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"Stick Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal in a tournament with multiple surfaces" - Andre Agassi on the GOAT debate

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019
Modified 27 Mar 2021

Andre Agassi recently gave his thoughts on the 'GOAT' debate, but avoided picking any one of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal as the most deserving candidate for the title. Agassi believes that he will only be able to pick his 'GOAT' once the three of them retire, or if they somehow get to play in an all-surface event.

Agassi is one of the all-time greats in tennis, having won eight Slam titles. The 50-year-old also boasts of having won the Career Grand Slam - a feat later matched by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

While speaking in an interview with CNBC TV18, Agassi was asked to name the player he considers as the greatest of all time - an exercise he backed out from.

"The problem in answering that is that their careers are still going on, you know what I mean," Agassi said. "So there’s still a lot to be determined."
Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi then explained why it is difficult to label one of Federer, Djokovic or Nadal as the 'GOAT'. The American believes there are many factors that influence this debate, and that judging the players by their overall career-graph or one-time peak form would give many different answers.

"I think if you took the three best to talk about - obviously Roger, Rafa & Novak," the American went on. "It is different to say who has the best career and it is different to say when somebody is playing at their best, who is the best."

Agassi did claim, however, that each surface has its own 'GOAT'. According to the American, we can only decide who among Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal is the greatest of all time if an all-surface event comprising of 'hundred' matches between the three was organized.

"We have the best on fast grasscourts with Roger, we have the best on clay, and we have the best on hardcourts," Agassi said. "So stick them in a tournament that has multiple surfaces, and make them play each other a hundred times and I will give you the answer."

Andre Agassi explains why his relationship with Novak Djokovic came to an end

Andre Agassi with Novak Djokovic at the 2017 French Open
Andre Agassi with Novak Djokovic at the 2017 French Open

Andre Agassi served as Novak Djokovic’s coach from May 2017 to March 2018 - a period filled with palpable discord between the two. During his conversation with CNBC, Agassi admitted that he had failed to provide the necessary support to Djokovic during their stint together.

But the 50-year-old did mention that he had earnestly hoped to help Novak Djokovic, in addition to getting closer to the Serb’s family.

"I wasn't helping him for me," Agassi said. "My reasons were because I believed that it's best for tennis if somehow he could get the best out of himself and then getting to know him & his family, I had a desire to help."

Andre Agassi also strongly indicated that he and Novak Djokovic had different methods and ideas, which greatly affected their relationship and eventually rendered it untenable.

"My goal is to help you, but if I am in your way or if I am stopping your process or interfering with your process then it's best I sort of step out of your way," the American added. "But I can't necessarily subscribe to the choices that you are making."
Published 27 Mar 2021, 23:29 IST
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