Grand SlamsRoger Federer

Is Roger Federer Out Of The GOAT Race?

As Nadal and Djokovic make impressive gains in the major title count, can we say that Federer is still in the running to be called the “greatest of all time”?

Fans of Roger Federer must be experiencing a kind of sporting no man’s land. As this year’s tennis season rages on, Federer is out of the picture.

Big names win big titles, but the usual roster of champions is missing an obvious name. Though eagerness is directed towards Federer’s upcoming appearance for the ATP 500 event in Basel, his absence is noticeable, having not played since Wimbledon 2021. 

In his last match, he was defeated by Hubert Hurkacz in three sets. The score line of 6-3, 7-6, 6-0 is a particularly sour note to end on and mixes uneasily with any optimism that fans might have for his future.

It got worse when Federer dropped out of the rankings for the first time earlier this month. The ATP website bears a bizarre “Inactive” marker that one would expect on profiles of past giants of the sport, long retired.

With this recent decline, a reasonable question is whether Federer is out of the GOAT race?

If we define “greatness” in our world of tennis by a number of Grand Slams, then the answer is arguably – “yes”.

While Federer broke the record for reaching 20 majors after winning the Australian Open in 2018, Rafael Nadal equalled Federer’s record in 2020 by winning the French Open and became the new record-setter by reaching 21 at the 2022 Australian Open, then 22 at the 2022 French Open.

djokovic wimbledon 2022

Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, made a sterling performance at Wimbledon this year, overtaking Federer’s 20 slams but also being just one behind the Swiss’s record for eight total and five consecutive titles at The All England Club.

The other important factor is that Nadal and Djokovic still possess enormous staying power; to keep appearing in these major finals, overcome chief rivals and defeat their big three counterparts for the title.

Nadal’s victory in Australia was significant because he had not won the tournament since 2009 and experienced a hard-court renaissance. On the way to his 2022 French Open title, he defeated Djokovic in the quarter-finals – a complete reversal from his surprise 2021 exit at the hands of the Serb.

Djokovic has shown his fortitude by winning the most important tournament of the year at Wimbledon after the drama of being locked out of the Australian Open. He remained fiercely competitive and technically consistent, despite not playing any tournament matches between Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

On the other hand, Federer has not defeated Nadal or Djokovic since 2019. 2019 is also crucial because it is the last time Federer won the Miami Open as part of what I would call the “key tournaments” – either a grand slam, Masters 1000 or ATP Finals.

At Miami, Federer was loose and free from outcome. He was hitting his backhand much as he did in 2017 with more power and flair. His movement was fluid, and he was quick to use any opportunity to attack with precision.

There is one glimmer of hope, however. Though Federer has been beset with difficulties in recent months, trying to rehabilitate his surgically operated knee, if his footwork is solid, he could still have a chance at winning another “key” title. The mental position of playing in what could be his last season would surely give Federer the energy to give his all.

But whatever happens to the grand slam count, Federer’s tournament participation or the success of the remaining “big three”, there are qualities that can keep Federer in the running as “the greatest”.

Whether it’s his graceful style of play, the elegant mixture of power and precision, the all-court game from the net and baseline, his demeanour during and after play, his gentlemanly attitude, or the way he transcends the game – to some, he is, and always will be, the GOAT.

federer sunshine double

Do you think Federer will always remain the GOAT? Can he mount a successful comeback to win a “key tournament”?

And can Nadal and Djokovic continue to stretch their major count? Leave your comments below. 

Alex Nulliah

My name is Alex Nulliah and I am a tennis writer from Bath. I enjoy writing about tennis, International Relations and anything else which takes my interest. At Exeter University I took a BA in History and an MA in Applied Security Strategy. I love playing tennis.

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71 Comments

  1. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!

    If you deal purely in numbers then Serena and that witch Margaret Court are “greater” than Martina, yet the dogs in the street know who is more loved, respected, played a greater game, was better for the sport, more of a role model etc etc – ergo “greater”.

    Numbers are meaningless.

    1. Numbers are meaningless, if you are 16 or 20.No more when you close to 80. In terms of performance sports Federer is closing to 80.

      1. Interesting comments

        It raises questions for me…

        Why is Court a “witch”?

        And if so are all Christians, Jews, and Muslims who adhere to their basic religious teachings on sexual morality witches and sorcerers?

