one considers how most of Federer's grand slam wins were made before the coming of the prime periods of Djokovic and Nadal. Out of the 20 grand slams won by Federer, 16 were won before the year 2010, and 3 were won after the year 2017. What explains the fact that he only managed to win 1 grand slam between 2010 and 2017? Well, those years were when Djokovic and Nadal were in their prime, and Federer's losing to them on a regular basis is testament to such. In fact, Federer was already losing to them quite frequently before 2010.
What does this mean?
Federer was basically lucky to be born in an era when no opponent could challenge him. The proof that the most dangerous of these - Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt and a few others - were nowhere near one-of-the-greatest-of-all-time standards could be seen in how they do were frequently beaten by the other members of the Big 4 with ease.
You may argue though that Federer went past his prime during the prime years of Djokovic and Nadal
This may be true to certain extent, but we believe that age is and was largely of no relevance to Federer, given his economical style of play. Furthermore, his resurgence last year is just proof that age could very well be an asset, given the importance of skill in his game. The older you are in the game, the wiser you are, and the more skillful you become.
The GOAT status will then be a contest between Nadal and Djokovic
So who comes out on top of the other? Djokovic. Before 2010 (lets just assume both Djokovic and Nadal reached their primes in this year for simplicity's sake), Nadal has won 5 grand slam titles. Djokovic won one pre-2008. This makes them winning 12 grand slam titles each after 2010. Why Djokovic in our opinion then? He is the more consistent performer from 2010 to 2018 in terms of grand slam results, the less injured one and the more holistic one (being more proficient in all court surfaces).
What do you think?
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