The debate on who among the Big 3 - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - has the biggest claim to the GOAT title, is unlikely to get resolved until the three legends retire. But with Djokovic winning his 18th Major at the Australian Open, the topic has caught fire once again in recent weeks.
The Serb is now just two Slams short of the men's record of 20, held jointly by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In light of that, Tennis Channel recently asked some prominent personalities from the tennis community who their pick for the GOAT in men's tennis was. Not surprisingly, the answers varied a lot.
Doubles legend and noted tennis commentator Todd Woodbridge named Roger Federer as his pick for the GOAT. The Australian chose Federer because of the Swiss' classic all-court game, which he personally gives more weightage to.
Woodbridge also believes Roger Federer would have won multiple French Open titles (one of the oft-mentioned lacunae in the Swiss' resume) had it not been for Rafael Nadal.
"If I was to pick who the greatest is for me, it would be Roger Federer," Woodbridge said. "Because Roger for me is the greatest all-court player that we have ever seen. He would have won more French Opens if it were not for Rafael Nadal dominating there. His Grand Slam tally would be far more even."
"But I look at the classical part of the game," the Aussie added. "Forehand, backhand, movement, transition to the net; all court game for me is the winner when we talk about the GOAT."
Four-time Slam champion and noted tennis analyst Jim Courier claimed that he couldn't pick any one of the three as the GOAT, given that they are all still active on the tour. But Courier did predict that Novak Djokovic would likely end up as the greatest from a statistical perspective.
"Who I think is going to be the GOAT when it's all said and done based on the pure numbers, if we take emotions and fan favoritism out of it, I think it will be Novak Djokovic," Courier said. "I think eventually he'll claim most of the most significant numbers and have a real strong case to be the GOAT."
For me, if there is no Roger Federer, there would be no tennis: Alexander Bublik on the GOAT debate
In the video, noted tennis journalist Nick McCarvel, renowned coach Daniel Vallverdu and British tennis pro Heather Watson refused to give a clear-cut choice for the GOAT. But for Alexander Bublik, there is simply no looking beyond Roger Federer.
"Roger Federer is tennis, guys," Bublik said. "I don't know. It's simple. For me, if there is no Roger there would be no tennis as we see nowadays."