        Or has Court done something particularly bad?

        And lastly – must one agree with those who adhere to LGBTQ+ beliefs and behaviors to be considered not a witch?

        …is that really faithful to the values of “diversity and “tolerance” espoused for so long by liberal society?

        Or can one disagree with LGBTQ+ adherents – stating true to their own beliefs and convictions – and yet still be respectful of their dignity and rights – just as many people of faith and non-faith May vehemently disagree and yet live with each other in peace?

    2. Federer isn’t even the greatest of his generation- ha has losing records against both Nadal and Djoker, and has won less grand slams than both. Djoker also broke his record for most consecutive weeks as a number one. Not to mention Federer won a huge amount or his titles beating nobodies like Robin Soderling and he had no real rivals until two kids Djoker and Nadal showed up.

      1. Federer is older than Andy Roddick, who has a winning record against Novak Djokovic. I would not say that matters much, because in tennis they are really different generations. At the time of Roddick’s retirement (2012), Federer led Djokovic 16-12, but Federer continued to play way past a typical tennis players prime. Djokovic overtook Federer in H2H on Jan 18, 2016, when Federer was 34 and Djokovic was 28.
        Federer has 237 consecutive weeks at #1. Djokovic has 122, also behind Connors(160) and Lendl(157), and he is very unlikely to move up that list. Djokovic does have the record for most *total* weeks at #1 — a very impressive 373!
        I would say that before Pete Sampras, many people considered Roy Emerson, then Major titles leader, to be an all time great, but very few thought he was obviously the greatest of all time.

  2. The GOAT debate is a fruitless one.

    The same Nadal fans that were arguing Grand Slam count wasn’t the factor are now saying it is the number one factor.

    The same Federer fans that used Grand Slams as the number one factor have now switched to the arguments Nadal fans were presenting when Federer held the record 😂

    1. 100% agree. The key phrase of the article is “to some, he is, and always will be, the GOAT.”.
      It should have told the author to delete the article before publishing. Because “GOAT to some” is pure nonsense. Want to know, what fans think? Or which fans are better organized? Do a popular vote and you get the answer “to how many ‘some'” is Federer GOAT. No need to count anything, no need to debate about definition, because in the GOAT formulation one crucial thing lacks – namely “what/who”. Greatest XXX Of All Times would have more sense. Like “Greatest Server of All Times”, “Greatest Fans Darling of All Times” (with the little problem, that only few Rod Laver fans are still alive and available for voting.
      So yes, everything we have ever told/written in GOAT debate, was only emotional blah, blah, blah. And it will always be. Better change the article’s titles (Dear Author, please don’t take it as an offense) to BLAH BLAH BLAH (the only article I could have written in times, when Federer is out of tennis and most probably comes back only to say Farewell).

  3. Even though I don’t think Roger Federer will ever be back to what he was winning tournaments as he did, and be the leading the slam rankings, he will still be the GOAT in other ways for what he has brought(&will leave to the game) inspiring others, his style & temprement & passion to the game like no one else.

    1. Nice and true, but strictly subjective. GOAT was meant to be something objective but it failed. Greatest of All Times – Ivo Karlovic?

  4. Greatness is more than just winning major events. Look at the Beatles – many bands have sold way more records and are still going strong, so they could be said to be more successful. However, no other band has had such an all consuming effect on a generation. Federer is of this ilk. He may not be front runner for grand slam wins, but Federer fever is still rampant because he is the complete package, not just an automatic winning machine. Will he have any more major wins? Nobody knows, not even Federer. But if he feels that he can still compete reasonably competitively then good luck to him. Perhaps winning isn’t everything to him now. He has nothing to prove and everything to offer.

    1. Thanks, Jen, agree in all. 😊
      When I became fan in2014, he was in a down period. Many of us declared – lose or win, we consider you greatest whatever! – And he was still winning new fans in spite of losing. That might be a parameter as well? The biggest number of winnings – well might one be too. But in some years’ time, who will be the most honoured? Rod Laver is one of them for ever. Some others too. RF of course.

      1. Rod Laver fans are mostly long dead. How many living fans have seen him playing?
        In 10-20 years all Federer fans will be to find on graveyards only.
        Nothing is for ever in life. Only the final silence.

