The GOAT debate - between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - has been raging on for a while now. But Milos Raonic believes there's no easy answer to the debate, and that the more important aspect to talk about is how lucky the sport is to have the three legends competing in the same era.
Raonic, now ranked No. 21 in the world, was speaking at the ATP event in St. Petersburg after beating home favorite Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals.
"It's hard to debate it now because there is a lot of open-ended things," Raonic said. "You have Rafael Nadal, who's gonna be around we hope to play more tennis. You have Roger Federer, who's gonna be back next year to play more tennis. You have Novak Djokovic, who may be has age on his side and has definitely been the healthiest of them, especially over the last few years."
According to the Canadian, the criterion for determining the GOAT shouldn't just be the number of Grand Slams won. Raonic believes there are several other factors to consider, which he laid out during his response to the media in St. Petersburg.
"You know it's not only about the Grand Slams," Raonic continued. "Weeks at No. 1 matters, head-to-head results against each other - those matter. How many times you win each Grand Slam those matter, how many Masters series you win, there's a lot, you know. So there's always gonna be an argument about who is the greatest of all time."
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are currently tied at 20 Grand Slams each, and they are followed by Novak Djokovic who has won 17 Slams. At the Masters series level, it is Novak Djokovic who leads the list with 36 titles, followed by Rafael Nadal with 35 and Roger Federer with 28.
Federer leads the record for most weeks at No. 1 with 310 weeks, although that record is under threat from Novak Djokovic. The Serb is at 290 weeks currently and has a good chance of overtaking Federer if he remains No. 1 till March 2021. Nadal is on 6th place in this stat with 209 weeks at No. 1.
Very lucky to have Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic playing at the same time: Milos Raonic
The Canadian feels fortunate that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are all competing in the same era, as it makes their achievements much more comparable - as opposed to judging players across different eras.
"I think we're very lucky to be able to have that argument all in the same generation where you can compare the guys all rather than comparing some players from now to players from 20 years ago to players from 40 years ago," Raonic said. "It's really a pleasure to have three guys in front of you all at the same time that u can have that comparison."Published 17 Oct 2020, 18:24 IST