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Would be hard to argue Novak Djokovic is not the GOAT even if he merely equals Slam record rather than breaks it: Andy Roddick

Novak Djokovic with the 2020 Australian Open trophy
Novak Djokovic with the 2020 Australian Open trophy
Modified 18 Nov 2020, 23:30 IST

Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick believes Novak Djokovic has an advantage over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in several parameters of the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) debate. The American claimed that if Djokovic ends up with the same number of Slams as Federer or Nadal, he would deserve the GOAT title.

Roddick expressed these views during a discussion with another former top-ranked player, Jim Courier, on Tennis Channel. Courier on his part believes that Djokovic has the ability to win 5-6 more Slams while Nadal could win another 2-3, assuming they both remain fit.

“Let’s say two of them end up even as far as Grand Slams. It’s a really hard statistical case to make against Novak Djokovic if he ends up tied with the other two guys, based on head-to-head, based on year-end No. 1, based on Masters Series 1000 titles,” Roddick said. “It’s a really hard argument to make to say that Novak is not the best of all time if he ends up at least tied with the other two.”

The race for the most Grand Slam titles in men's tennis has captivated fans and experts alike in recent years. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are currently tied at 20 Majors each, with Novak Djokovic three behind at 17.

But Djokovic leads both Nadal and Federer in the head-to-head; the Serb holds a 29-27 edge over the Spaniard, and a 27-23 edge over the Swiss. Djokovic also recently tied Pete Sampras' record of finishing the most seasons as World No. 1 (six times), and will break Federer's record for most weeks at No. 1 if he remains atop the rankings till 8 March 2021.

In addition, Novak Djokovic has won more Masters Series titles - at 36 - than the other two. Rafael Nadal is one behind at 35, and Roger Federer stands at 28.

Rafael Nadal probably has 2-3 more Slams in him while Novak Djokovic is somewhere in the 5-6 range: Jim Courier

Runner-up Novak Djokovic (L) and winner Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
Runner-up Novak Djokovic (L) and winner Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open

Andy Roddick believes Djokovic will be the favorite at all the Majors except the French Open for the next couple of years. The Serb would be particularly eager to compete at the Australian Open, where he is an eight-time champion, and close in on his rivals.

"I think Novak Djokovic is the favorite in three out of the four Slams for the next year or two. If you think back in 2020, he misses Wimbledon where he’s been the best player for a long time [because it was canceled due to the pandemic]. The US Open happens and he hits the lines lady. Now it looks like Australia’s in a bit of flux. Novak’s going, ‘Come on, we gotta get on the court, we gotta play these matches while I’m in the prime of my career'," Roddick said.

Jim Courier meanwhile estimates that Novak Djokovic will win more Grand Slams going forward than either Federer or Nadal, as long as he remains healthy.

“The way I see it....Novak will win more Majors from today than the other two players, I believe,” Courier said. “Nadal I think will be second in that competition. Federer, maybe he has another one in him. But I think Nadal has probably got 2-3 more in him, I think that Djokovic is somewhere in that 5-6 range, all assuming health.”
Published 18 Nov 2020, 23:09 IST
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