    2. Hahaha … yes, winning isn’t everything for XXX once he cannot win anymore. The same logic in every sentence. But maybe blood circulating faster in your veins – BTW not always good for the patient 😉

    3. Jen thank you, I agree with you. I owe it to Roger my liking of Tennis, his gracefulness and kindness with everybody is inspiring. When he stopped playing I thought maybe I would stop watching tennis but no, I find myself still interested though, of course, miss his style and cool. And can’t wait to see him play again.

      1. I remember the first time I saw Federer play. I had been out of touch with tennis for quite some time, only because we were living and working on a boat for many years and had no TV or radio. We were in a pub on Wimbledon final day and he was playing Andy Roddick. I was mesmerised and thought, who is this man? The crowd worship him and I’ve never seen such graceful ease in a game. Added to that, he was Swiss and my Mum is Swiss, so I warmed to him immediately. That was it, I was hooked in a way I hadn’t been since watching Borg when I was at school. That is true greatness in my book – he captured the world just for being who he is.

  5. GOAT criteria has always been based on numbers of GS titles. Sadly Roger is no longer in the conversation as since he a few GS behind Nadal and Djokovic. For me, now I will put it as ‘my’ GOAT is Roger as he made tennis more popular before likes of Nadal Djokovic came along. The way he plays tennis, there is no like him in this lifetime. The cheer he receives during the 100 years for Center Court celebration shows how popular he still is. People love to watch his style of tennis… oozing with elegance and finesse. Nadal and Djokovic fans can continue GOAT debate among themselves, while I continue to be grateful to watch Roger on court in the a few more months before the real ‘R’ word really sinks in.

    1. Pammy
      Thoroughly agree with you both
      Also the players today have better everything, don’t have jobs as well as tennis like the ones before them.
      And a lot of them did not play all the GS especially the Australian Open when it was played around Christmas/New Year period.
      Cheers🐨🐨🐨🐨🐨

  6. Might’ve stayed the GOAT if he hadn’t choked on match points at Wimbledon 2019 and won a slam at 37.9 years old, beating his two biggest rivals in the same slam for the first time. But the strongest case for Federer which tennis media ALWAYS forgets to mention (they give the usual weak reasons like grace and elegance which aren’t going to convince anyone who understands tennis is not a popularity contest) is that he was the strongest in his prime. 2004-2007 Federer would beat the best version of Djokovic, this was before his losses to Nadal on clay got in his head. One could argue that the competition wasn’t as strong back then. But we saw how peak Novak in 2011 lost to post-prime Federer at the French and had to come back from 2 sets, match points down at the US Open… Had he faced Roger four years younger (not the 2011 version who was losing to players like Tsonga at Wimbledon from 2 sets up), he would have lost handily. If anyone wants to argue that Roger is the greatest, they should mention his peak.

    1. What’s interesting about the 2019 Wimbledon is that Federer would have won the 21st slam and a 9th Wimbledon, both numbers contained in 2019. And a big 0 for Djokovic and Nadal. Beating both of them when it mattered the most.
      That’s why I think the weak era argument is not a valid one. There is no weak era. These people should watch the game, not the opponents. When I say the game I mean the speed, power, tactics, shotmaking.
      It’s harder to play on a faster court. The thinking, concentration, movement, decision making, is different. You make a wrong move, play the wrong shot, there’s no recovery. Today’s courts give players more room.
      Today’s tennis physically more demanding? Yeah, that’s why we have 30 year olds dominating.
      Nadal and Djokovic on those courts? Against 04-07 Fed? Sure, try better next time I say to them.
      I would argue though, that the Sampras era was more balanced because the courts were what they are supposed to be.
      Federer played on a slower grass, still fast but similar to the speed of hard courts at the time.
      Now all courts (except for a couple of tournaments which can be counted on one hand) are the same speed, slow, it’s just the bounce that’s different. So if all courts were the same you would think the game is balanced. But is it really? To me it looks like it favors the players who have a game for slower courts.

      What Roger is lacking is a best tournament final win/loss record.
      Nadal has never lost a RG final, Djokovic has never lost an AO final and Sampras never lost a Wimbledon final. But then again, Sampras never won RG, so the GOAT must be Nadal or Djokovic.

  7. “Whether it’s his graceful style of play, the elegant mixture of power and precision, the all-court game from the net and baseline, his demeanour during and after play, his gentlemanly attitude, or the way he transcends the game – to some, he is, and always will be, the GOAT.” That sums it up for me….and more.
    He is a great role model for life in general. Lets things go and is excited for the next adventure. When he retires, it will be a happy time for him, a job well done.

    Yes, Federer is “my” GOAT….and always will be. I suppose people like to argue about anything and everything in life. PRF?

    1. Sure 🙂 I’m not arguing but discussing. Discussion is “salt of life” 🙂
      But of course I don’t see the point in discussing someone’s private GOAT or GOD 😉

      1. BTW – I would also love to see him on court, but rather in an exhibition, without unnecessary pressure on him. And he is excellent in exhibitions!

  8. For all practical reasons Roger is out the GOAT race. I do think if he gets healthy and with some luck in placement he could potentially win Wimbledon. It’s not nearly as taxing as the other three and at 41 I believe his only chance is Wimbledon and he would still be behind Rafa with 21.

  9. Merryweather has more KOs than Ali.

    Barry Bonds has more HRs than Babe Ruth.

    Very few would argue Ali and Ruth are eclipsed by Merryweather and Bonds in greatness.

    GOAT is certainly more than numbers, and is both subjective and an amalgamation of a social cultural impression.

    I think Federer will have a strong case for being as great or greater than the others for time to come.

    His nearly 5 years straight of peak dominance has not be equaled and more than that, the unyielding aggression, aesthetic beauty, and the fire power of his game in his best years will leave an impression that won’t be undone by 40 slams won with relatively less much interesting and intense play.

    Winning many slams is a great achievement, but it tells us – on its own – virtually nothing about the comparative quality of the athlete or his game in their best years compared to others.

    I think that’s why post-prime Fed’s ability to beat prime Novak at the FO in ‘11 and Wimby in 12 and hold match points at the USO in ‘10 and ‘11 speaks well for his comparative greatness.

  10. Roger beat Nadal in Wimbledon sf after losing to him and more importantly a 50km/hr hurricane in the sf of RG a month earlier. That was the only match that he lost to Nadal since 2013. He has beaten him seven times between 2013 and now.
    He was clearly the better player in the Wimbledon final 2019 though he wasted two match points.

  11. I think it’s difficult for Federer to be seen as the outright GOAT because of the losing H2H at slams against Djokovic and Nadal. Also I believe the fact that Djokovic and Nadal both have achieved the double career grand slam and Fed hasn’t is also significant.

    That being said, right now I have them all even but I think Novak will eventually push ahead, not only with the slam record but also Master 1000 record.

  12. Federer is technically the best but as a match player etc and records, he is a distant third. Djokovic is the main problem: he has won more slams, masters series, has been world no 1 for many more weeks., has a better slam head-to-head record, is better on grass (beaten Fed in all three finals) and Federer chokes against him, every time, six match points lost in two US Open semis and then Wimbledon final 2019. I would love Federer to return and win one more slam…..

  13. I think he would be the people’s champion but nothing more. Despite that no one could argue the GOAT title be defined fairly, since eras can’t be comparable, it was nice that Roger had the numbers over the other two guys.
    Nowadays thanks to the longest and dreadful weak era, the dumb people who only cares about meaningless stats will reign over the massified opinion.

  14. Why not adopt the definition players propose?? Agassi was the goat in his time,,borg the goat in his time,,McEnroe the goat in his,,Federer had a goat,,Nadal has a goat as well as djokovic,laver before all of those,( interesting that this app capitalizes some for me and for others not) ,,, I’m 60 years old, why not define goats by generational greatness,,there may hopefully be other goats to come,, actually,,certainly will be,,if tennis continues, so stop goat,,make it greatest of a generation,,goag,,not as catchy,,but,,given rackets have changed,,balls have changed the courts have changed,,even the emphasis on slams has changed, how could a goat ever be actual??

  15. Just wondering, who and when invented the GOAT thing. I guess it was Federer fans, believing that nobody will overcome Federer at slam count. Then I’m wondering, if there is another place in the Internet, than Federer fanpage(s) or maybe also Nadal fanpages.
    Thanks God not on Eurovision, because there Federer would lose to Zelensky. 😉
    I would propose to nominate Big3 for the title of Tennis Holy Trinity, add their all slam titles and call the THT GOAT. Then wait an eternity to see if no new Trinity appears. Almost certainly not in the life of most of us, so while dying we would be blessed to see our prediction to come true – just for everyone dying 😉

  16. Big4 in the Laver Cup – what an outing. All 4 telling tennis world farewell? Then everyone an additional individual farewell with Federer (as the oldest) deservedly first, in Basel 2022. Then Nadal in Barcelona, Murray in London (or Glasgow in independent Scotland?) and Djoker in Belgrade. Then big banner all along the Equator with inscription “THE END” (of all times)

  17. In random order…no, I don’t think Roger can/will win another “key” title, although he could win another smaller title or two if certain players are limited, they don’t enter, and/or have a bad day/match and are eliminated in the rounds. Look, folks, I’m as much a Roger fan as any, but you have to be realistic…he’s 41 and forward…5-6 years older than his other rivals, not just 1-2 years older like between Nadal and Novak, and at Roger’s age/stage, those additional years are even more critical than, say, the same age differences of ages 25-30 or 30-35. He’s already made an incredible comeback of sorts that no one expected in 2017 and 2018 with those last three major wins…and if he had just been able to win that record-long Wimbledon final against Novak where he had three match points, much of this may not be such an issue. Still, I believe…to me…Roger IS and maybe always will be the GOAT, all things considered and compared of equal ages/stages of their careers…but admit it’s close and easily debatable. PLUS, there’s the issue of sportsmanship, image, fans, popularity during their respective times, et al, which I think Roger clearly wins. I would not be surprised if Nadal does not/cannot win another Major, if maybe just one more if the “cards” fall into place. I expect Novak to win two or three more…but even that’s not a sure thing given what’s happening, the competition, et al. One thing’s for sure…we will NEVER again see a BIG THREE such as this…these numbers and accomplishments, et al…at virtually the same time in their careers. Probably not even TWO at the same time like this…and likely never even ONE to equal 20 major victoies.

    1. It’s a matter of fans’ generations. In 2-3 years most of by-then active fans will be excited with Alcaraz and similar, as they emerge and Federer will be for them only a noble historic figure. So long the Federer fans generation is still active (rather in social media than on tennis arenas – who has seen in last 2 years more than 5 guys ob a big arena wearing RF cap?).
      It’s natural. So every fans’ generation may have their GOAT’s and they will not be comparable, like Rod Laver or even Björn Borg is not comparable with Federer or Nadal.
      Federer will remain GOAT or even GOD in the souls and minds of many but no more in the public.

      1. IAW – GOAT is not an attribute of any tennis player. It’s an attribute of a state of individual soul/spirit/mind/…
        SOMEONE is GOAT for YOU. This person may have never existed. But you may believe, you have existed for some time or you still exist. The story is about YOU. Not about the physical carrier of the idea of GOAT.

  18. Here’s the thing. A few years back when Roger was ahead of the Grand Slam pack by a good margin, I was confident that Roger Federer was the male tennis GOAT. I mean, who else could be so awesome?? As the Grand Slam race tightened, and then Roger’s place moved from 1, to 2, to 3, I re-formed my idea of the tennis GOAT criteria. As it turns out I don’t give two hoots who the tennis GOAT is, but I do know that Roger is MY GOAT (as several of you have said above). I am pretty sure that this sentiment will never change!!!

    Go RF

    1. They say “if facts don’t fit theory, the worse for the facts 😉 Theory says, masks work against Covid. Fact is, they don’t. The worse for the facts. Let’s wear masks 🙂
      Your MY GOAT is just such a mask. It’s obvious, Federer is no more GOAT (it’s a rule, I guess, in any sports to set criteria before the race) and will never be.
      Because GOAT is a purely abstract idea but fans wanted to have some definition, so nobody can question, who is GOAT, changing rules after the race is over for our hero, tells only about who you (fan) are, not who the hero is.
      You can’t live without being sure, your hero is GOAT, so you redefine the title.
      BTW – YOUR GOAT will dye with you. The real GOAT will never dye, but maybe replaced by someone better (in this meaning). I have never heard about idea to change how clock works, so Carl Lewis or Ben Johnson stay the GOAT of the sprint.

      1. Correct. You interpreted my post as I intended. As a fan, I can choose to be non-sensical and create my own definition, which is changeable. Thus I am not deluding myself, rather I define the facts as I wish them to be.

      2. OK, Chris. What you need now (or maybe you are just done with this) is to forget the >”formal” GOAT thing and stick with your own definition, so it’s untouchable for so long you want 😉 You don’t actually need to redefine anything. The former (slam-count) definition was a temporary lye by design. I think, your MY GOAT concept was in you since ever and you don’t need to redefine anything because you actually never defined anything. I guess, you and all your brothers-and-sisters-in-faith somehow knew, what you care of, is not the media-born and oriented concept, which is naturally short lived, but your deep emotion, not needing any formalization because it belongs to you no matter what you say or do 🙂 This is the best way to make it individually eternal. It was born when you started to be Federer’s fan and it will dye either with your fandom or (sorry) with you as an individual.
        If I wanted to be more philosophical, I would say – it’s in fact about GreatestOfYourTimes = GOYT (doesn’t sound so good ;))

  19. In my opinion Roger has the most spectacular tennis of modern times combined with victories and titles, correct attitude in court and sportsmanship, thus to me he is the GOAT. Nadal has all of that too, but I prefer Roger’s game.

  20. Come to reality.
    Federer cannot be the GOAT.
    Nadal & Djokovic > Federer
    Record is history.
    Numbers don’t lie.
    Nadal vs Federer : GS 22>>20
    Djokovic vs Federer : GS21>20 、Weeks No.1 : 373>310、Year End No.1 : 7>5
    And Nadal & Djokovic has “Double career grand slam” ,but Federer hasn’t.
    And Federer H2H lost to Nadal & Djokovic.

  21. Federer still helds 3 very important records: he helds the record of most Wimbledon titles – 8 with 5 in a role – at the most important tournament of the world. At the 2nd most important tournament the US Open he helds the Open Era record with 5 titles – all in a role – tied with Sampras and Connors. And he helds with six titles the record at the ATP Finals. And at the Australian Open he is the 2nd best of all time tied with Emerson with six titles behind the nine titles of Djokovic. And here are some stats that many are not aware of: Hard courts H2H Djokovic leads 20-7 against Nadal, the last nine he won without dropping a set. On grass it is 2-2, but nobody will deny that Djokovic is the better grass player too with 7 Wimbledon titles and Nadal with “just” two. So the close H2H of just 30-29 for Djokovic is so close just because of the fact that they played each others very often on clay. Even on clay Djokovic has won 8 matches against Nadal with Nadal leading 20-8 on this surface. Meanwhile Federer has a 1-3 at grass against Djokovic, a 4-4 on clay against him and a 18-20 on hard courts. All in all it is 27-23 for Djokovic. The H2H between Nadal and Federer is 24-17 for Nadal allthough Federer has a positive H2H on grass and hard courts. 3-1 on grass and 12-9 on hard courts, on clay it is 14-2 for Nadal, the last six matches on hard courts has won all Federer against Nadal, the last 3 ones without dropping a set. The favourable H2H for Nadal vs Federer is because of the huge lead of Nadal on clay and the small lead of Federer on the other surfaces. At the slams Nadal leads the H2H against Djokovic and Federer, but also because of clay because the played many matches in Paris. And the H2H not tells allways the whole story: at the Australian Open Nadal leads 3-1 against Federer, but it is Federer who has won the tournament six times, Nadal just 2 times. The “weak era” at the prime of Federer is no argument for me as you can probably say that the best players have been better than the Next Gen players. Hewitt, Safin and Roddick have all been No 1, Safin and Hewitt have won 2 slams and Roddick just one because of Federer who has beaten him in 7 of his 10 apearances at a semi final o final of a slam. The first semi final Roddick lost against Schüttler from Germany, in 2003 he has won the us Open and in 2005 he lost the semis of the Australian Open against Hewitt who lost the final against Safin who has beaten Federer in the semis. So the weak era of Federer prime was not so weak like ma people think. But back to Nadal/Federer/Djokovic: Djokovic has won 12 slams on hard courts, Federer 11, Nadal just six, on grass Federer has won 8 times, Djokovic 7 times, Nadal just 2 times. And Nadal never won the ATP Finals, Federer six times, Djokovic 5 times. Nadal has just 2 indoor titles on his belt, one of it on clay, the other one in Madrid. And they are even Nadal fans saying that a player withh just 2 titles in Wimbledon can not be called the GOAT. Anyway, I think the point that I wanted to make is clear: Nadal is of course the best on clay, but on all the other surfaces Federer and Djokovic are better and far more successfull at the most important touraments. Plus they are the players with most weeks at No 1, Nadal far behind. So for me it is very obvious that Djokovic and Federer are or have been the completer players than Nadal.

  22. Yes and No.

    Yes but a qualified yes, if we take only slams as a measure then yes he very most probably come second but second only to Djoko in my view. Why ? Because Nadal great as he is, has too narrow a focus on the FO, with 2/3s of his slams coming from that one tournament makes his record overskewed to the red clay of Paris. He has only two Wimbledons and two Aussies, compared to a massive 14 FOs ! To me a GOAT needs to be more well rounded.

    This also could apply when compared to Djoko, who “only ” has two FOs and ” three ” USOs, Roger’s only real ” weak ” tournament is the FO where he won only once in 2009, but he has reached the final another four times. He does not have other weak spots – 8 Wimbys, 6 Aussies and 5 USOs, much more well rounded.

    No because Fed took less than 7 years to amass 16 slams to go ahead of Sampras, whereas it has taken Nadal and Djoko about twice that to overtake Roger ! Roger was the first man to achieve 20 slam victories, this huge benchmark was unheard of before he came along. There is also his appeal to the world outside of tennis, I argue that Roger has had a greater/longer effect than the other two kings, because he was doing this since the mid 2000s, and much of this is due to his technically superb but slightly higher risk style, the ultimate shotmaker ! That many hundreds of thousands if not millions of new fans were brought into tennis by Fed is not fully appreciated, making it the mega sport that it is today.

    But of course in the long run, Nadal and Djoko will most probably win more slams .

    1. Sounds like epitaph 🙁 Or like parents praising their ugly daughter, complaining “but she is so thrifty” 😉

      1. Metaphor 😉
        You (and many others) trying hard to convince the world, Federer was one of greatest players of all times. Was he actually so poor?
        No matter you count slams, big titles or your individual taste, the list of “greatest players of all times” is very long, starting maybe with Rod Laver, but then of course Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Gustavo Kuerten, and many others. Everyone can easily find their hero and forget the senseless debate about an unique GOAT. Even GODS are many in human civilization and everyone is unique for some group of humans. But of course the “humanity” needs bloody fights to prove which GOD is the only one or the most mighty.

      2. For some reason there is no reply option for the last reply, maybe you opted out of it.

        An epitaph is not usually considered a metaphor, which makes your example convoluted and inferior. 😉

        The case of also rans Rod Laver, Björn Borg and Sampras has already been considered by me on my YT channel, and to mention John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Gustavo Kuerten as GOATS is really a joke in bad taste.

        The comments answers the question posed in the article which is obviously limited to the 3 kings (men who have won 20 slams or more). BY that metric alone, Fed is amongst the GOATS, there cannot be any debate about that. Whether he can still be considered THE GOAT is another question which I have given my opinion on, of which the only ” subjective ” metric is the massive boost he gave tennis when he cam along, even this can be measured. A few years after he started dominating tennis, attendance and viewing received a massive boost, this can be measured by TV viewing stats.

      3. Nice you found the way to reply to the last post 🙂
        I know in person people, for whom Kuerten is a GOAT. Their very private GOAT. Like your’s is FEDERER. If I write epitaph using quotation marks, can you accept it’s meant like metaphor?
        I will explain you this metaphor. I think, it’s not necessary to look for arguments for Federer’s greatness. Looking for such right now, when he is no more active (kind of retired), is pathetic because every tennis fan knows who Federer was/is ind and for tennis. It was by no mean meant negative against Federer or you. OK?
        Once you define “GOAT” not as something “objective” and you add MY before, it’s everything OK, but please allow others to have their private views. Understand please, that Kuerten is a TENNIS GOD in Brazil, del Potro in Argentine, Rios and Massu in Chile. Fans from those nations have heard something about Federer (more about Nadal), but Federer is neither GOAT not GOD for them.
        Is it a joke for you, that different people have different opinions, also about who is great or greatest in any sports, music, movies a.s.o.? There are some countries and nations beyond the Traditional West. Look at the maps.

  23. @Jonathan
    I need your experience to understand better Thiem’s comeback.
    Now i see it like a 4-part process.
    1 – Recovering physically from the injury (goes via rehab)
    2. Recovering mentally from the injury (goes via practice and matches)
    3. Regaining confidence (goes via close matches and wins in competition)
    4. Learning to read/understand the game, goes via practice+matches but mainly matches and cane take longer than any other part of the process.
    Is this right? Please give your comment. If not interesting here, please delete this post and answer via mail
    Best

    1. Yeah, I think that is right.

      Regaining some confidence in the wrist was a probably big deal for him too. If you look at players from the past who had wrist issues, not many of them come back strongly. Look at Del Potro, for example, he was never quite the same. So maybe he had quite a few doubts in being able to hit his forehand properly.

      1. Thanks 🙂
        Looks like he has passes the first 2 parts. ow started to win matches, but it’s all hard fight, no easy wins even against very low ranked, who barely qualify into main draws on ATP Tour and play mostly challengers.
        So some confidence is also back.
        But now it seems (and it’s what he says himself), he has problem with “understanding” (reading) the game. This makes him stay almost all the time far back, probably to have more time to read, where the ball is going. From time to time he plays a point staying very close and it gives him relatively more points than playing from the wall. It’s not the usual staying far back for return but then coming quickly close. Obviously the result is, opponents actually MUST go ahead and get the angles, easy dropshots or volleys. And can push him into deep defense.
        Is this just learning the reading, anticipation and reaction kind of from scratch after a year of a break? Or just some mental problem? Is there some “standard” in such situations or it’s individual?

      2. The level of tennis between 1 and 1000 in the world is not that high, or at least not as high as people think. Matches can still come down to just 1 or 2 points, so I am not surprised he is being run close by these opponents.

        I have not played higher-level tennis or had any bad injuries in any sports I played competitively that kept me out for a long time, so not easy to answer that question.

        But I think if you are not 100% focused on watching the ball, and instead of thinking of how to play, how the wrist feels etc., you will not be as quick at reacting to the ball off your opponent’s stringbed.

      3. Another aspect is he did decide for conservative therapy, while most players go rather for surgery (like recently Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Berrettini). Not sure, but maybe this choice made it last so long, but will pay off in long term?

      4. Thiem told recently in an interview, he was watching tennis regularly all over the time he was not able to hit and he was impressed, “how well are they all playing”. And thinking of fans – who watches challengers if not having just a friend playing there? They may miss some brilliance, experience in playing on big arenas or 5-setters. But sometimes they try and we get things like Sandgren. I never liked wordings like “upset”, “stunning” and the like but I’m aware of how good the level is in challengers first now, as I needed to watch some challengers because of Thiem 🙂

      5. Thanks for string update 🙂 Maybe everything to adapt to “new wrist” and comeback plan.
        Thiem is not only hard worker but very patient, sometimes stubborn (not always with good effects). When he decided to go all the way, no matter how long it takes, he will achieve it (if physically possible).
        It’s a shame, he cannot ask Bresnik for help – just his stubbornness. Family is holy thing for him and the father has too high ambitions as a coach. I can imagine, the father tells Dominic to fire Massú and be coached by him only.

      6. When you hear “BRAVO!”, it means, The Father is there. I have heard this “Bravo” in practices (when Massú was not here) after every shot, like you would motivate 6 y. old kid. Well, the father specializes in coaching kids and Dominic is still his “kid” 😉 Maybe it does not bother Dominic, but I would ask him to shut up. Bresnik’s motto was always – the coach should be silent if everything goes well and another one, that the main and only job of the coach is to make himself superfluous. When he was travelling with Dominic, he always sat with a straw hat on and the same face “No. 9a” all over the match. His most expressive emotion was to turn the ball-shaped lollipop in the mouth 😉 Only once I have seen him standing up and showing fist. It was in 2018, when Dominic was going to beat Nadal at US Open QF (but failed by one missed smash). This was the best Thiem I can recall.

  24. Federer absolutely is the GOAT, because greatness is about more than just winning slams. Federer has such a beautiful tennis game, that’s a joy to watch… He will always be the GOAT to me, though Nadal and Djok are right there close.

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